Monday, November 30, 2009

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert - HBO Sunday, Nov. 29th

I promise to keep this post shorter than the duration of the show last night. Clocking in at over 4 hours, this is the stuff Rock & Roll dreams are made of.

The overall concert experience was very good, how could it be bad with such talent present? Crosby, Stills & Nash started things off with a few rockers from their Woodstock days and were joined by James Taylor which was a great touch.

I thought Stevie Wonder did an excellent job under what proved to be a very emotionally challenging atmosphere with an impromptu homage to Michael Jackson: "The Way You Make Me Feel", and I also enjoyed Sting's appearance for a "Roxanne" medley with Stevie.

One of the top highlights of the entire evening was the Simon & Garfunkel reunion for a stunning performance of "The Sound of Silence" that left me with chills. Followed by "The Boxer", and "Bridge Over Troubled Water". Its great to see them side by side again, and although they have aged, the songs remain timeless, a true testament to their talent. I also loved Paul's ode to George Harrison with a heartfelt rendition of "Here Comes The Sun" with David Crosby and Graham Nash.

I have heard a mixed reaction regarding the U2 set, so I'm here to set the record straight: it was extraordinary. U2 focused more on their new material, only playing one song from their Joshua Tree era: The "I Still Havent Found What I'm Looking For" duet with The Boss. The second top highlight came as a surprise for me, at the end of the U2 set they announced members of the Black Eyed Peas and Bono announced they would "Try something here", which immediately caught my attention, and I almost had a breakdown when I heard the first few chords of the Stones Classic "Gimmie Shelter", off Let It Bleed. Then, form out of nowhere Mick Jagger emerges to give a spirited and energetic performance, and to my pleasant surprise, Fergie really held her own with the big boys, I think even The Edge was impressed. One of the best performances of the night was U2, Bruce Sprinsteen, and Patti Smith on "Because The NIght", great to see Patti back in performance mode, and you could tell Bono was feelin' it, I think he really does wish he had written that song.

The Metallica set provided the most "wtf?" moments for me, in what was mostly a well oiled machine, the show almost went off the deep end here, but alas everything worked out in the end. By the way, what insane sicko thought out the combination of Lou Reed and Metallica? I'm not complaining too much, because the combination was surprisingly effective, but on paper thats one trippy combination. I love Lou Reed, I really do, it was good to see him on stage. And what was Ozzy trying to prove? I mean, everyone knows he is the King of Fucking Darkness but really, he needs to hang it up. His pathetic efforts to energize the crowd left me feeling cold, and saying "fuck" every five seconds to try to appeal to the rap loving youngsters of America fell on deaf ears.

Jeff Beck. Wow. Third stand out moment from Sunday night with the show-stopping instrumental of the best Beatles song of all time "A Day In The Life". A stunning tribute from one of the most talented guitar players of all time, a true perfectionist, a true artist.

Last, but certainly not least is Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. The aging E Street Band is in fine form, and performed some classics including "Jungleland" and "Born to Run". Hosting legends like Billy Joel, they closed out the night. A Springsteen highlight came at the hands of Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello on "The Ghost of Tom Joad". Words don't do it justice, just catch the replay, amazing stuff.

A great night for music fans. Although these artists may not be the same age as you remember them, the music will live on long after we are all gone. As people we will always need liberation, and thats where Rock & Roll comes in.

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