After watching the televised induction ceremonies on HBO, this entry will be fairly short and sweet. I think they did a pretty amazing job this year. Breaking it down by inductee:
Randy Newman: Good performances. Admittedly, of the eight inductees, I still maintain that Newman is least deserving, and by a pretty far distance at that. Nonetheless, Don Henley did a respectable job convincing us why his non-cinematic work is all we need to deem him worthy of induction. But honestly, Don, leave out the politics. I agree that Rick Perry is a nutcase, but to everything its proper time and place. This wasn’t it, despite past speeches by other presenters.
Albert King: Great speech by John Mayer. It’s easy to forget he’s almost as talented as he is an annoying d-bag. A White Kanye, if you will. Gary Clark…amazing musician, great performance, loved it.
Lou Adler: Loved what Cheech And Chong did. They were funny and succinct. Great speech from Lou himself. And Carole King is always great to see perform. No complaints here at all.
Donna Summer: I loved what Kelly Rowland said about Donna, even if I didn’t agree with it 100%. Jennifer Hudson sang a great tribute, and I was impressed with how classy the family members were in their speech, not bitter about how the honor is posthumous, though they did hint that there was some resentment.
Heart: Chris Cornell did deliver a great speech, though apparently the best bits were left on the cutting room floor. My one gripe with the editing process was that they cut out some of the inducted members’ acceptance altogether, or seriously shortened others. Heart is more than the Wilson sisters; let’s let the other members speak too. As for the performance, I had to smirk when they kept it all early: “Crazy On You” and “Barracuda,” kind of temporarily disowning their later, more ballad-like material.
Quincy Jones: I view Oprah the way a lot of atheists view Jesus: no problem with the person per se, but save me from their followers. That said, her speech for Quincy Jones was phenomenal. I didn’t even realize that he had, in a way, discovered Oprah Winfrey. Quincy’s speech was great as well, and Usher did indeed give a marvelous performance as tribute.
Public Enemy: Spike Lee seemed all too brief. Harry Belafonte said some great things, but was a little hard to listen to. Don’t know what he did to his voice, but it grated a little. Once again, let the other members speak. It looked like they cut off Terminator X completely and only let Professor Griff speak a little. A shame that DJ Lord and the Bomb Squad weren’t included, but it was obvious that that’s how it would go down. Still, being onstage completely together was wicked awesome.
Rush: The fans were definitely behind this one. I loved the speech from Taylor and Dave (though again, the best lines were cropped from the broadcast from what I’ve heard), the speeches from Geddy and Neil, and of course, Alex’s. How could you not? I’m not a Rush fan, but even I was floored by their performance. Simply electrifying.
The All-Star Jam was great. I like how they almost managed to represent every inductee with it. Too bad Randy didn’t get a verse, or Jennifer or Usher or Carole. And is it just me or did Tom Morello look like he was playing hooky from his shift at Jiffy Lube?
So other than editing out some people’s speeches, the show was really amazing. The editing was actually really great for the most part. A thoroughly enjoyable broadcast. HBO did the event justice. Probably the best broadcast since 2008’s very fly-on-the-wall presentation.