Last night I wasted three and a half hours watching the Grammys, the annual awards show for the music industry. I always thought the program was supposed to be about music. In fact last night’s host, LL Cool Jay, said in his introductory speech that it was definitely going to be about the music this year.
Instead it was about a gigantic stage, strobe lights, rings of fire and other pyrotechnics, performers descending on ropes, backlit photographs, and smoke machines. The only performers who didn’t have special effects were the country artists. And while they performed “acappela” if you will, their lighting was truly non-country.
There were some interesting numbers. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr shared the stage in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America. Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Blake Shelton, and an extremely tired looking Merle Haggard riffed “Mommas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.” It wouldn’t have persuaded me.
Then there were the winners: Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I am not familiar with any of these people, and judging from last night’s performances I won’t be surfing iTunes to download their acquaintances.
Perhaps it’s an age thing (My age is the thing!), but the entire program seemed more like performance art than music.