The night kicked off with a strong performance by rock legends AC/DC sucking in viewers with their live set of Highway to Hell. The next two performances, Ariana Grande and Jessie J with Tom Jones really slowed down the progression of excitement at the Grammy’s. If I were to change the lineup, I would have opened with high energy and excitement. I would then have mellowed out the energy little by little, leaving on goers wowed to next years Grammy Awards. I believe Miranda Lambert’s country performance should have gone before Arianna Grande, Jessie J and Tom Jones. Kanye West taking the stage was less then impressive with his use of autotune and his two-step dance in the dark. However, Madonna looked and sounded great, with dramatics and strategic choreography, which left the fans wanting more of the material girl.
The best two performances of the night were Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Quest Love, and Herbie Handcock, what a great collaboration. Electric Light Orchestra later joined Sheeran. Hozier and Annie Lennox stole the night with their killer performance, Hozier took us to church and Annie put a spell on us.
I think the real treat from this year’s Grammys was combining the old school with new school, with the likes of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige, Usher and Stevie Wonder, Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney. It’s great to combine different generations, because it gives the music a certain quality and raises the bar for the newer artists. In other words, “You have to know where you came from to know where you’re going.”
Some disappointing acts were Pharrell Williams and Beyonce. Pharrell’s act was confusing and Beyonce over sang her song, which should have been sung by someone with a gospel background.
It’s great that they have finally acknowledged George Wein, with a Special Merit Trustee award for all his contributions to the music industry. He is the founder of the Newport Jazz Fest, which is in their 61st year and the producer of the Newport Folk Fest, which is in their 56th year. Wein also founded the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970. Wein receiving the award made me happy, because the Newport Jazz and Folk Fest have a special place in my heart.
The president of the Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, announced that the academy was starting a coalition to fight for fair royalty rates and educate artists on their rights. He emphasized on talking to congress about fair streaming rates to help protect and preserve the music industry.
I thought there were a lot of factors that made this year’s Grammys a success, even though past years have been complete disappointments. Hats off to you Recording Academy and good luck with the Creators Alliance Program.