8.2.2004: LIVE from the plastic surgery capital of the world, Meg Ryan’s face Los Angeles, CA; it’s the 43rd Grammy Awards! The STAPLES Center is packed with industry heavyweights and radio contest winners. Your host tonight is no one in particular. The curtains rise and…
-Here’s the artist currently known as Prince playing the opening notes of “Purple Rain” to a fairly large reaction.
-Beyonce joins in at the second verse (I never wanted 2 be your weekend lover…) wearing a Purple Dress, Purple Dress.
-Quick segue into “Baby I’m A Star” with Prince and Beyonce sharing a mic, a “Crazy In Love” horn break and a bit of “Let’s Go Crazy” with Beyonce singing lead.
-My spell checker refuses to believe that “Beyonce” isn’t a typo. Stop trying to change her name to “Bayonne”!!
-Gwen Stefani and Quentin Tarantino are out to present the Best Contemporary R&B award. Quentin reminds us that 2004 marks the 20th anniversary of “Purple Rain”, “one of the greatest rock and roll films eva made”. Prince and Bayonne also really “threw down” with their performance, which was “da bomb”. I concur. Gwen smiles. The nominees for Best Contemporary R&B Album are:
“Chapter II”, Ashanti
“Dangerously in Love”, Beyonce
“Love and Life”, Mary J. Blige
“Comin’ from Where I’m From”, Anthony Hamilton
“Chocolate Factory”, R. Kelly
My Pick: “Chocolate Factory”, but a nominee did just perform so…
Winner: Beyonce, who thanks her fans, her Mom, Destiny’s Child, Jay-Z and her record label
-After a funny intro from Ellen Degeneres, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, Sting and Pharell “Ringo” Williams proceed to murder The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There”. Sting was singing off-key, which really hurt the harmonies. He did the same thing at the Super Bowl last year with Gwen, so I wasn’t shocked.
-Christina Aguilera performs Song of the Year nominee, Linda Perry’s “Beautiful”, on her knees and surrounded by smoke. I never liked the song, and X-tina’s excessive vocalizing didn’t help matters.
-The nominees for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal are:
“Misunderstood,” Bon Jovi
“Hole in the World,” the Eagles
“Stacy’s Mom,” Fountains of Wayne
“Unwell,” matchbox twenty
“Underneath It All,” No Doubt featuring Lady Saw
Winner: No Doubt. Gwen Stefani thanks, Dave Stewart, the fans, Lady Saw and her husband for letting her write a song about him. Considering Gwen’s solo plans, this was probably the last time you’ll see No Doubt together for a long time.
-The White Stripes perform “Seven Nation Army” and “Death Letter”. When pale, thin, stringy haired Jack White hit the stage, my brother asked:
“Is that Michael Jackson?”
I had to look a few times before I could say no.
-Presenters: B.B. King, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry
The nominees for Best Rap Album are:
“Under Construction”, Missy Elliott
“Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, 50 Cent
“The Blueprint 2: the Gift & The Curse”, Jay-Z
“Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”, OutKast
“Phrenology”, the Roots
Winner: OutKast. After a long delay, Andre 3000 hits the stage accepts the award for the group. He says “thank you” and walks off, as if to say “I’ll be back later.”
-Marg Helgenberger introduces the “incomparable” Martina McBride. That’s funny. After hearing “Concrete Angel”, I’d compare Martina to country-pop artists like Shania Twain, Leann Rimes and the Dixie Chicks.
Joan of Arcadia (w/ Rock the vote t-shirt), Jakob Dylan (w/ marginal talent) and Amy Lee (w/ electrical tape wrapped around her body) are out to present the Grammy Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The nominees are:
“Any Road,” George Harrison
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Michael McDonald
“Send Your Love,” Sting
“Cry Me a River,” Justin Timberlake
“Keep Me in Your Heart,” Warren Zevon
Pre-Show Prediction: Anyone but Sting. Please.
