I was perusing my cable listings the other day and saw a replay of the ceremony, which happened on April 14th, 2012. It was a strong showing of inductees: The Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns n' Roses, The Faces, Freddie King and Donovan were among the inductees. Watching it after the passing of Adam Yauch added a somber tone to the affair, especially when we got to see Steven Adler and Duff McKagan (two guys who have no business being alive) speak and perform. I'm sure HBO will re-air the event, and I encourage you to watch it for some pretty cool moments.
There were highlights, lowlights and yawn moments throughout the show, which made it a fantastic DVR event. The format works like this: a famous musician introduces the artist (taking far too much time doing so), the artist gives his acceptance speech (taking far too much time doing so), and then the artist or somebody else plays a mini-set of their classic tunes.
Highlight #1: Freddie King induction. ZZ Top introduced him posthumously and then they played I'm Going Down, along with Joe Bonamassa (who I should probably know more about) and Derek Trucks (who I thankfully know a lot about). The crispest musical performance of the night.
Highlight #2: The Beastie Boys induction. Since this happened a couple weeks before Yauch passed, it was likely that the other band members were aware of just how sick he was. They kept it pretty even-keeled, not being too somber or too giddy, and read a written statement from Yauch. The live performance featured Kid Rock, Black Thought and Travie (Don't worry. I didn't know those last two either). There isn't anything good on YouTube to show this, but it was pretty cool (poor quality clip is below). What was especially great about this performance is that the entire crowd seemed to be into it. And LL Cool J (one of the two inductors, along with Chuck D) gave one of the more heartfelt speeches of the night, thanking the Beastie Boys for playing his demo to Rick Rubin, which gave him his big break.
Highlight #3: Remembering how much RHCP drummer Chad Smith looks like Will Ferrell.
Highlight #4: Seeing Jani Lane from Warrant make the list of deceased rock legends. Sorry if that's inappropriate, but it made me spit up my scotch, partially because he looks like a long-lost Baldwin brother.
Highlight #5: Watching a sloppy version of Paradise City performed by three former band members, an unknown rhythm guy, a lead vocalist I didn't know and Matt Sorum with a tambourine and being reminded that Appetite for Destruction will probably be the greatest rock album ever released in my lifetime. I wanted to echo the "No Roger, No Rerun, no rent" rant from What's Happening at the start, thinking "No Axl, No Izzy, no GnR", but was sucked back into that song that I've hear a thousand times already.
Lowlight #1: Green Day's introductory performance to kick off the show. They played a tune that was not nearly catchy or rocking enough for an introduction to a show like this. Despite some forced histrionics by the band and a guitar heaved up in the air at the end of the song, it fell flat.
Lowlight #2: GnR's introductory speech. While Axl's absence was to be expected, I was bummed that Izzy Stradlin was also AWOL. Nobody in the band acknowledged either member. And they let Matt Sorum speak after Steven Adler. Pretty awkward to have both the drummer that replaced the drummer who got booted for heroin and the drummer who got booted for heroin have a turn. And let's be honest - nobody wants his war stories from the road when they toured after the Use Your Illusion albums.
Lowlight #3: Anthony Kieidis taking his shirt off for the RHCP set. I'm the first to admit that I'm not in as good shape as him now, and won't be in as good shape when I'm 50, but it just looked weird and gross, like he was some sort of 1940's strongman.
Lowlight #4: Ronnie Wood's face in HD. Enough said on that.