Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Random Notes (Grammys '06 Edition)
Okay…the broadcast of the 48th Grammy Awards was a mess. Bad camera angles, numerous audio malfunctions, awkward pauses, glimpses of people working backstage, bad transitions, a zillion commercials, padded out to 3 ½ hours…it was a mess. They chose to go without a host this year…and that was probably a bad idea too.
Some of the performances were pretty good, though:
Gorillaz and De La Soul opened the show with “Feel Good Inc.” (the rappers being a bit more animated than the too-cool-for-the-room cartoon characters :-) followed by Madonna (who, judging by the stylish leotard she was wearing, apparently came directly to show from a workout) and bunch of dancers gyrating through “Hung Up”.
Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys dedicated a couple of a cappella bars of “Higher Ground” to Coretta Scott King before giving out an award to Kelly Clarkson.
(Ooo look, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are sitting together in the audience…ain’t love grand?)
Coldplay (Chris Martin really likes that “prancing in the audience thing”, don’t he?), John Legend, and Sugarland (missing a member and plagued by mike problems) kept the show moving.
U2 kicked things up a level with “Vertigo” (though they got lost in the smoke there for a while) and then Mary J. Blige joined them to raise the roof with “One” (see above).
Kelly Clarkson (who had bawled through her acceptance of the aforementioned award) was in fine voice on “Because of You”
Sir Paul McCartney performed “Fine Line” and then got frisky with a rockin’ rendition of “Helter Skelter”
(Wait…are the Black Eyed Peas finished announcing the Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Male yet? They do babble on, don't they?)
Comeback girl Mariah Carey opened with “We Belong Together” and then went gospel with a choir on a soaring “Carry Me Home”
(Why is Teri Hatcher wearing a negligee?)
Keith Urban (thanks for dressing up for the occasion, guy) sang “You’ll Think of Me” on top of plastic box and then joined Faith Hill for a sprightly “The Lucky One”
The “tribute” to Sly and the Family Stone was…okay, let’s be charitable again and say “ ragged.” John Legend, Joss Stone, Van Hunt, Maroon 5, Fantasia, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Robert Randolph, and others (what the hell is Randy Jackson doing playing bass with the band? Shouldn’t he be at home practicing his “hip” banter for the next edition of American Idol?) stumbled through tepid versions of Sly hits with the man himself (resplendent with a blond Mohawk) came out to lead the ensemble in comparatively lively version of “I Want to Take You Higher”.
Jay-Z and Linkin Park brought things back up a bit with “Numb/Encore” and then they slipped into a lovely version of The Beatles’ “Yesterday” where they were joined by Sir Paul himself.
Bruce Springsteen got off the most political statement of the night with a simple cry of “bring ‘em home!” at the end of his Iraq War inspired “Devils and Dust”
And then there was the Kanye Show. Mr. West and Jamie Foxx put on an extravaganza with marching bands, dancers, and costume changes as they ripped through “Gold Digger” and “Touch the Sky”. It was gloriously over-the-top and fun.
Christina Aguilera looked sultry in her glittering gown and platinum blonde hair as she joined Herbie Hancock for “A Song for You”. (That she oversang the song goes almost without saying, doesn’t it?)
(That Recording Academy President guy is a long-winded son of a gun, ain’t he? We get it, you guys are wonderful and you’re rebuilding New Orleans all by yourselves…now shaddap already!)
After U2 picked up the Album of the Year (0 for 2 in that category, Kanye), a tribute to New Orleans featured Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, and The Edge on a loping version of Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can” (featuring more bad audio on the vocals.)
Bruce Springsteen and Sam Moore joined the group for “In the Midnight Hour” a soulful tribute to late Wilson Pickett.
The broadcast is just over as I write this and I’ve already forgotten who won what (I know U2 and Miss Clarkson and Mr. Legend were up there a couple of times each for stuff.)
Hopefully the broadcast of the 49th Annual Grammy Awards will be less snakebit next year.