I haven't enjoyed the Grammys for a long, long time. However, tonight's show (which I didn't even realize was on - accidentally turned it on) was a standout in many ways.
The performances were a little more understated with a focus on the actual talent and not pure bombast.
Even though I'm no fan of Kanye West, I appreciated his heartfelt song to his mom.
My favorite moment was when Vince Gill got his award for best country record (I think), it was handed to him by presenter Ringo Starr. Vince said "I just got handed a Grammy by a Beatle... Kayne, has that happened to you yet?" Classic. One might recall that Vince Gill was part of a Beatles tribute several years back on a Grammy show, which made the whole moment a little sweeter.
I thought that Alicia Keyes performing "No One" started out great, then her voice took a little turn for the worse... but then it was all redeemed when John Mayer came out to lay down a tasty guitar solo for the end. Alicia has always had good live performances on these shows, flamenco dancing, doing wildly different arrangements of her hits, etc. A true talent.
Whoever had the idea of the "Passing of the torch" performance with Tina Turner and Beyonce is a genius. Beyonce really does personify the drive, energy, and talent of Tina for a new generation. I'm awfully proud of our Houston girl! She's got a lifetime of potential left, and I'll be watching and listening. Go girl!
Two things shocked me (in a good way!) this year: They actually had a long performance of "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin done by Herbie Hancock and a Chinese pianist who's name escapes me at the moment (sorry!). That piece, even though the airline commercials nearly ruined it for me, holds a special place in my heart. My mom has always been a huge opera/classical music fan, particularly of Beverly Sills. My dad rarely talks about music, what he does or does not like, I don't know him to have ever purchased a record or CD... but he has always told us that "Rhapsody in Blue" is his favorite piece of music. So, it can't help but be special to all of his kids.
The second shocker was an extended and respectful Gospel Medley! Even Chris "Ludacris" Bridges was respectful in his intro. Good to see Israel Houghton up there, representing Houston (via Lakewood Church). Aretha Franklin, I don't know how old she is, still has more range than a piano. Unbelievable! Still making it look easy!
The Foo Fighters doing "The Pretender" outside with a full orchestra (arranged/conducted by John Paul Jones!) were just incredible. That is SUCH a good band. They need to be the Superbowl halftime act next year.
As I'm typing this, Will-I-Am is doing a crazy rap/song with backing tracks like "Theme from A Summer Place", "Strangers In the Night", "Beat It", and "It's a Beautiful Day" -- That's creative, gotta hand it to him.
Amy Winehouse, the poster child for life imitating art, won for Record of the Year with "Rehab" (I told people that when it came out! Still got the touch! Ha). She seemed totally and completely stunned by the win, and that's always nice to see.
OH wow. Herbie Hancock just won Album of the Year for "River: The Joni Letters" -- do I detect some integrity in the academy?
My only complaint, and I don't know who's responsible, is that the audio SUCKED. Not the mix, but there was a continual wowing, sounding like a bad cassette that had spent too many days on the dashboard of someone's Nissan Sentra. NO excuse for fouling up the sound on THE GRAMMYS!!! UGH.
Other than that, I gotta give 'em high marks for a pretty well-done show. I hope the Oscars follow suit and don't do anything stupid. Maybe the writer's strike (possibly OVER) will force them to keep it short & sweet without too many badly-delivered jokes. We'll see...
Ack! One more small gripe -- they cut the show and jammed the credits into a small frame during other promos... at very high speed. I HATE that. A show like that takes dozens, if not hundreds, of people to pull off. I've got friends in the industry and if they are involved I know I want to see them credited! So I have to assume others would like to see themselves or their friends/family members as well... eh? Is that too much to ask?