I said I wasn’t going to watch the 54th Annual Grammy awards this year. I really hate the industry love-fest they have. But I love to hear how live bands and singers do on awards shows. It’s always fun to try and guess who’s lip-synching and who has the chops to pull it off live. So how did the performers fare at the 54th annual Grammy awards show? Let’s break it all down here.
The show took place on February 12, 2012 and opened with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band. Bruce looked excellent and he’s keeping himself in great shape. His voice was strong although maybe not as cutting as in the past. The band sounded great though. It was sad to see him without the great Clarence Clemons. Bruce did a live performance and it was a great way to start the show.
LL Cool J took the stage and gave a stirring tribute to Whitney Houston. He said a prayer live on television thanking Heavenly Father for sharing Whitney’s talent with us. It was followed by a clip of Whitney singing her song I Will Always Love You in a past Grammy performance. This brought the audience to standing ovation.
LL Cool J quickly got the crowd centered on the reason they were there and that was a celebration of music. He did a great shout out to all the great performers who would take the stage. Bruno Mars took the stage and really rocked the house. His performance was live and very energetic with James Brown style moves and music.
Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys followed with a killer tribute to Etta James. Their voices were rich and powerful and their playing was flawless.
Adele won her first Grammy of the night for Best Pop Solo Performance for her song Someone Like You.
Chris Brown took the stage and did a pitch corrected song and dance routine to his songs Turn Up The Music and Beautiful People. Shazam was able to recognize the song so it was a pretty canned performance. The dancing was pretty sweet though.
Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson sang Don’t You Wanna Stay. Kelly really nailed her part and totally saved the song. Their performance was live and Kelly was very strong.
The great Jack Black introduced the hard rockin’ Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters obviously had far too much energy and rock power for the Grammy crowd inside the Staples Center. They performed their rock mega-hit “Walk” to a pumped crowd in a tent outside the Staples Center. That’s too bad for everyone that was inside because they missed one of the very best performances of the night. The song was live and perfectly played. This is one band that really brings the goods live.
The Foo Fighters was followed by the unusual pairing of Rihanna and Coldplay. Rihanna does have a lovely voice and her canned disco is great for dancing. Coldplay’s Chris Martin sang with Rihanna and his voice was noticeably weaker than Rihanna’s. Luckily the rest of the band rescued Chris and they pulled off a great rendition of their song Paradise. The performance was live and although it lacked the energy of the Foo Fighters it was well played. I did like how the glow sticks that were passed out to the audience matched the stage lighting on this song.
The Grammy for Best Rock Performance went to “Walk” by the Foo Fighters. I must say, well called by the Grammy panel. Dave Grohl gave a perfect speech about how music should be played from the heart and the head. He also said that music shouldn’t be perfect but played from the heart on real instruments. Amen Dave, amen.
This was followed by the Beach Boys giving their first ever Grammy performance. They were teamed with Maroon 5 who sang Surfer Girl. They were followed by Foster The People playing Wouldn’t It Be Nice. It was a very solid performance and totally live.
Then the Beach Boys took the stage and tore through Good Vibrations with Maroon 5 and Foster The People. They’re old but they can still play and sing very well. It was really cool to see Brian Wilson playing and singing live.
Stevie Wonder introduced the great Paul McCartney by playing John Lennon’s harmonica solo from the Beatles hit Love Me Do. It was awesome! Paul was joined by Diana Krall and Joe Walsh (as well as a full orchestra) performing his new song Valentines Day. It was really beautiful and Paul sounded better singing the song live than he does on the new album. Joe Walsh played a really soulful guitar solo on this song.
Chirs Brown, the least R&B sounding of the bunch, won the Grammy for best R&B Album.
The Civil Wars performed took the stage and thanked “that promising young kid from Liverpool” for opening the show for them. It was pretty funny then they really rocked out a live song that was very soulful.
Taylor Swift followed up with an out-of-tune performance of a banjo song. Another year of practice has not helped her voice much. To her credit, it was live.
The Grammy for Song Of The Year went to Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth for Rolling In The Deep. It was very well deserved in my opinion.
Katy Perry’s bodysuit was so tight she had to be lifted onstage. She did a great transition between songs by disappearing from the stage and appearing suspended in a glass cage above the stage. She smashed the glass and gave a great live performance. Her singing wasn’t perfect but she had great energy.
Adele took the stage to perform Rolling In The Deep. Her voice sounds like it has healed perfectly from surgery. She looked great and she sounded excellent. The performance was live and she sang with feeling and soul. This was truly Adele’s night at the 54th Grammy Awards.
The band Perry did a pretty sweet tribute to Glen Campbell. Glen himself came onstage and sang Rhinestone Cowboy and I must say he totally nailed it. It was nice to see good old, really old Glen. Luckily Glen’s dentures stayed in and he finished his performance without breaking a hip. He left the stage asking “Where do I go?” To the after party Glen, to the after-party.
Tony Bennett sang a lovely little duet with Carrie Underwood on the song It Had To Be You. Tony’s getting old too but he’s got pretty good style. I think he was hanging with Glen at the after-party.
The Grammy for Best New Artist went to Bon Iver. They beat out some pretty stiff competition from The Band Perry.
Jennifer Hudson did a lovely tribute to Whitney Houston. It’s good to know we have another great singer ready to take Whitney’s place.
David Guetta spun some great loops for Chris Brown to sing to. I do have to say that it was a very nice performance of loop based music.
This was followed by the Foo Fighters killing it with a performance of their song Rope. It was a high energy, rocking performance. They were joined by Deadmau5 who brought the techno. It was an interesting mix.
Nicki Minaj went all wack with a priest. Watch it on YouTube if you’re interested.
The Grammy for Record of the Year went to Adele for Rolling In The Deep. It was well deserved.
The Grammy for Album of the Year went to Adele for her album 21. Again it was well deserved and it gave Adele a tie for the most Grammies won in a single year at six Grammy awards. It really was Adele’s night and she was very deserving.
The final performance of the evening was by the legendary Sir Paul McCartney. Paul performed the final medley from Abby Road consisting of Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End. Paul’s voice is getting a bit ragged with age but he still has the ability to sing his songs. He can still scream out the high parts. Watching him trade licks with all those great guitarists at the end of the show was awesome! I was impressed that Bruce Springsteen took a couple of lead solo’s during the guitar solo’s.
The show was about 2 hours too long. I enjoyed most of the performances but I just can’t sit and watch a show for that long. I really don’t think I’m going to watch the Grammies next year just because it’s too darn long.
The Grammy Awards Best Pop and Rock Gospel Albums (1990-2012) (2013, Paperback)
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