Winner: Justin Timberlake. Justin stops mid-thank to apologize for the Super Bowl incident again*. Sellout
*After the show, it was revealed that the invitations extended to Janet and Justin by CBS required that they each apologize on camera. Since she’d already apologized twice during the week, asking Janet to repent again was effectively telling her not to show up. Timberlake apparently jumped at the opportunity to further distance himself from a moment he was equally responsible for.
-Patti LaBelle is out, so it must be time for the Luther Vandross tribute.
-Alicia Keys performs “A House Is Not A Home” and Celine Dion (after a few mic malfunctions) sings “Dance With My Father”.
Following Celine’s performance, LUTHER appears on the video screen, thanking everyone for their love and support.
-Madonna introduces Sting, (who’s great because he introduced her to Guy Ritchie) and Sean Paul. Their performance of “Roxanne” was much better than I expected it to be.
- Presenters Hillary Duff, Paulina Rubio and Brian McKnight are greeted with silence. The nominees for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance are:
“Beautiful,” Christina Aguilera
“Miss Independent,” Kelly Clarkson
“White Flag,” Dido
“I’m with You,” Avril Lavigne
“Fallen,” Sarah McLachlan
Pre-Show Prediction: I know Sarah McLachlan won’t win, so I’ll say Dido a.k.a. Sarah Jr. At least those two composed their own songs.
Winner: Christina Aguilera. After adjusting the front of her dress, Christina hits us with the gem: “I don’t want to have the same thing happen that Janet had done.” Someone else should write her acceptance speeches, too.
-Sarah Jessica Parker recaps the night events and introduces “soul man” Justin Timberlake. Justin performs “Senorita” with Jazz legend Arturo Sandoval.
-Ellen’s back to present the President’s Award to The Beatles.
-Olivia Harrison accepts on George’s behalf, calling the band “mystical messengers of peace love and higher consciousness.”
-Yoko Ono Lennon accepts on John Lennon’s behalf. “In the beginning there was The Beatles. Before the Beatles, we experienced music at weddings and bar mitzvahs. Street corners and recital halls. 200 seaters. Never… Shea Stadium.” Yoko holds for applause. It doesn’t come. “When The Beatles arrived, they covered the world with music and made our planet the planet of music.” She gets silence from the crowd again, and I’m starting to sympathize until her next sentence. “If John were here tonight, he would have been very happy that his effort along with -the other three- was acknowledged in this way by the Grammys. And probably…he would have wanted to say…say it again, come together, give peace a chance and love is all we need. Thank you.” Polite applause follows.
-Ringo Starr accepts on his own behalf. Paul McCartney accepts holding the guitar he played on Ed Sullivan 40 years ago.
-The Black Eyed Peas perform Record of the Year nominee “Where Is The Love”. They get ten points for energy and timely lyrics, but lose twenty for letting Timberlake back on stage.
-Country artists Keith Urban and violinist Joshua Bell are out to present the award for Best Female Country Performance. The nominees are
“Keep on the Sunny Side,” June Carter Cash
“On Your Way Home,” Patty Loveless
“This One’s for the Girls,” Martina McBride
“I’m Gone,” Dolly Parton
“Forever and for Always,” Shania Twain
Winner: June Carter Cash. The award is accepted by her son, Mark Carter Cash.
- Beyonce performs “Dangerously In Love” in front of a “living painting” set piece. She had the crowd eating right out of her hand. Or was that a dove?
-Norah Jones and last year’s big winner, Norah Jones present the Best New Artist award.
The nominees are:
Fountains of Wayne
Winner: Evanescence. Amy Lee thanks Wind-Up Records and the fans for helping a chick with a piano get on modern rock radio.*
* Apparently, 50 Cent beat Amy to the stage and said something stupid. But the television audience missed it because of the new 3 minute delay. Thanks, Janet!
