Shocking: a decent awards show performance

1 Dec

Color me a curmudgeon if you must, but remember back in the good old days when you could count on awards shows to deliver top-notch music performances? Back in my day, the VMAs* and others of its ilk would consistently bring the pain with can’t-miss live numbers.

(*) ’91 VMAs: LL Cool J, Guns N’ Roses, Prince. ’92: Nirvana, Elton John, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson. ’93: Soul Asylum, REM, Neil Young/Pearl Jam. ’94: Smashing Pumpkins, Stones, Green Day, Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, Springsteen. Just to name a few.

Doesn’t happen anymore. Today we’re fed a steady diet of over-produced, needlessly extravagant lip-synched songs complete with fireworks and lame-ass preening to a carefully selected audience of diverse youngsters paid to jump around like lunatics, shot with about 60 handhelds that cut to a different angle every half-second or so.

And those are the good ones. The rest are medleys.

Yes, it ain’t easy to find a good music performance on TV these days. Sure, Austin City Limits delivers the goods every once in a great while. Elsewhere, you might find something of value on late night talk shows, but I don’t know because I, like everyone else my age, never watch late night talk shows. (If I want to watch celebrities joylessly answer rehearsed interview questions, I’ll flip to E.)

Luckily, I happened upon on a rare great performance the other day during a repeat showing of the 2009 MTV Europe Video Music Awards: Jay-Z performing “Empire State of Mind” with vocals provided by backup singer Bridget Kelly (who can wail; bet on her being a star soon). Great song, legit vocals, minimal production. I’ve embedded the video below so you too can enjoy.

http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:uma:video:mtv.com:452004

It’s probably best to appreciate this performance for the rarity it is rather than hope it sparks a rejuvenation of great live performances. Sadly, those days are gone.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: