Monday, February 24, 2003

I didn't really go out of my way to watch the Grammy Awards, missing the first hour.  Particularly in the rock/pop realm, the Academy has too much of a tendency to reward what sells well over what has genuine artistic merit, then realize their errors by rewarding late-career works by artists who are past their creative peak, if they get around to it.

But especially after Ricky Martin's career-making performance 1999, it's been worth it if only for the occasionally inspired live act. If nothing else, this would seem to be the one television performance where the audience can be assured that no one will lip synch.

The Bee Gees were awarded for their best work back in the '70s; they got an uninspired live tribute. *N Sync sucked the soul out of the Bee Gee's blue eyed soul. The Clash never won a Grammy, so the Academy did their belated best to memorialize Joe Strummer. Well, not quite their best. Rather than recruiting the most appropriate musicians to play a tribute, they roped in the most appropriate musicians who were going to be at the show anyway. So rather than a real all-star tribute, you got two big stars, a guy in the same band as one of the stars but not quite a star in his own right, and a guy whose second-string band wouldn't get nearly as much attention if the lead singer hadn't been in one of rock's most important bands ever. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Little Steven and Dave Grohl.

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