-Samuel L. Jackson is onstage and he’s yelling. It must be time for the funk medley. Earth Wind & Fire perform “Shining Star” and Big Boi and Sleepy Brown do “The Way You Move” with the EWF horns. Robert Randolph & The Family Band tear it up with a too short rendition of “I Need More Love”. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic close out the segment as only they can. They want the funk. They’ve got to have that funk.
-Snoop Dogg (w/ jewel encrusted chalice), Don Magic Juan & Jason Alexander (w/ funny riff about being married to Britney Spears) introduce Foo Fighters and jazz pianist Chick Corea. Is it just me or does “Times Like These” sound a little like Harvey Danger’s 1998 hit “Flagpole Sitta”?
-After acknowledging the Neptunes‘ Producer of the Year win, Mary J. Blige and Michael Mc Donald present the Record of The Year award. The nominees are:
“Crazy in Love,” Beyonce featuring Jay-Z
“Where Is the Love?” Black Eyed Peas featuring. Justin Timberlake
“Lose Yourself,” Eminem
Hey Ya!” OutKast
Prediction: I picked Coldplay to win this award last time I did a recap. I was wrong then and I’ll be wrong now.
Winner: Coldplay. I thought Outkast had this one for sure. Random Coldplay member says: “It’s amazing. You can win three, four Grammys and be up here three years in a row and they still mistake you for the people that fill the seats.” What a shock. Lead singer Chris Martin dedicates the Grammy to Johnny Cash and John Kerry, who will hopefully be our president someday.
-Sarah McLachlan and 18-time Grammy winner (according to Tony Bennett) Allison Krauss perform “Fallen”. Sarah is the only nominated performer not to win a Grammy tonight.
-Sharon “happy to be here” and Ozzy “happy to be anywhere” Osbourne present the award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. The nominees are:
“Times Like These,” Foo Fighters
“There There,” Radiohead;
“Calling All Angels,” Train
“Seven Nation Army,” the White Stripes
“Disorder in the House,” Warren Zevon and Bruce Springsteen
Winner: Warren Zevon. Grammy night is always a good one for the deceased. Jordan Zevon accepts on his dad’s behalf.
-Carole King, Babyface and Kurt Elling present the award for Song of the Year. This award is given to songwriter, whereas the Record of the Year Grammy goes to the performers and producers. The nominees are:
“Beautiful,” Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera)
“Dance with My Father,” Richard Marx and Luther Vandross (Luther Vandross)
“I’m with You,” The Matrix (Avril Lavigne)
“Keep Me in Your Heart,” Jorge Calderon and Warren Zevon (Warren Zevon);
“Lose Yourself,” J. Bass, M. Mathers and L. Resto (Eminem)
Winner: Luther Vandross and Richard Marx. Luther’s business manager reads a statement. He thanks the fans for taking the song into their hearts and J Records for believing in his music.
-The president of the recording academy gives his annual save the arts/downloading is bad speech.
-Andre 3000 and his dancers emerge from a giant smoking teepee dressed like Native Americans. Hopefully, this is the last televised performance off “Hey Ya!” ever. I love the song and this performance was great, but enough is enough. The DJ in the back is wearing a huge feather headdress also. A marching band hits the stage mid-song, with each musician wearing feathers as well.
-Faith Hill and Carlos Santana are out to present the final award of the night, Album of the Year. The nominees are:
Under Construction, Missy Elliott
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, OutKast
Justified, Justin Timberlake
Elephant, the White Stripes
Winner: Outkast. Big Boi thanks God and L.A. Reid for giving them creative freedom . Andre thanks their true fans for staying with them and reminds newcomers that “Stankonia” is not their first album.
All in all, I think it was an entertaining show. There were no political statements, surprise winners or shocking moments. The closest we came to controversy was the Andre performance and it wasn’t as offensive as an Atlanta Braves home game. It’s all about the performances for me and they were almost all first-rate.