Once again a class of exciting honorees took to the stage to expect the accolades of the R&R Hall of Fame’s honor and to give a few tunes. A good time was had by all including those who caught it on HBO. The 32nd annual ceremony and concert were held once again at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NYC, on April 7th. HBO’s cameras were there to cover the action and packaged it up for the masses – or at least HBO subscribers. It debuted on the main channel and the sites on 04.29. Here is a brief reminder that it is still available to view and some highlights.
First is a reminder of the inductees and their presenters.
Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was inducted by Dhani Harrison, the son of The Beatles member George Harrison who was good friends with ELO’s Jeff Lynne. Folk artist Joan Baez was inducted by Jackson Brown (Class of 2004) an early fan of her sound and her activism. The progressive rock masters collectively known as Yes was inducted by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush (Class of 2013). Hip-Hop antihero Tupak Shakur was inducted by Snoop Dogg. The arena rockers called Journey, including the retired Steve Perry, was inducted by Pat Monahan of Train. The alternative band Pearl Jam was inducted by David Letterman in lieu of an absent Neil Young (Class of 1995).
Also as a part of the event, the Award for Musical Excellence went to artist/producer Nile Rodgers who was inducted by Pharrell Williams. And there were two tribute segments. The ceremony was kicked off with “Roll Over Beethoven,” in a tribute to ‘a father of rock and roll’ the late Chuck Berry (Class of 1986) performed by ELO. The other was a shout out to the memory of Prince via Lenny Kravitz and Hezekiah Walker & Love Fellowship Choir. They offered up a highlight of the evening with “When Doves Cry” and “The Cross.”
The other performance gigs from the evening were as follows: ELO performs “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky;” Joan Baez performs “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” a capella, then is joined by Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Indigo Girls to perform “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down;” Yes performs “Roundabout” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart;” Representing the late Tupac Shakur, Alicia Keys performs a medley of “Ambitionz Az A Rida,” “I Get Around,” “I Ain’t Mad At Cha,” “Dear Mama,” and “Changes.” Snoop Dogg and YG perform “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” Treach performs “Hail Mary” and T.I. performs “Keep Ya Head Up.” Journey performs “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Pearl Jam performs “Alive,” “Given To Fly,” and “Better Man,” and is then joined by the performers and inductees from the evening to perform “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
All in all, it was a good night and a fun time. But there were moments that were odd. The inductees you hope to pontificate on their epic journey as a rocker barely say anything and then others babble on. Lynne of ELO is the former example and Yes’ Rick Wakeman is the latter. Biggest disappointment? Sadly, not enough hits were played by everyone and, alas, Steve Perry didn’t sing at all! It was, however, great to see Letterman speak and Lenny Kravitz takes the stage and to hear once again, ELO, Joan Baez, Yes, Tupac, Journey & Pearl Jam. But the whole thing wouldn’t have been right without acknowledging the master that started in all – Chuck Berry. Rock on you all!