Time Life has put together another amazing and brilliant Blu-ray reminding me why I live for music with “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert.”
This collection begins with the 29th Annual Induction Ceremony in 2014 with one of my favorite musicians Peter Gabriel, who has given audiences some beautiful music through different genres. Starting with a speech by Chris Martin from Coldplay with a very funny biblical speech, it is Gabriel who reminds us that music moves us in ways that are unexplainable. He encourages musicians to be different and doesn’t forget to thank those who have allowed him to live his musical life. His performance with Chris Martin is stirring, heartfelt and personally brought a smile to my face. His finish of “In Your Eyes” gave me a moment to remember my wedding day when the song played as I readied to walk down the aisle to marry my own Lloyd Dobler. Perfection!
Simon Garfunkle shows up to tell the story of Cat Stevens and how he has affected lives, welcoming the seeker into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Stevens comes to the stage and is forthcoming about his music and his life to the point of reminding us all what his music truly brought to the world. His rendition of “Father and Sons” is just as moving today as it was the very first time I heard it. “Baby It’s a Wild World” and “Peace Train” is so emotional and the audience is completely mesmerized by this once-in-a-lifetime performance.
Glenn Fry inducts Linda Rondstadt into the Hall of Fame with Carrie Underwood, Bonnie Raitt and Emmy Lou Harris giving a performance of “Blue Bayou.” Cheryl Crow is added to the musical mix for the beloved song “You’re No Good,” with the
final addition of Stevie Nicks to add her vocals to “It’s So Easy” and “When Will I Be Loved?”
There are so many more on the first disc alone! Bruce Springsteen and his E Street gang as well as Michael Stipes inducting Nirvana to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Joan Jett comes to the stage with Dave Grohl to rock and smash on the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth to grunge “Aneurysm” and Lorde finishes with “All Apologies.” I have to say, I was thrilled to see Dave Grohl back on the drums for Nirvana.
The 30th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction happened on April 18, 2015 and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts are now taking the stage themselves to bring us “Bad Reputation,” one of my favorite songs “Crimson and Clover” as Joan is joined by Miley Cyrus, Gary Ryan, Dave Grohl and the one and only Tommy James. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band brought out Zac Brown, Tom Morello, Jason Ricci and Paul Shaffer for “Born in Chicago”
Stevie Wonder inducts Bill Withers as the two also share the stage for “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me” along with John Legend. Green Day is inducted by Fall Out Boy as fans once again get to hear such songs as “American Idiot,” “When I Come Around” and a song many of us could relate to with “Basket Case.”
Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble are inducted by John Mayer and I couldn’t wait to hear the song “Texas Flood” once again! Patti Smith inducts Lou Reed as Laurie Anderson accepts on his behalf. Beck leads the song “Satellite of Love” which is a song
that has endured.
Recieving the Award for Musical Excellence is Ringo Starr and who better to give him the award than his brother in music Sir Paul McCartney. Green Day joins Ringo Starr for “Boys” and Joe Walsh joins him for “It Don’t Come Easy.” Of course the finale wouldn’t be a finale without Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney joined by Joe Walsh for “I Wanna Be Your Man.”
The 31st Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held on April 6, 2016 brings Lars Ulrich to tell the story of how the group Deep Purple into his life and they have an impact bringing the audience “Highway Star” and “Smoke on the Water” (Ulrich causes the beginning rift of that song the first thing guitar players learn and the rift that has been banned from music stores). Ulrich isn’t lying because it is the first thing I learned on my guitar because I too wanted to be cool even if for a moment.
Bert Berns is inducted by Steven Van Zandt with the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement with a very touching acceptance speech by Cassandra and Brett Berns. Kendrick Lamar inducts N.W.A. as Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella and MC Ren take the stage with their own acceptance speeches.
Rob Thomas inducts the group Chicago as the group takes the stage for “Saturday in the Park,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?,” and “25 or 6 to 4.” These are amazing songs that had me toe tapping and Rob Thomas said it best, “these songs are the sound of a city, they are the sound of a melting pot, they are the sounds of unity and they are the sounds of Chicago” and I couldn’t agree more. These are songs of my teen years and every time I hear them I remember the sites and sounds of my life. Nothing wrong with that!
