I had another life, and music was a big part of it. Over the weekend, I watched the entire 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show on HBO. (I think that’s the name, but y’know how things can get muddled.) Most of my friends from that era are either dead, like Clarence Paul, or like Harvey Fuqua, they mysteriously vanish for periods of time, then reappear and say something like “What’s the big deal, I was right here. Where were You?!!” Since none of the people I would ordinarily have called are still “with us”, I’m throwing this out there. If anyone has any comments, bring it:
Kuddos to Jann Wenner. He’s not one of my favorite people – I watched him make a complete ass of himself backstage at the R&R Hall of Fame induction in 2000, when a guard wouldn’t let him through without a pass. (“Do you know who I am?”) But apparently he’s a very talented ass.
Wenner’s is the first name you see on the credits at the end of the show, and since the buck stops at the top, he gets a disproportionate amount of the credit — mainly because the list of names after Wenner went by too fast for me to read. But I bet it contained every music maven in the the business.
The whole freakin’ show, including the way it was put together, was great. And everybody looked thin, even Stevie. (Okay, he wasn’t thin, but he wasn’t huge.)
I’m hitting just the highlights here:
Bonnie Raitt. She killed! She gets better as she gets older. Would that that was true for everyone…
Stevie. Here’s some background: in the old days of Motown, nobody wanted to follow Stevie on the stage, because he was just too powerful. He left the audience drained, but in a good way. And he took great pleasure in kicking ass onstage, partly to please the folks, but also to dare anyone who followed him to upstage him. So when Stevie’s segment started, I kind of expected him to phone it in, like he generally does these days. Not this time. He was fanTAStic! And then he handed the mike to Smokey, with a big grin on his face that said, “Follow that!” Smokey was good, but I bet he was thinking that was the last time he’d get on a stage after Stevie.
I’m not a fan of some of the acts on the show, but they fit the occasion. Mick was great, as usual. And who was that woman who sang the duet with him on “Gimmie Shelter?” Someone thought it was Alicia Keyes. Whoever she was, she was smokin’.
Jerry Lee Lewis, still amazing. Sam Moore, nice to see him still hitting those notes. Springsteen. That man gives 150% to everything he does. I didn’t listen to much rock and roll in the past, but now that rhythm and blues has been pulled under the R&R umbrella, I’m newly appreciating a lot of the music I never really got to hear before. Better late than never.
The best thing was that everybody on the show could actually sing. I wonder how much of the singing was cleaned up in the studio, because there were no mistakes, no bad notes, and that doesn’t usually happen in a show. But those singers have chops. Not like the so-called singers that come out of the studios these day, extruded like sausages, unable to do a live show if their career depended on it.
If anybody out there saw the show and has something to say, say it here.