And the winner is…
Come on. The Grammys are over-debated, the performances not only leaked, but promoted. But when Queen came on the stage to rock us…
Generations have passed. Our parents are either deceased or in the old folks’ home. We rockers, who grew up with the Beatles, we remember, this is our history, it’s non only classic rock, IT’S OUR CLASSICAL MUSIC!
And sure, Adam Lambert is no Freddie Mercury, BUT WHO COULD BE?
So we’ve got septuagenarian Brian May with his Einstein hair and his tiny guitar wailing and taking us on a ride where the music transcends the ceremony. The only problem with the whole affair was that they didn’t end the show with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” That would have been fitting, with the audience yelling SCARAMOUCH, SCARAMOUCH…
Can you do the fandango?
No one would have left, because music infects your soul, and once bitten you can’t let go.
And then you had Lady Gaga’s impassioned speech. In an era where everybody thinks they can do it, it’s still about hard work. Or as that seer Bon Scott once sang, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n roll.”
It most certainly is. You’ve got to practice in obscurity, you’ve got to waver in the dream, and one of the great things about Gaga was she had no airs, not even any charisma, she was just another girl who wanted to make it, and having her dream come true brought tears to her eyes. Yes, very few of us get there, most of us get sidetracked, by work, family, obligations. But some who are single-minded arrive, and they’re a beacon to the rest of us, that with the same hard work…just maybe.
And when Rami Malek won Best Actor, and you saw the footage, you felt the electricity, the power of rock and roll. That’s what’s been missing, that essence, that takes over your body, that focuses your attention, that makes you want to get up and DANCE!
And when it was all over, at the Elton John party the auctioneer took the stage.
Yes, I was privileged enough to go. Pay your dues, maybe you can too.
And what was astounding was how much money these people had. No one recognizable, not that there were not some famous faces right in front of us, Jane Seymour and Peter Fonda flanking Bernie Taupin… It’s hard to get the image of Peter on that hog out of my mind, surfing the zeitgeist. But “Easy Rider” was before “Jaws” and “Star Wars” and blockbusters, when if a film made a statement, it might be heard, it might even become a phenomenon.
But these unknowns are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars. The woman who won Elton’s autographed piano said she was gonna sell one of her seven luxury cars to pay for it. And if the average Trump voter were there, their head would have exploded. It’s one thing to debate whether you want something, it’s quite another to find out the price is more than your annual salary.
And the last item up for auction was…
Attendance at the “Rocketman” premiere in London on May 21st.
Will history repeat? Split Enz told us no, but now Neil Finn is on tour with Fleetwood Mac, so maybe lightning does strike twice.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was quite the surprise. And we’re not sure exactly why it was successful. I think it’s the music, the story, the fantasy… That’s how it used to be, you dreamed of becoming a rock star, you felt if you met your musical hero your life would be complete.
But after getting to 30k, the auctioneer halted the proceedings. He said he was breaking protocol. He called Taron Egerton to the stage, to goose the bids.
Taron is the star of “Rocketman.” I don’t think he looks exactly like Elton but…
Then the auctioneer asked Taron to sing. And then I realized, this is probably why Taron got the gig.
But Taron begged off. Said his piano playing was rusty.
EJ ambles on stage. He moves slowly from the right to the left, sits down at the piano and then…
“Blue jean baby, L.A. lady”
The audience stands up at attention, like we’re automatons controlled by an outside force. And in this case we are, by music.
You can see Elton’s fingers upon the keys. I’m sure someone else could play the notes, but not like the man who wrote him. His digits are rolling and the jet takes off and…
We’re suddenly in Never Never Land.
I’m grinning from ear to ear. You know the experience, you’ve been at the gig, when they’re playing your favorite song, the one that you played at home, on the road, that got you through, and for this moment…
This is the only place you want to be.
And “Tiny Dancer” is a long song, with many verses and changes. And Taron’s doing a good job, but Elton is holding back, mouthing the words, and then…
EJ comes in on harmonies. I could pinch myself. Obviously this was a rehearsed moment, but still… No Oscar winning film can take you to this place.
And they ended up selling three of these premiere trips for 200k apiece.
But it’s a very good cause. David Furnish was reciting the numbers, especially in the African-American community, where males don’t want to admit they’ve got the virus, submit to treatment.
But ain’t that guys in general. We buck up, but when the music plays, we melt. Hell, it’s no different with Black Sabbath, the music will set you free if you surrender to it.
And we want to surrender, we want to be infected.
And it turns out that in the seventies we all were and have not forgotten, these tunes are in our bones, in our DNA.
And the internet is keeping them alive. Younger generations realize their power. Which is why Elton John sells out every gig and the Eagles play stadiums. Sure, it could be the last time around, but where else are you gonna get that hit?
So, despite the debacle of the Grammys…the infighting, the arguing, the show that appeals to nobody…the truth is music itself is alive and kicking, very healthy, not on life support. It’s got a power that will shake your limbs and shiver your soul. And the public knows. Nobody in Hollywood predicted “Bohemian Rhapsody”‘s success.
But in the immortal words of Eric Carmen…
THAT’S ROCK AND ROLL!