Glam Crammed Grammy’s 14/02/2008
I watched highlights of the Grammy’s 50th award ceremony at a friend’s house the other night on ITV2 (they must be repeating it at some point and if they do I implore you to go and watch it) and I pretty much thought “this is exactly what we’re missing in good old Blighty”.
Not within my memory can I think of a time where I’ve watched the Brits (or any other British award show at that) and have been at least semi-impressed if not blown away by every single performance I’ve seen. Granted, I’m guessing the ITV2 show was highlights, but still; 2 and a half hours of top quality entertainment isn’t to be sniffed at.
I’m going to plead ignorance here as this is the first time I’ve watched the Grammy’s. For all I know this could have been a one off. Maybe it isn’t always as good as this? Maybe it was just down to the fact that it was the 50th anniversary which gave the event that ‘special’ vibe that it appeared to have? Maybe it was actually rather dull and it was just the fact that I’d drank enough gin to kill a small horse that made it enjoyable?
The reason I was so fond of the event was down to the fact that none of the performances were simply cut and paste copies of their recorded counterparts. Every performance had something a little bit different about it. Granted, some were more subtle then the rest, but even those little differences still spoke volumes to me.
Even artists who I couldn’t really care much about got my attention, including ‘if-it-wasn’t-for-Apple-no one-would-really-care-about-me’ Fiest with a rendition of 1234 that can only be described as ‘cute and fluffy’. Alicia Keys’ posthumous duet with Frank Sinatra was done both tastefully and rather well and her later performance of ’No One’ which featured a cheeky guitar solo from John Mayer was again, rather good.
Beyonce then came on stage with legs that could kill a man by aesthetics alone and started singing/dancing her way though female musical history introducing her mystery duet companion as “the queen“ of said female legacy… I’m not going to lie, I was surprised when Tina Turner came on stage but hey, I went along with it and although Beyonce had the ability to blow Turner out of the water, I felt she held back a little bit as not to embarrass the aging songstress somewhat. A wise decision too as the whole thing was rather enjoyable to watch.
Kanye West hit the stage with Daft Punk in tow to perform his hit ‘Stonger’ and then did a rather heart warming take of one of his older tracks ‘Hey Mama’ in a dedication to his late mother (and manager). Obviously hard for him to perform, he managed to get through the track although struggling with his emotions at times and his visible heartbreak really does make you think is vanity even worth considering risking your life for?
It was a good night for us humble Brits as well with Amy Winehouse almost completing a clean sweep by picking up 5 of the 6 gongs she was nominated for including shacking off some rather fierce competition in the ‘Song of the Year’ category. She also seemed to be the only sober one in the room as hundreds of drunken Universal employees cheered along with every word. I wonder if Guy Hands would have thrown a similar party if an EMI artist was in a similar position?
The highlight of the event for me was the Foo Fighters giving an absolutely outstanding performance of ‘The Pretender’ with a full orchestral backing which was so brilliantly cacophonous that it could so easily be the next Bond theme tune. Go to youtube and watch now.
So commonly events like this that are supposed to be special or significant in some way or another often feel contrived and forced and usually end up costing a hell of a lot of money (Capital of Culture opening ceremony anyone?) but for me the Grammy’s got it spot on. They needed to pull something out of the bag for its half century celebrations and they certainly did as I’ll remember aspects of that event for the next 50 years (unless the Gin gets the better of me first that is).
What I’m listening to this week: Alex Highton and Gowan (A complete guilty pleasure here! Reminds me of singing my heart out with my Dad in his old Rover when I was about 13. Good times…)
What I’m reading this week: “Every time a band signs with a major label they’re putting themselves into a really bad position. But they don’t realise it because of the smokescreen, the false smile and the bottle of champagne.” – The Futureheads manager kicking off at the majors.