Kennedy Center Honors

Johnny Carson has already been forgotten…

But Led Zeppelin is FOREVER!

In other words, what kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where the President is black and the national anthem is “Stairway To Heaven”?

One in which the mainstream knows nothing and you know everything. Where hype is irrelevant and we all know the truth.

That it’s been a long time since we rocked and rolled…

And for that matter, it’s been a long time since we did the stroll!

The Buddy Guy tribute was surprisingly great.

But the highlight of tonight’s show was Tina Fey’s introduction of David Letterman. That’s what we revere, excellence. Not good enough, not better than the rest, but superlative, that which makes our jaws drop and marvel in abandon at the ability to perform at the absolute zenith!

Now not a night went by in the eighties that I didn’t watch David Letterman. I was stunned to see Sirajul and Mujibur in the montage, since they were banished for trying to capitalize on their fame, replaced by Rupert Jee, who played along and asked for nothing.

But I was astounded there was no mention of Merrill Markoe. Who invented that show, who’s responsible for all that made Dave famous, the stunts you know and love, from Stupid Pet Tricks to…

But history is a rewrite.

Except for that which is indelible. Like music. You can’t change “Good Times Bad Times.” “The Rain Song” sounds the same as it did when you dropped the needle on “Houses Of The Holy” back in ’73.

And it’s great that Dave gave Ray Romano a gig.

And to see all those Dustin Hoffman movies reminded me of when film was an art form, instead of a worldwide money machine.

But what is truly lame about this show is the performances. Dustin’s a great actor, to watch Liev and Naomi and Billy Connolly act just made me wince.

And give props to Jimmy Kimmel for commenting on the choreographer. Yup, we’re supposed to respect classical music and everything else that’s dying while we cling to pop. Led Zeppelin didn’t need any money from the government to make it. No one has to spend money to keep them in the public consciousness. You see great is undeniable, we’re all drawn to it.

And I love Jack Black, but his enthusiasm didn’t make up for a substandard speech. We needed Wayne and Garth. Two stoners whose lives are not complete without Led Zeppelin IV.

That’s the dirty little secret. This music keeps us alive. That’s why they can never get it right at awards shows, on TV, music isn’t something you see but something you feel. It’s full of energy, it gets the endorphins jumping, makes you believe life is worth living. Come on, would you take a road trip without your favorite tunes? Talk radio only goes so far.

And who doesn’t like Dave Grohl. Thank god he drummed. But the vocal fell…flat.

And give credit to Kid Rock, who picked a tune that fit smack dab in the middle of his range. Bob was an unexpected peak. Going from subtle to extreme, carving out the complete panoply of rock and roll.

And sure, Lenny Kravitz was good. But where’s he been? It seemed this was a placement more than a perfect pick.

And then came the piece de resistance.

We knew they’d end with “Stairway.”

But there’s no more perfect fit than Heart. Ann Wilson made her bones singing Zeppelin covers. And her “Battle Of Evermore” is just about as good as the original.

So, what is usually substandard, the musical tribute, which had us all trepidatious, turned out to be a triumph.

Yo-Yo Ma was singing along. Bonnie Raitt had her hands in the air!

And did you catch the Prez singing along to “Whole Lotta Love”?

Forget the bloviators on the news. Even forget the techies.

Our true rock and roll heroes are…our true rock and roll heroes.

Never forget that not only was Zeppelin true to itself, the band raped and pillaged and did everything the moniker “rock star” now embodies. Not only did they make great music, they created the paradigm. Even Frank Zappa had to comment about the mud sharks…

So, boys and girls, in the year 2013, when the rich have all the money and your future is up for grabs, know that some things never change.

Music is the most powerful medium on Earth.

And Led Zeppelin has more power than anybody.

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