Monday, January 27, 2014

Grammy Performances: My Thoughts

Just wanted to share my thoughts on the Grammy's last night.  Not as an audience member or backstage lurker, but simply a CBS viewer from the comfort of my couch and family!

Overall, I was impressed with the Grammy performances last night.  No real clunkers! (ok, maybe a couple)  I've never had the pleasure of performing at the Grammy's, but I have performed on many award shows.  The reason for a lot of crappy vocal performances has a lot to do with how poor the audio production is on these types of shows.  All the effort goes into the staging, set design, lighting, and camera blocking.  Audio, specifically how well the artists HEAR THEMSELVES is typically the last priority.  It seems they got it right this time.

Everyone seems to be talking about Beyoncé and Jay Z this morning.  I mean, who wouldn't want to watch Beyoncé half naked, gyrating on stage?  It was cute to have hubby come out to join, but it sort of ruined the moment, ya know?  All that said, I didn't think it was spectacular.  Just Beyoncé being sexy.  I think my 12 year old son enjoyed it. Glad my 8 year old daughter missed it.  I will say, however, let this be a hint to Miley Cyrus, this is how you get attention... with class!

I like Lorde, but their take on "Royals" fell a little flat to me.  The arrangement got in the way of my being able to enjoy the performance.  I kept waiting for something to happen.

Hunter Hayes, (clunker #1) poor kid.  He's super talented and a great performer.  I don't know if nerves got to him, or he got himself winded by jumping around, but he was about 75% vocally.  Not enough for the big show.  Hey, If Pink can sing while performing acrobatics....

I actually really liked Katy Perry & Juicy J with their "Dark Horse" performance.  Very well executed.  Speaking of "dark", everything seemed dark this year at the Grammy's. Dark lighting, dark stage.  Interesting.

I'm sure many people will be raving about Robin Thicke's performance with Chicago.  I thought Chicago was great as always, but Robin trampled all over their songs, just like an amateur would.  There's no question he has a great voice, just no sense of when to take some liberty, and when to stick to the melody... or maybe he didn't know their songs very well.  When it came to his "Blurred Lines" he sounded great.  By the way, Chicago added perfectly to Thicke's tune.  But, they're pro's.

Got to give some props to my former boss Keith Urban and his performance of "Cop Car" with Gary Clark Jr. Though this wasn't his most memorable delivery, even on his off days he's better than most.  The classic Keith and [insert guest guitar player] duel at the end of the song is always exciting.  He's a pro!

As for John Legend, damn dude! What a class act. Great song, great performance, true artist. Tie for 1st Place!

And let's hear it for Taylor Swift!  Nobody can complain about her performance of "All Too Well" last night.  I didn't even know she played piano!  Good for her. This is a great example of "playing your strengths."  But keep this in mind, Taylor, you've set your own bar now.  No going back!

Ok, let's talk about P!nk.  What a bad-ass!  Not only is she a tremendous recording artist, but she is super convincing as an aerial artist as well!  AND, to be able to deliver a stunning vocal performance at the same time is simply too much. Bravo!  Unfortunately, Nate Ruess tanks the whole thing.  Yes, this is clunker #2.  Normally I would give him the benefit of the doubt that it was the audio issue I talked about at the beginning of this post, but it didn't seem to bother most everyone else.  I've always felt his vocal abilities were a bit short of his attempts, but it was really apparent last night.  He was overshooting everything.  I think it even threw P!nk off a couple of times, but she was able to recover like a pro.  Nate was out of his league.

I enjoyed Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons performance.  Exciting.  Well done.

Once again, Miley can learn a lesson in class from Kacey Musgraves.  Perfect performance of a great little tune.  Not sure about the band outfits, but hey, why not?

What a treat to see Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr perform together.  Even if there was something bad to say, I wouldn't say it!  It was wonderful.  Can't believe either of them are in their 70's.

The performance by Willie Nelson, Kris KristoffersonMerle Haggard, and Blake Shelton was a bit rocky at times, but how cool was that.  What I loved the best was seeing artists from other genres really digging it and appreciating how special that moment was.  Of course, there were a few (Macklemore) who didn't seem to get it.  So much for being "open minded."

The other "winner" for the night was the fabulous moment with Sara Bareilles and Carole King.  One legendary singer/songwriter and one soon-to-be legendary singer/songwriters. Who needs a stinking light show and pyrotechnics?  This is how "artists" perform.

I'm certainly not a Metal-Head, nor would I ever imagined a combination of Metallica and Lang Lang would be so cool... but it was.  I really dug it.  Not really my thing, but it was well done.

I guess it wouldn't be rock-n-roll if it didn't shove a political issue down our throats.  I happen to agree with this one, but sheesh.  I'm happy for all the couples. Talk about a great memory for them.  Macklemore certainly delivered. Mary Lambert and Madonna were, well, nice.

Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong did a nice job with the Everly Brothers version of "When Will I Be Loved" in a tribute to the late Phil Everly.  Unfortunately, it was apparent they were both used to Linda Ronstadt's version.  Ya, they phrased it right, but it never "felt" right.  Here's how it's supposed to feel.

Finally, the only disappointing thing about Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, Lindsey Buckingham, and Dave Grohl's performance was that it got cut off when CBS ended the show.  Heaven forbid we pre-empt anything because of a musical show like we do with SPORTS!!!!  Their performance was definitely rockin', tight, exciting, etc.  Everything about it was cool.  At least, what we got to hear.