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Monday, February 09, 2004  

Like Oil and Vinegar:
It don't mix, but it sure is tasty... I am, of course, speaking about last-night's Grammy Awards. Normally I wouldn't touch the show with a ten-foot pole, but the TiVo captured it and I was interested to see Price and the White Stripes performances. Turns out the show was far more entertaining than anyone expected it to be (especially after the horrible production last year.) Things were different from the very beginning; the opening number was a medley duet between Beyonc? and Prince. They moved pretty fluidly from "Purple Rain" to "Crazy in Love" and then touched on a couple other of their big hits. I could nit pick the performance and say it could have used a couple more rehearsals and Prince seriously needed to be bumped up in the mix, but that didn't really matter. It was all about the energy that the two polarities created.

The show only took off from there, flying buy at a breakneck pace; it actually made the VMAs look like a sleepy awards show. And the producers kept the energy high by tossing a seemingly random mish-mass of performers on-stage at the same time. Sting, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, and Pharell doing a Beatles cover sticks out as one of the more random combos. The White Stripes were one of the few acts that got the stage all to themselves, and their performance just reminded me to be pissed off that I missed them on tour. The Black Eyes Peas, who seem to be trying to single handedly bring politics back to Hip-Hop, hit a homerun with "Where's the Love" and were joined on-stage by the ubiquitous and apologetic JT (I don't care what you say, JT is cool!)

The high point of the show was easily the "Church of Funk" segment with "Reverend Samuel L." SLJ enthusiastically introduced Earth Wind and Fire who then jubilantly played "Shinning Star" which was immediately followed by Big Boi performing "The Way You Move" joined by some member of E,W&F. Robert Randolf and the Family Band kept things cooking with the red-hot strings of his steel peddle guitar. The segment culminated when the "third member of Funk's holy trinity" George Clinton himself ascended the stage followed by the costumed legion of Parliament Funckadelic. Then, the whole damn "congregation," including the Rev. Samuel L, shook the Staples Center with "We Want the Funk." There must have been Sixty THOUSAND people on stage. It was a pretty damn cool moment for music on TV.

The rest of the show couldn't quite match the energy of that performance, which I think should really have been the closing number, but still held some incredible performances. The Foo Fighters were joined by legendary Jazz pianist Chick Corea for a goosebump inducing, and undeniably ROCKING, performance of "Times Like These." Corea's ivory-work was the perfect compliment for Grohl's plaintive and earnest howls and is a great example of what made the Grammys work: the producers took big pop acts that always deliver and paired them with iconic musicians to create an organic musical experience. Sure, some of the combinations didn't work out (Sting and Sean Paul's rendition of "Roxanne" fell pretty flat) but all in all the equation paid off in spades and made for a very entertaining evening.

posted by JMV | 2/09/2004 12:35:00 PM
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