(Dave Tripper) The 2010 Grammys was a disjointed production, to say the least. From ill-constructed tributes to the continuing kissing of country music’s ass and kicking of dance music’s nether regions, the ceremonies aimed at a youthful audience with plenty of not-ready-for-primetime youthful performers were upstaged by a music legend who began performing in the 60’s.
Starting with the opening tribute to Aretha Franklin, they dropped the ball on presentation. The singers were excellent, bordering on spectacular (especially the surprising Florence from Florence and the Machine). But if a tribute is to be done, shouldn’t it be built up with a little drama and not OPEN a show? And although the pre-recorded ‘thank you’ by Aretha (who looked great) was a touching moment, it felt a bit odd.
Lady Gaga, of course, did her thing, entering in an egg pod. Then her performance of “Born This Way” was a fairly typical singer/army of dancers performance with the outfits best described as regular-sized shower curtains used as skirts and tops or really large condom outfits, a la Naked Gun 2 ½.
After her stint, dance music failed to make an appearance the rest of the night. No David Guetta. No Deadmau5. No Robyn. Nothing. Instead, country artist after country artist after bluegrass artist continued to litter the stage with the generic and dominating music format in the United States. The complete disrespect that dance music receives year after year is rather ironic, considering that I would hazard a guess that in many of the after parties to follow, I guarantee that Gaga and Madonna were being spun and not Lady Antebellum and generic blonde country singer ________.
The indisputable highlights were provided by Eminem and Mick Jagger. Eminem completely tore up the stage with Rihanna chipping in on “Love The Way You Lie” while the long-anticipated first appearance by Dr. Dre was anti-climatic by comparison. Mick Jagger, pushing 70, was the other highlight, perfectly covering the R&B classic “Everybody Needs Somebody” in what was his 1st Grammy performance, an unbelievable fact in its own right. His stage presence far outpaced the earlier artists including the meh Bruno Mars, the sleepy Drake, and the disappointing Katy Perry. And, I’m pretty sure a Rihanna break is in order, not only to rest her constantly shaking booty, but just from over damn exposure.
And some of the performers turned to direct imitation. Justin Bieber and Usher may as well have worn the red-leather jackets with zippers from “Beat It” and got it over with. I’m pretty sure we can stop kissing MJ’s ass too, let him rest in peace, and come up with something fresh and new.
But one thing I noticed was a subtle incident that happened earlier in the night. If you blinked, you would have missed it. Bob Dylan, who performed with a couple of youthful bluegrass and country bands was cruising through a version of “Maggie’s Farm.” Near the end of the performance, Dylan began playing harmonica to end the song and shot a NASTY glance back at the performers as if something went wrong. He then played a few more notes on the harmonica and with his body language essentially said, “That’s enough of this crap.” Jagger did the exact same thing in his performance as he quickly looked back at the band, almost as if expecting something that never happened. But like the professional he is, he kept cranking out a performance that has kept him on the top touring list for over four decades. The lesson for the yoots out there is that when you are in a band and dealing with an artist that has been performing for 40+ years, you’d better bring your “A” game. Apparently, these backing musicians did not.
And speaking of veterans, Barbara Streisand performed her classic “Evergreen” at the end of the night—but I may have discovered a possible faux pas! As she finished what seemed to be a flawless performance, the camera panned to her for the last dramatic note, which Streisand held—even after the mic was away from her face for a couple of seconds! Check your DVR’s.
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