Will You Still Love Me?
If I tell you I cried throughout R.E.M.’s induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame?
When I heard Eddie Vedder had the honor of inducting R.E.M., I thought “meh.” Why Eddie? But who would be better? Kurt Cobain’s dead. Anyway …
Eddie Vedder’s speech was amazing. He said the things I feel. He was funny … he teased at the right spots … and he said a lot of beautiful, heartfelt things. I’m going to look for a transcript (or a YouTube clip) and post it later this week.
R.E.M.’s performance was very good. As expected, they opened with “Begin the Begin,” probably their best rock song. Very good, and it was great again to see Bill Berry back on the drums. Very similar to the Georgia induction performance, but you just can’t get enough of “Begin the Begin.”
Then one for us old fans: “Gardening at Night.” I threw back the rug and danced like it was 1983 again, spinning and spinning to every “couldn’t be arranged” (I always loved how Michael stretches “arranged” into three beats; perfect for spins). The last ten days have been horrible in my world — personally, professionally, romantically — so that dance was a much-needed lift.
I was hoping for the set to close with “Radio Free Europe,” but they needed a Warner Brothers-era tune and ended with “Man on the Moon” (don’t get me wrong; I love the song, but was hoping for something new). They did a good job, but it was exactly like every live version I’ve heard for the last several years. I do enjoy it when Michael yells and stretched out the “coo-wall!”
Don’t get me wrong; I loved seeing the boys perform tonight. It just seems that every show I’ve seen since at least 1999 has opened with “Begin the Begin” and closed with “Man on the Moon” (if not “It’s the End …”). I just wanted another surprise, I guess. But they were great. And Michael's suit was sublime.
And then. Oh, and then. The reason I stayed up, that amazing aural surprise: R.E.M. and Patti Smith together on “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Patti and Michael were sexy as hell as they shared the mic and snarled the chorus. And how orgasmic was it to see Peter Buck and Lenny Kaye (who’s still so damn cute) and Mike Mills and Scott McCaughey playing together? Brilliant. These are the moments I live for.
That crap about Clapton being God? So not true; I think that’s fellow inductee’s Patti Smith’s job. She f*cking kicked ass during her set, ripping through “Gimme Shelter” — with Keith Richards in the house. Is there any other woman who could pull off that cover? Maybe Chrissie Hynde; probably just Patti. F*cking amazing.
The show closer? “People Have the Power.” (In that something-new-learned category, I found out that Fred “Sonic” Smith wrote the tune; I always assumed Patti did.) Patti, Michael, Eddie Vedder, Ronnie Spector, and Sammy Hagar (yawn) sharing the vocals — Peter and Lenny and Scott and Mike, with Keith Richards, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the rest of the Ronettes … well, it was remarkable.
Biggest disappointment of the night? To discover that Keith Richards is about Michael Stipe's height. I always thought he was taller. What can I say? I'm a sucker for tall. (Note to Keith: Get rid of the 'stache.)
Most fun moment? When Peter Buck tossed the amp at the end of "I Wanna Be Your Dog." And I think he had a damn good time doing it. Peter's cool. But you knew that.
If you didn’t catch the live broadcast of the induction ceremony, VH1 Classics is running it again Friday night, and VH1 will show it Saturday night.
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