Observations From The Grammys

Last night's broadcast of the 50th Annual Grammy Awards was a doozy, well, sort of. Unfortunately, we missed the first fifteen minutes, causing us to tune in right when Morris Day and The Time took the stage. Flashbacks to Purple Rain and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back suddenly began to almost overpower our ability to focus on their performance of "Jungle Love." Ah shit, then who joins the stage with The Time? The Grammy duel performance formula that reappeared far too many times throws Rihanna on stage to perform her "Umbrella," which then reverts back to "Jungle Love" for a few more moments. Oh-eeh-oh-eeh-oh.

Although the awards themselves seemed to take a backseat to the performances this year, and frankly half of them were ignorable, it was an interesting moment to watch Tom Hanks discussing the history of The Bang, the segueing into introducing two Beatles-themed moments - a performance from Cirque de Soleil's Love and the movie Across The Universe. The Cirque portion seemed to last forever, with plenty of "what the fuck" moments to confuse even the most open minded Beatles fan. Not so much.

One of the highlights of the evening was most definitely from Kanye West. For starters, his outfit was pretty fucking ridiculous, but hey, when you have that kind of money and you want to wear light-up glasses and a techno-Michael Jackson-esque jacket, go for it. It was like watching Tron, but with a better soundtrack. As he blazes through "Stronger," we couldn't help but notice the Daft Punk-like pyramid behind him. At first we thought that perhaps it was simply a nod do the French duo, or were they actually going to pop out. To our amazement, the top of the pyramid floated up and there they were. Everybody here at Tripwire HQ uttered "holy shit" at that moment. Daft Punk's first ever television performance, with some cool overhead shots of their electro-equipment. Consider us impressed.

Fast-forwarding through some awards (which we'll post at the bottom of this recap) we eventually see Beyonce taking the stage. She does a unique "performance" introduction for Tina Turner, who looks more like Robo-Tina with her herky-jerky dance moves during "What's Love Got To Do With It." You've got to hand it to Turner though, as she still sounds mighty good. Beyonce then reappears to join Tina for an overblown version of "Proud Mary." Eh, it was still cool to see Tina Turner still tearing it up, so we'll let this slide.

We sort of ignored the set-up for the random vote a string player to perform with the Foo Fighters portion of the night, but apparently you could text one of three string musicians to become the featured violinist (or cellist) in the orchrestra during the Foo's "The Pretender." Hmmmkay. John Paul Jones' orchestral madness during the song was nice, but for the most part it was simply just another rendition of the song. Not bad. Not mind blowing.

One moment that had our heads a bit confused was that of Feist's "1234." Perhaps she was a bit bummed after losing every award she was nominated for, or it was the deer in the headlights syndrome, but our girl was not feeling it last night. Very little eye contact, she simply looked uncomfortable and totally not in to it. It sounded just fine, and the brass backing band was pretty interesting as well.

One of the few memorable acceptance speeches was, of course, from Kanye. After some bragging, the "get off the stage" music begins. Kanye is having none of that, switching gears to discuss his mother. Hey, you can't boot a guy off stage once he starts chatting about his recently passed mother.

The night moved on with appearance by Aretha Franklin and Josh Groban, but we'll skip on to will.i.am. Homeboy embarrassed himself last night with his bizarre rap/song about the history of the Grammys. With some rhyming that sounded like it was written by a ten year old, it just seemed to go on for far too many uncomfortable minutes. That same level of uncomfortable returned when Kid Rock joined Keely Smith and Dave Koz for "That Old Black Magic." Dave Koz + Kid Rock + Keely Smith = WTF GRAMMYS!!!!!!

Oh, but seeing Dave Grohl hug Dave Koz when the Foo's won best rock album was totally a highlight of the evening. Brilliant!

At this point, I believe we stepped away from the TV for a few moments to grab a bite to eat, making it back in time for Amy Winehouse's potentially trainwreck-tastic live performance from London. Now, why in the hell Cuba Gooding Jr. was selected to introduce Winehouse is beyond us. Very random choice, but who cares, as the performance begins with "You Know I'm No Good." She actually looks okay, and for once she isn't slurring her way through the song. She has some bizarre twitchy dance moves, but unlike the last time we saw her live, Winehouse isn't having to support herself on the mic stand (in-between slamming pints of beer). She then switches to "Rehab," changing a few lyrics around (in both songs actually) for her hubby in prison. Even her acceptance speech for Record Of The Year went better than we thought, so nicely done Amy! Now go kick that crack habit!

The grand finale took far too long to get to, but Album Of The Year finally arrived, going to jazz legend Herbie Hancock. Sure, some people are pissed off about it, but hey, at least the dude has been around making music for a long, long time. C'mon, the guy gave us "Rocket." Remember? Congrats Herbie!


2008 Grammy Winners (partial list)
Record Of The Year - Amy Winehouse "Rehab"
Album Of The Year - Herbie Hancock River: The Joni Letters"
Song Of The Year - Amy Winehouse "Rehab"
Best New Artist - Amy Winehoue
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance - Amy Winehouse "Rehab"
Best Male Pop Vocal Performance - Justin Timberlake "What Goes Around..."
Best Pop Performance By Duo Or Group - Maroon Five "Makes Me Wonder"
Best Pop Collaboration - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss "Gone Gone Gone"
Best Pop Instrumental - Joni Mitchell "One Week Last Summer"
Best Pop Instrumental - Beastie Boys The Mix-Up
Best Pop Vocal Album - Amy Winehouse Back To Black
Best Dance Album - Chemical Brothers We Are The Night
Best Rock Solo Vocal - Bruce Springsteen "Radio Nowhere"
Best Rock Group Performance - The White Stripes "Icky Thump"
Best Hard Rock Performance - Foo Fighters "The Pretender"
Best Rock Song - Bruce Springsteen "Radio Nowhere"
Best Rock Album - Foo Fighters Echoes, Silcnce, Patience & Grace
Best Alternative Album - The White Stripes Icky Thump
Best R&B Vocal - Prince "Future Baby Mama"
Best Urban/Alternative Performance - Lupe Fiasco w/ Jill Scott "Daydreamin'"
Best Rap Solo - Kanye West "Stronger"
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - Rihanna w/ Jay-Z "Umbrella"
Best Rap Song - Kanye West "Good Life"
Best Rap Album - Kanye West Graduation
Best Comedy Album - Flight Of The Conchords The Distant Future
Best Soundtrack - The Beatles Love
Producer Of The Year - Mark Ronson
Best Short Form Video - Johnny Cash "God's Conna Cut You Down"

Observations From The Grammys