32nd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
There have been 32 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, and I’ve sadly only attended three of them. For a long time, they weren’t open to the public, and were held in either Cleveland or the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel only for industry people
As soon as they did open them to the public, and in my neck of the woods – starting with the 2014 show – I HAD to be there. Somehow the demand wasn’t as high with the 2016 show (guess Cheap Trick as a headliner didn’t do the trick), and I somehow snagged a pair of tickets for a paltry $26.06!!!
For the 2017 show, I knew that that would not be the case, with Pearl Jam and Journey getting in, who both have strong fan bases that would just have to be there. I had to be there too, no matter what. I’d go even if the inductees were the now eligible Spin Doctors, EMF, Letters To Cleo, Color Me Badd, and Right Said Fred!! (come to think of it – I’d actually love to see a concert of all those bands together!!!)
Last year’s show led off with a David Bowie tribute, and so of course an obvious Chuck Berry one was due this year, and of course, the obvious choice to kick things off was E.L.O. and their outer-spaced out version of his ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, and of course, that is what happened, and of course it rocked. I know it would, having been lucky enough to see Mr Jeff Lynne and his orchestra do that song + ‘Evil Woman’ and ‘Mr Blue Sky’ this past September, like he totally rocked them again this night
E.L.O. is a well deserved entry into the Hall, although I strongly feel that Lynne’s other project – The Traveling Wilburys – deserve a place there too. Mainly cause I want him to reunite with Dylan and Petty (and maybe get George Harrison’s son Dhani, who inducted E.L.O., plus someone else to stand in for Roy Orbison) and play the songs they NEVER toured, EVER
I know Joan Baez, but if you asked me to name her 5 most famous songs, I’d probably not even get to 2. Yikes, but I know she’s important, and while not the most rockiniest choice for the Hall, a vital one nonetheless. And with today’s politically charged climate (although seriously, what day and age’s climate is NOT politically charged), Joan brought a taste of injustice and protest from times past to the present, playing ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ + brought out Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Indigo Girls to strum ‘Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)’ and ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’. I’m all for her making a statement, but I would have preferred a little more rockin – like her cover of ‘House of The Rising Sun’ (if you can call that ‘rockin’)
One of THE best things about the Rock Hall inductions is the once in a lifetime reunions AND collaborations, and the band Yes, gave both of those an emphatic YES!!! The band has had many many many formations in its history, and currently tour the world in two different factions, but on this night, they didn’t come from a place of ‘no’, and all came together to say ‘yes’ to Yes!!! And superfan Geddy Lee (and Rush bandmater Alex Lifeson) as the inductor, not only had high praise for the group, but filled in admirably for the departed Chris Squire on ‘Roundabout’. The long song only allowed for a second tune, the 80s staple ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’
You’d think that a posthumous induction would not be all that great, but you’d be DEAD wrong. Poor wording, but totally true. The Kurt-less Nirvava performance was one of the most bestest things I have ever witnessed, musically. When Linda Ronstadt (who is not dead) missed her induction 3 years ago, the performance put on in her honor was udderly fantastic. Same was true for Tupac’s big night. I missed the Snoop Dog speech while taking an extended wizz, and didn’t really know all the songs in the medley, but what a medley it was…
Ambitionz az a Ridah / I Get Around / I Ain’t Mad at Cha / Dear Mama / Changes (see below) / 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted / Gangsta Party / Hail Mary / Keep Ya Head Up
all with the help of Alicia Keys, YG, TI, Treach from Naughty By Nature, and of course the Snoop man himself!
No hologram needed – as 2Pac’s music brought him back to life!
The night’s most memorable moment was the one that didn’t happen. Steve Perry joined his former bandmates on stage for a heartfelt reunion that didn’t continue into the post-speech performances, leaving everyone VERY happy to see him, but VERY sad that we didn’t really get to hear him (sing)
Steve Perry can do whatever Steve Perry wants to do. If he wants to accept an award and not play with Journey ever again, that’s his choice, but in choosing to not perform (perhaps for the last time and chance ever to do so… but never say ever), he denied the audience, the fans, and humanity the opportunity to witness perhaps THE music moment of the decade
It may be time to stop believing in a Steve Perry reunion, but with current frontman Arnel Pineda perfectly imitating his chops, there’s plenty to lick and believe in here. Pineda & co rocked the arena and our world with ‘Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), ‘Lights’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believin’
Pharrell Williams then inducted Nile Rodgers with the Award For Musical Excellence, but sadly Daft Punk did not show up to make us all ‘Get Lucky’
this was followed to a nice, but not anything super special Lenny Kravitz tribute to Prince, featuring ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘The Cross’. Prince should never not be memorialized and honored, but I feel a little Prince-tributed out. Maybe they could have done a nice Leonard Cohen tribute, and have all the 1284384288424842 people who have covered ‘Hallelujah’ play it all together as one
Save the best for last, and Pearl Jam did, bringing up the rear for this show. While Neil Young called in sick, David Letterman came out of hiding and brought well needed non-musician humor and heart (and beard) to the proceedings
Another lovely moment was the appearance and reunion with their original drummer Dave Krusen, who sit in with the band for ‘Alive’, for the first time since he departed the group in 1991(!!!!!)! Personally, I would have let the group play Ten in its entirety, but they chose to sprinkle in other works, like ‘Given to Fly’ and ‘Better Man’
The only other moment that would have been super epic, was the show’s all-star jam closing number ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’. The jam WAS super epic, but without Neil Young, it was a little less super-y epic-er than it could have been. But who cares!!! When George Harrison’s son is jamming with Geddy Lee, Eddie Vedder, Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon of Journey, and Trevor Rabin of Yes, you’ll take that over not taking that. TAKE THAT!! I will, thanks!
Keep these shows a coming and a rocking Rock Hall, and especially to Brooklyn! and with more capes!!!!