Kid Rock is the perfect person to induct Cheap Trick into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with a speech that might have some parents either cheering him on (the younger version of ourselves at least) or jaw drop but mentally doing the right on hand gesture. He says,
“You can’t not watch them. Their front man is a matinee idol that can croon with swagger and their guitarist looks like a Bowery Boy on acid. No studio could do them justice, they were so big, so loud and so fast that no one could capture their fury.” Cheap Trick rocks on the stage with “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police,” “Surrender” and the finale “Ain’t That A Shame.”
Finally, The 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony starts with the induction of ELO (Electric Light Orchestra for those hatched from an egg yesterday) as Jeff Lynne brings to the stage “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky.” They are inducted by Dhani Harrison (who looks beautifully like his father) which is an awesome way to start the ceremony!
Jackson Browne has the honor of inducting Joan Baez as she brings her recognizeable voice to “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” then joined by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers for “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) and finally “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Baez” voice still carries the glory of faith, hope and the hope for a better tomorrow.
Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson from the group Rush induct the band Yes as Geddy Lee joins in with “Roundabout” and Yes performs one of my favorite songs “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” Lifeson says that his first experience with Yes was as a teenager letting the music wash over him and that this was his gateway band at the age of 17. It is as if he is speaking for all of us who first came across the band in our teen years.
Snoop Dogg inducts Tupac Shakur into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to the cheer of the crowd. It has been 21 years since the death of Shakur and Snoop Dogg tells the brief story of his life. He says, “To be human is to be many things at once, strong and vulnerable, hard headed and intellectual, revolutionary and gangster so while we are here to celebrate a prolific artist — I am here to make sure Pak is remembered the way he wanted to be — a strong black man”.
Setting my brain on fire is Pat Monahan from Train who inducts my beloved band Journey into the Hall of Fame. I could hardly contain myself to see the band Jonathan Cain, Aynsley Dunbar, Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Steve Smith and Ross Valory on stage.
Feeling as if I was once again in a concert hall (as I did so many times when they were on tour), I had the chance to once again hear “Seperate Ways (Worlds Apart), “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin” and my heart just swelled up knowing that these guys were on my record player so many times I warped the album (yes kids, albums, round discs that when you put a needle on it played glorious sounds with the occasional popping sound that I love to this very day).
Monahan said it best, “There music has transcended all things that separate us as humans.” My Journey collection remains in my safe keeping and anytime I need to go to an deep music place, the needle hits the vinyl and I hear the one and only voice of Steve Perry.
Finally, David Letterman inducts Pearl Jam into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The music of Pearl Jam includes “Alive,” “Given to Fly” and “Better Man.” Letterman calls them cultural icons as well as friends and lists songs that bring the fans to screams. Telling their story along with the list, there doesn’t seem to be a song that doesn’t cause a reaction. Having the chance to experience Pearl Jam playing together again is just a ridiculous joy! Eddie Vedder still has the voice that stands out with its storytelling righteous anger as his band makes it all sound easy.
This not enough for you? Then awesome news because Time Life will also be releasing the “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: In Concert” Digital Album Collection. Comprised of five digital releases respectively spanning the ceremonies from 2010-11, 2012-13, 2014, 2015 and 2016-17 contain the same groundbreaking live performances from the home entertainment sets. There are also bonus performances by Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice Cooper, Donovan, Dr. John, Heart, The Hollies, Darlene Love, Leon Russell, Small Faces/Faces, The Stooges, Tom Waits and others. The digital release will be available on iTunes, Amazon and all other leading digital retailers.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s mission is to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll. The institution carries out its mission by giving voice to the stories of the people, artifacts and events that shaped rock and roll. For more information on the Museum please visit www.rockhall.com.
These four ceremonies to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame are absolutely beyond description. I’ve tried my best here but let me tell you that revisiting each of these ceremonies just reiterates David Letterman’s sentiments of “what a gift live music truly is and never take it for granted.” These are words to live by!
This is an opportunity for those who have missed the performances to see how beautiful each ceremony is captured on Blu-ray and gives us every bit of the action. From heart felt speeches to spot on performances, there is nothing but beauty, music and emotion from some of the best that music has to offer. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame never disappoints with its inductees and the performances bringing the audience to their feet and had me toe tapping and head rockin.
In the end — Long Live Rock!