It was a bad night for music.
It was a great night for Haiti. People got to see what was really going on there. And in a world where negativity is a no-no, it was great to see the unvarnished reality of destruction depicted. Because people should know. That’s the crime of the century, what people don’t know. What’s fed to them and is incorrect, reflecting the biases of men and women with agendas, which don’t seem to comport with human decency or rights.
I’ll tell you it stunned me to see Julia Roberts without makeup. Not because I’ve never seen her this way before, she sat next to us at the Hollywood Bowl recently, but the fact that she left her home looking like this. This is what rock stars used to specialize in. Reality.
Seeing the row upon row of actors got my heart pumping, after all, celeb-spotting is our national sport.
But I was disappointed with so much of the music.
Alicia Keys might have a hit album, but the song she started off with was enough to make one switch the channel. I just fast-forwarded through it.
Act after act chose the wrong material, even if they delivered it well.
Then there was Madonna.
Got to give her props. She did the right song, and she exhibited some energy. It’s not only about death, but rebirth. Madge’s performance encapsulated this.
But HD is not her friend. All this talk about Heidi’s surgeries? About going too far? Did you see Madonna’s face?
Shakira sang pretty well, but I wish she’d sung in her native language, her lack of facility with English hampered her performance.
Right song by Sting, but just a bit too precious, just a bit too much about Sting.
Justin Timberlake? On an event like this, why don’t we have the man who wrote "Hallelujah" perform it, Leonard Cohen.
Jennifer Hudson demonstrated once again that she not only has the pipes, she’s got the ability to interpret, she did a very powerful version of "Let It Be".
But Jay-Z had star power. He was dressed down, flying solely on his charisma. That’s what was supposed to happen. We were supposed to be wowed by the stars. But we weren’t. Coldplay? Give me a break. I felt it a bit with Neil Young, but once again, I wish there was a better song. As for the Boss…with the catalogue he’s got, he chose this?
But the winner of the evening, what made me stand up and say THAT’S ROCK AND ROLL, THAT’S MUSIC, was Kid Rock.
You see when he sang the verse of "Lean On Me", you could hear the bourbon, the nights of hard living in his voice, he was singing from his soul, it wasn’t a performance, it was MUSIC!
That’s what we need more of.
Sheryl and Keith Urban acquitted themselves adequately, on this perfect choice, but Robert Ritchie…
If you want to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. Kid Rock is not breaking new ground in the rock star persona, but he’s delivering full bore on the old paradigm. We want someone who’s an outsider, not beholden to the rules, who shows up at the very last minute and aces the test.
If you missed this broadcast, you did not miss much.
On YouTube, there were some riveting moments, but watching it on the DVR, I couldn’t help but fast-forward. Before the days of DVRs, this show would have worked, we’d be forced to watch it in real time, now, or forever lose out.
But not today.
I applaud the effort. I hope a ton of money was raised.
But when George Clooney and the rest of the actors possess more charisma than the musicians, when the singers lack that je ne sais quoi, when we just see you singing, when you don’t embody life itself, we know we’ve got a long way to go to recreate the credibility of this industry.
Jimmy Iovine did it nine years ago, with just the music. It was haunting, riveting. But that was when writing your own material, having an identity deeper than the being the poster child for some product, was the key to a musical career. You had to stand for something. We had to look up to you.
We need those elements again.
This was like watching the Grammys.
And you know you can miss the Grammys.
Hell, who ever leaves the Grammys and says, WHAT A GREAT SHOW! Or, DID YOU SEE THAT! Rather, it’s WHERE ARE WE GOING TO EAT?
I’m still waiting for Music’s Greatest Night. It wasn’t this evening, and I’ll guarantee it won’t be next Sunday night. Because somehow, we’ve lost the essence. Music needs to be meaningful and fun, loose yet precise, it’s got to encapsulate all elements of life. To the point where we can’t help but be drawn in, jump up and dance, wide-eyed and elated.