Taylor Swift opened the 55th Grammy’s with a trip to Alice’s Wonderland and the rest of the evening was an adventure in music 2013 style. From a glimpse of the Mad Hatter’s tea party with Dr John’s head dress to a trip down the rabbit hole as Carrie Underwood performed “Two Cadillacs” in a dress which appeared to be designed by the animation studios of Disney and would have made Belle of Beauty and The Beast fame quite proud, it was music’s night to shine and sometimes reign literally with fun.
The Grammys are a celebration of music in all its forms and genres. There are always acts you just don’t understand like Wiz Khalifa getting in Miquel’s way to tender moments like Rhianna’s touching ballad. There are the tributes that you wish could go on and on like the one for Dave Brubeck and the Marley family reunion. There are surprises – think the Rain-dition of “Carry On” from fun. and disappointments Mumford and Sons straight reading of “I Will Wait” ( boy did they miss Bob Dylan’s inspiration).
There are performances that regardless of how you feel about the music you have to be impressed with the talent as in Justin Timberlake’s skillful presentation of new songs. Keep in mind it’s a night celebrating mostly the most popular music of the past year and to launch a new song or two takes some courage. Frank Ocean notwithstanding choosing “Forest Gump” one of the weaker songs off his marvelous debuts just so he can showcase a pretty cool effect.
The best part of the Grammys is the lack of awards. It’s about the music even if you find it hard to sit through LL Cool J’s Beastie Boys tribute or you find Country music all to similar, you gain appreciation with each performance and get a few laughs in as well.
This year’s show highlights included Jack White performing with both of his bands. Usually he chooses his all male or all female bands and that’s it. However, on this night he jumped between groups for a defining performance. Meanwhile it was a bright night for the Black Keys. On a night when they were given their due they reflected it back to their heroes- The Preservation Hall Band and the irrepressible Mac Rebennack otherwise known as Dr. John. Dressed in his full Night Tripper regalia, Rebennack seemed to be basking in the glory of the evening. In a night that saw his grateful student, Black Key’s guitarist Dan Auerbach receive Producer of the Year award in part for helping Dr John with his dynamic album “Locked Down.”
Financially the event helps to launch many a career and last night was no exception. Perhaps the biggest winner will be Ed Sheeran. The red head whom even his musical peers refer to as “The Voice,” sang a perfect duet with Elton John. The performance of Sheeran’s “The A Team,” should sell a bunch this week. Also Justin Timberlake will certainly have people lining up at Target to buy his latest release.
The award’s biggest disappointment was in the Best Americana Album category. Colorado band The Lumineers were expected to win for their brilliant eponymous debut however, American treasure Bonnie Raitt edged them out. Nonetheless it remains a memorable year for the Denver based band as their hit “Ho Hey” continues to climb up the charts, they opened the last Snowball Music Fest in Avon last March, but perhaps their highlight was getting a chance to introduce Jack White after their own performance last night.
Mumford and Sons, though favorites at the beginning of the evening for Album of The Year, appeared as an upset by the end of the show due to a sweep of earlier awards by The Black Keys. A development that even Marcus Mumford made note of in his acceptance speech. There was little crying for The Black Keys as they ended up being the most decorated of the evening when considering numerous trophies for Auerbach.
Another surprise was fun. edging out Frank Ocean and Alabama Shakes for Best New Artist. The band even made reference to their twelve-year odyssey to best ‘new’ artist.
In a night of break out musical performances and oodles of tweeter feeds, The grammy’s survived the awkward hosting of LL Cool J and an abundance of commercials that rival the Super Bowl for sheer volume to be one of music’s proudest nights.