Madonna opened the show and she never disappoints. She was all legs and she looked like a teenager up there.
U2 was next with Vertigo, and they always deliver.
Mary J. Blige came out and sang One, and this time, unlike New Orleans, she was free to bust loose and give us her version of the song. Nice.
Kelly Clarkson, and then Ellen introduced Paul McCartney with "This man doesn't need an introduction..." and walked off. Paul did some boring new song, then a blistering Helter Skelter, reminding us that he didn't stab anybody.
Mariah was next, and she was the first big highlight. She sang with more grit and emotion that I've seen from her before, and at the end she went up and hit those notes in that dogs-only area. Damn, can anybody else in the building do that? I don't think so...
Keith Urban and Faith Hill had to follow that -- too bad.
Worse yet was the tribute to Sly Stone. Too many people onstage, not enough hours of rehearsal -- it was a mess. Eventually Sly came out with his white mohawk, which was stunning, but either Sly doesn't sing anymore or they had a world of microphone problems.I was hoping for a Thankyou Falettinme Be Mice elf, but no. Sly mumbled a few lines then waved goodbye to the crowd and left. The band looked at each other with an "I don't know" look on their faces.
Springsteen did Devils & Dust, like he'd made his own deal at the Crossroads. I kept hearing Dylan -- that's a compliment, Bruce. He closed with a terse "Bring 'em home," which left the censors unprepared to cut his message of peace.
Then Kanye reminded the crowd why the word "show" is in "show business." Golddigger was Shirley the most infectious song of this past year...
Herbie and Christina did Leon, and I said to Mrs. Bart, "Christina has more torch, but Mariah more range than Montana."
Winding down, they seemed to have a Richard Pryor tribute ready to roll, but maybe they were late because they just blew right past Richard. Seems like everybody forgot Richard. SNL could hardly be bothered, Dave was too busy, Leno did 30 seconds, but I guess Richard died when people were busy with other things -- that's sad.Then they closed with the massive jam to New Orleans and Wilson Pickett.
Still, I thought it was a night of highlights. I was surprised. So often these shows can totally suck.
I thought Christina Aguilera and Herbie Hancock were a little better than Bart thinks, but other than that he's on the money. After Paul said, "This is my first Grammy performance, and I'd like to rock a little," and they lit into Helter Skelter, I was blown. All I could think of was that the song -- together with some '60's-strength LSD -- made Charlie Manson kill people, and how that old man McCartney could still go.
And the whole Sly and the Family Stone thing was just odd.
But I've made sure to catch the Grammys for the last several years because there's always some surprises and it usually knocks your socks off. This year was no exception.