HBO aired a four-hour version of the six-hour 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert on Sunday night which showcased some of the greatest names in rock and roll. The show, taped October 30th at Madison Square Garden, featured a number of great performances and, in my opinion, some lackluster ones.
This show did, however, offer something for almost every rock and roll taste (unless you consider rap and hip hop rock and roll).
I think that there will never be a concert like this again, unless it's done within the next couple of years or includes some really old rockers.
Somehow, I can't imagine a concert in 20 years featuring Kanye West collaborating with 50 Cent and performing Green Day's greatest hits. Or Pink doing a tribute to Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. Or Whitney Houston being able to sing at all. Even her own songs.
The audience was treated to fine performances by Crosby Stills and Nash, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, Smoky Robinson, Paul Simon, Art Garfunckle, Jeff Beck, BB King, Annie Lennox, Sting and others. And that was just in the first 45 minutes of the show. Wow!
I really enjoyed that collection of artists playing each others music, Beatles songs , adding harmonies and showcasing why their stature in the industry is what it is. I had to wonder how long they rehearsed for this performance. I'm guessing it was a lot less that we'd imagine. They're that good.
My thought at this point was, My god! That was the openingt? The rest of the show is going to be incredible. Sadly, I was disappointed.
The rest of the show did have some highlights for me (ZZ Top doing Hendrix, Mick Jagger doing Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck performing with Buddy Guy). Of course if you're a big heavy metal fan you may have a very different opinion than mine, but most of the acts who followed seemed to be doing nothing more than what they do every other night that they perform. When the musicians sat in with each other to play one or the others hits, they didn't seem to have the musical precision demonstrated by the earlier performers.
Mick Jagger is always entertaining. Metallica, U2 and Springsteen were Metallica, U2 and Springsteen. Ozzie Osbourne looked healthy and like he was having a great time. Sort of like a more sober, saner Ozzie.
But, like anything that lasts four hours, it was hard to keep me excited for such an extended period. In short, the four-hour condensed version of the six-hour Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert in New York was a great hour of entertainment.