It takes magic or mayhem to spark my holiday spirit -- something like 1997's "A Very Special Christmas 3," a lively compilation of contemporaries. So my expectations were dashed by "A Very Special Christmas Live: From Washington, D.C.," which turns out to be a rehash of a White House happening, sold to benefit the Special Olympics. What's a Tracy Chapman/Eric Clapton duo of her years-old hit "Give Me One Reason" -- about a lover on the way out the door -- doing here?
The rest of the CD is bluesy and boring, even if the songs do ad-here to the theme: two snowed-out tunes by Jon Bon Jovi; two off-the-roof Sheryl Crow collaborations (with Clapton and Mary J. Blige); and odd gifts by John Popper, Run DMC and Vanessa Williams. I think I've had a serious setback.