Good Vibrations at the Grammys

Beach BoysI watched the Grammys last night. With a couple of exceptions, as a whole the program pegged my blasé meter.

One of those red-letter moments was the on-stage reunion of the Beach Boys. The assembly of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine and David Marks together on the same stage had a magical quality to it. It was like stepping into Mister Peabody‘s WABAC Machine and showing up in simpler times when vocals stood on their own without technological enhancement.

The whole of Staples Center was on their feet bouncing to the solid vocal harmonies of Good Vibrations. Mike Love was his usual jovial self, that million dollar smile leading the way.

Even Brian Wilson, who has been struggling with health issues, managed a  big smile for the moment. There was no denying the sheer magnitude of the performance and that The Beach Boys have stood the test of time.

Beach Boys Mike Love and Maroon 5's Adam Levine

The set opened with Maroon 5 doing their take on Little Surfer Girl. Maroon’s Adam Levine was a bit too stiff and serious for the light-hearted tune, although the band nailed the surf sound of old.

Surfer Girl was followed by Foster the People doing a shaky rendition of Wouldn’t It Be Nice. The young band, with its mousy leader Mark Foster, seemed out of its comfort zone on the big stage and it showed in their tentative homage to the Beach Boys.

Even Glen Campbell, on hand to accept a lifetime achievement award and a former Beach Boys collaborator, rose to the occasion to applaud the event.

The Beach Boys are signed up to do a show in Louisiana in late April and a couple of August shows in Germany. Let’s hope this is the start of a round of performances the guys will bring to long-time fans.

Jennifer Hudson‘s understated memorial to the late Whitney Houston was an emotionally charged performance of Houston’s signature song, I Will Always Love You. With only a backing piano and the silence of the arena, Hudson fought through tears to a final statement of,  “Whitney, we will always love you”.

The best moment of the night may have belonged to Sir Paul McCartney as he closed the event with a little help from some friends. The camera landed on McCartney as he sat at the piano, dug into the Beatles songbook and pulled out Golden Slumbers. He was joined on stage by Joe Walsh, Bruce Springsteen, and the Foo Fighters to wrap up the rest of the medly, Carry That Weight, and The End.

Oh yeah… I almost forgot.

The night belonged to Adele who needed assistance to carry her six Grammy trophies. Congrats on a wonderful album and collection of music that stole the show from a strong cast of nominees.


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