If you didn't watch last night's GRAMMY awards, you missed an amazing production, rare performances and moving tributes. Basically, you screwed up.
A lot of people probably tuned in to see Amy Winehouse and Kanyé (given their being nominated in several categories as well as the recent press surrounding her 'problems' and his 'loss') and stayed to see what was an incredible evening of music, legends, and basically, history in the making.
With more greats from various music genres (from motown to the beatles to opera) than have ever before sung under one roof ..... coupled with impressive set designs, special pyrotechnics, choreography and material, it was a night to feel the hair stand up on the back of your neck and send chills down your spine more than once. More than twice, even.
It wasn't all perfection of course...
there were some bad outfits, some mumbling lyrics, some bizarre duos, and some repetitive rap, but overall, a three and a half hour music extravaganza.
To see a Beatles Tribute accompanied by an aerialist with the trippy artistry of Cirque du Soliel, Kanye's personal and moving performance to his "mama", powerhouses like Tina Turner, Aretha, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, being matched by skinny white women who can belt it out like Winehouse, Fergie, and Underwood, AND a tear-jerking tribute to Luciano Pavrotti in one show is pretty unusual. Not to mention the trio of Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and John Fogarty sharing the stage.
Amy Winehouse won five awards, including Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year for her now-prophetic "Rehab," while Kanye West took home four, including the Best Rap Album award for Graduation, though Album Of The Year eluded him for the third time.
I've compiled a bit of a rundown for you, complete with pics from the AP.
Above: Herbie Hancock, longtime jazz great, takes home the Album of the Year award for his tribute to Joni Mitchell, River: The Joni Letters.
Above: Amy Winehouse didn't get her Visa in time to be in the states for the GRAMMY AWARDS so she performed live from London in all her fabulous white trash glory. She performed "You Know I'm No Good," and followed it up with the megahit "Rehab" in her inimitable style. It was not a disappointment.
Above: Ex American Idol Carrie Underwood sluttin' it up with her GRAMMY-winning hit, "Before He Cheats," with the balls-out delivery for which she has become known.
Above: A blast from the 1980's past, Morris Day and The Time (a Prince protégé from long ago) joined with hip-hop diva Rihanna, who sang her smash hit "Umbrella". The Time brought up the rear, reprising "Jungle Love" as energetically as they had decades ago.
Above and below: Surreal, trippy and frankly, verging on scary, Cirque du Soleil's performance to the Beatles' classic "A Day In The Life" was a very different type of show for the GRAMMY awards, but was captivating. Where else does one see an aerialist interpreting a song by the Fab Four?
Above: The freaky deaky dance troupe performed over the Liverpudlian's original track, followed by an equally stunning version of "Let It Be," by Timothy T. Mitchum and Carol Woods.
Above: Kanye West and German techno twins Daft Punk delivered with a techno-hop rendition of "Stronger." As flames blasted behind him, West donned some high tech glowing glasses and clothes.
And how cool was that DJ scratching? (I couldn't find a pic!)
Daft Punk scratched video screens (worthy of an entire post on the technology) while Kanyé changed his outfit for a 'toned down' tribute to his 'Mama.'
Above: West sang "Hey Mama," accompanied by a huge string section. Singing with obvious emotion, his performance left most viewers and audience members welling up.
Above: John Legend, together with the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie, performed her ballad, "Finally" in a very likable chanteuse, torchy singer sort of way. Some critics were disappointed she didn't sing one of her five hit solos or that Legend didn't sing with her.
Cher was there, surgically taut as ever, and she introduced none other than the fabulous Miss Tina Turner.
Above: Looking friggen amazing, Turner belted out "What's Love Got To Do With It." Beyoncé then paired up with Tina for the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, "Proud Mary."Beyoncé and Turner kept the audience rockingwith their tight bodies, voices and moves.
Above: the Foo Fighters, backed by the GRAMMY Philharmonic Orchestra (led by Led Zeppelin's bassist John Paul Jones) performed "The Pretender" on an outdoor stage. Dave Grohl was in fine form- even if he does desperately need a haircut.
Above: Country singer Brad Paisley gave us "Ticks". A bizarre but catchy song about checking your woman for lyme disease. The blinking neon ticks that bounced around behind him on the set had to be an industry first.
Moving into the spiritual, Ludacris introduced Aretha and BeBe Winans as a "holy rolling [and] soul sanctifying" special gospel performance.
Above: Aretha Franklin and BeBe Winans sang "Never Gonna Break My Faith," accompanied by a light beaming from a glowing cross overhead. The million trombone band Madison Bumble Bees joined on "You Brought The Sunshine," followed by the Clark Sisters and Trin-I-Tee 5:7. Then, Israel & New Breed summoned the spiritual forces with the soaring "With Long Life." To wind it up, Franklin and the whole gospel cast united to sing "Old Landmark."
Above: Big-band singer Keely Smith joined with Kid Rock and GRAMMY-nominated Dave Koz to perform "That Old Black Magic."
Stevie Wonder introduced the President's Merit Award to Motown founder Berry Gordy, and then sang his own little accoustic intro from Alicia Keys "No One" prior to introducing her own performance of the song.
Above: Playing a second keyboard near the stage's edge, Keys continued to raise the temperature before giving way to John Mayer and his frenetic, melodic guitar solo.
Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock joined forces for George Gershwin's masterpiece "Rhapsody In Blue." Accompanied by a full orchestra, the pianists took turns stating the song's melodic themes. The song's majestic middle section included brief solos from various orchestra members before the focus returned to Lang Lang and Hancock.
Above: After an In Memoriam segment that paid honor to musicians we lost in 2007, Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban (remember him from Ally Mc Beal??) appeared on stage to honor the memory of Luciano Pavarotti with Bocelli's signature "The Prayer". Outstanding.
Above: John Fogerty, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard shared the stage as the evening was winding down. Beginning with a new Fogerty composition, "Comin' Down The Road," these three Rock Legends performed with the spotlight on Lewis, singing his classic boogie-woogie blowout, "Great Balls Of Fire." (I did worry for a second that he might forget the lyrics). Not to be outdone, Little Richard, launched into the instantly recognizable falsetto vocals of "Good Golly Miss Molly." The audience clearly loved it.
Above: Ringo Starr, the only one of the two living fab four members, was there looking every bit his groovy self and got giggles from the audience when he introduced himself (as if we don't know who he is).
Above: Feist, the singer that Mac built, performed an accoustic version of "1234" the song made famous by an ipod commercial. It was a refreshing indie peformance, lacking all the crazy LED lighting and sensory overload that accompanied much of the rock performances.
See an entire list of the nominees and winners in each of the 101 categories here.
Buy the 2008 Grammy Nominees album here.
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