Zoomers Rock the Grammys
Who would have thought that Bieber Fever, Gaga Gout, Drake tummy ache, and most other pop star-related afflictions could be miraculously cured by a prescription of some of the greatest Zoomers to ever step up to a microphone? It happened last night at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, and all it took was a Beatle, the Boss, Tony Bennett, five Beach Boys and a rhinestone cowboy.
In an award show generally intended to spotlight current young talent (and inspire the record sales/visibility of said talent), it was the classic rockers, legendary crooners, and inspirational stories from a generation of music gone by that evidently stole the ceremony.
There were moments of pure exhilaration, such as 62-year-old Bruce Springsteen proving why he is still very much the Boss by kicking off the broadcast alongside the E Street Band with an electric rendition of his new single “We Take Care of Our Own” – an apt tune considering the emotional weight of the evening.
The oldest Grammy nominee, Tony Bennett, swept both of the categories he was nominated in – Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (for “Body And Soul” with the late Amy Winehouse) and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album (Duets II) in addition to performing alongside Carrie Underwood.
The ceremony also played host to a reunion twenty years in the making as the Beach Boys reunited for the first time in decades to play together ahead of a world tour scheduled for later this year.
Of course, along with the joy came moments of sadness and somber reflection. The passing of Whitney Houston at age 48 the day before the ceremony cast a shroud of mourning over the event with tributes offered to her by many artists, including the performance of her hit “I Will Always Love You” by a teary-eyed Jennifer Hudson.
In addition to tributes to Houston, Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys performed a touching homage to the legendary Etta James, who passed away in January.
Another of the evening’s most poignant moments occurred during the tribute to, and performance by, Glen Campbell, whose spirited and uplifting rendition of “Rhinestone Cowboy” may have been among his last due to his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The enthusiasm and strength he showed on stage, without even a hint of the effects of the disease discernable, was a testament to the talent and passion that made him one of the world’s greatest country performers.
While the exits of some stars were mourned, the return of another was celebrated. Adele, who, at 23 collected a record-tying six Grammy awards, performed live for the first time since a medical issue with her vocal chords caused many fans to worry that she might never return to the stage. She did return, and subsequently performed with the poise and soul of an artist well beyond her years.
Then, after Adele accepted her final award, the evening concluded with the second performance of Sir Paul McCartney in one of the greatest show-closing numbers in Grammy history. Accompanied by the battling guitars of Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh, and Dave Navarro, the group brought the house down in a rendition of “Golden Slumbers” and “The End” from the Beatles’ classic Abbey Road.
As the final chords reverberated from their furious guitars, McCartney and company put an exclamation point on a show that proved that music knows no age, and that Zoomers can still rock a crowd as hard, and as passionately, as anyone atop the pop charts today.