Mad as Hell: Grand Rapids Fights Back with Lip Dub

Grand Rapids Michigan’s “Mad as Hell” moment has been captured in a nearly 10 minute video that has garnered over 2 million hits in just one week.

It all started with a story in Newsweek that had Grand Rapids ranked 10th in a list of dying cities in America.

Note: New Orleans got first place honors followed by bankrupt Vallejo, Calif. The middle of the list is filled with MLB central division cities: Cleveland, PIttsburgh and Detroit. Michigan garnered an additional entry — Flint.

To fight back, the town created a lip-dub video that features 5,000 people lip syncing to Don McLean classic, “American Pie.” It was filmed as one continuous shot with no edits. As you’ll see, there’s plenty of activity on display: bands marching, a wedding, fire and police departments, major pyrotechnics, helicopter take-offs and a pillow fight (Source: The Detroit News).

It was the brainchild of event organizer, 22-year old, Rob Bliss. During a segment on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Bliss said he and many Grand Rapids residents were shocked by the Newsweek article.

“Its culture is growing so rapidly that I think that’s what just surprised people. I think Flint was nine or something like that. So to think that we’re like just a step away from Flint I think was just ridiculous.”

Besides spreading virally, major news shows picked up on the story. Apparently, Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, called it “the greatest music video ever made.”

See for yourself here.

Also, you can check out the other videos that have spiraled from this effort — several “makings of” along with rehearsal ones.


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