Mister D: Turns out Bette did not perform at all like I was told. Â Maybe they misunderstood what I asked. Â So I apologize for getting everybody’s hopes up, although I have the email saying she’d perform. Â But they picked a singer-songwriter, piano player who kind of emanates the essence of Nyro, SaraÂ Bareilles, who played “Stoney End.” Â At the time of this writing the festivities were still going on so I don’t know if Bette joined in the jam this time…..
The Plain Dealer
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions bring the star power to Cleveland
Sunday, April 15, 2012
No-shows? No problem!
Yes, a couple of A-list honorees were conspicuous by their absence. But there was more than enough auxiliary superstar power at the 27th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony to light up the self-proclaimed rock ‘n’ roll capital of the world.
Guns N’ Roses, the Small Faces and the Faces, the Beastie Boys, Donovan, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the late Laura Nyro were among the greats welcomed into the pantheon Saturday night at Public Auditorium.
Two bands were left without the services of their lead singers, dashing hopes for a couple of historic reunions. In a long-winded open letter, Axl Rose of GN’R announced Wednesday that he would not attend, to avoid “a complicated or awkward situation” with his ex-bandmates. Rod Stewart of the Faces let it be known Friday that he was stuck at home in Los Angeles with the flu.
But the show must go on, and on it went in high-octane style. Shortly after 8 p.m., Green Day got the party started with a blast of pop-punk to the tune of “Letter Bomb.”
“Cleveland!” singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong shouted.
“Stand up, you (expletive)! Everybody get off your (expletive) ass. . . . This is (expletive) rock ‘n’ roll.”
Some 7,000 fans packed Public Auditorium for the sold-out event. The mood in the hall was electric.
“The first time I saw Guns N’ Roses on MTV, I thought, ‘One of these guys could end up dead or in jail,'” Armstrong said during his introductory remarks for GN’R.
He praised the “perfect” drumming of Steven Adler, a Cleveland native, on “Appetite for Destruction,” GN’R’s debut album.
Adler quoted Queen’s “We Are the Champions”: “You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it, and I thank you all.”
Also basking in the moment were Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum.
McKagan made a passing reference to Rose’s absence.
“I don’t know if it matters who’s here tonight, because it’s about the music that band created,” he said.
With Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge capably handling lead vocals, the GN’R inductees celebrated with hard-rocking renditions of “Mr. Brownstone,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Paradise City.” They also were joined onstage by another former Clevelander, Gilby Clarke, who played guitar with GN’R in the 1990s but was not inducted.
Enshrined alongside the Faces — Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Ian “Mac” McLagan, Kenney Jones and the late Ronnie Lane — was the band that gave birth to them: the Small Faces. The latter group included McLagan, Jones, Lane and the late Steve Marriott.
Marriott died in a house fire in 1991. Lane died in 1997, after a long battle with multiple sclerosis.
“God bless ’em!” McLagan said at the podium.
Stewart and Wood are now two-time Hall of Famers. Stewart was inducted as a solo artist in 1994. He stayed home then, too, to be with his family after an earthquake. Wood got in with the Rolling Stones in 1989.
Stewart’s absence negated a plan for the surviving Faces to play together for the first time in nearly two decades.
But Wood, McLagan and Jones rose to the occasion, with Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall filling in commendably at the last minute on lead vocals. Their crowd-pleasing set climaxed with a rollicking “Stay with Me,” which had fans on their feet and singing along.
Marriott and Stewart are “two of the greatest white soul singers in the history of rock ‘n’ roll,” declared Steven Van Zandt, who introduced the Small Faces and the Faces.
The Beastie Boys — Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Adam “MCA” Yauch — became the third hip-hop act inducted into the Rock Hall, behind Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run-D.M.C.
Yauch did not attend. He was diagnosed three years ago with cancer in a salivary gland and lymph node.
Chuck D of Public Enemy and LL Cool J introduced the Beastie Boys.
“Artistically, they are our role models,” Chuck D said. “They made up their own rules.”
Diamond and Horovitz were joined onstage by their DJ, Mix Master Mike.
“This is (expletive) weird, everybody,” Horovitz said.
“New York City taught me everything. New York City is everything.”
He read a letter from Yauch, who thanked the Beastie Boys’ fans.
“This induction is as much yours as it ours,” Yauch wrote.
Kid Rock, the Roots and Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes saluted the Beastie Boys with a dynamic medley of their hits, including “Sabotage.”
John Mellencamp recalled buying his first Donovan record in 1965 — and held up the LP.
“He was my inspiration,” Mellencamp said. “Or as I say it: A guy I stole a bunch of (expletive) from.”
Instead of an acceptance speech, troubadour Donovan recited an acceptance poem. It included the lines: “Always your poet, a shaman am I / To lead us all to the land within.”
Donovan serenaded us with “Catch the Wind” and “Sunshine Superman” before he was joined by Mellencamp for a suitably psychedelic “Season of the Witch.”
Bette Midler choked up as she sang the praises of piano-playing songbird Nyro, who died 15 years ago this month of complications from ovarian cancer.
“In a world of imitators . . . she was a complete original,” Midler said. “She was an ornament on the Earth.”
Nyro’s son, Gil Bianchini, accepted on her behalf.
“I know it would mean a lot to her,” Bianchini said. “The powerful music she created inspires me and all her fans.”
Sara Bareilles paid tribute to Nyro with a soaring “Stoney End.”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers had not been inducted as of 12:20 p.m. Current band members Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith and Josh Klinghoffer were set to be ushered in alongside former members Jack Irons, Cliff Martinez, John Frusciante and the late Hillel Slovak, who died in 1988.
Waiting in the wings to present the Chili Peppers was Chris Rock.
The Rock Hall’s Class of 2012 also included members of bands that were overlooked when their frontmen were inducted years ago. Finally getting their due were the Blue Caps (who backed Gene Vincent), the Comets (Bill Haley), the Crickets (Buddy Holly), the Famous Flames (James Brown), the Midnighters (Hank Ballard) and the Miracles (Smokey Robinson).
In a sweeping gesture of retroactive magnanimousness, those six groups were inducted by Robinson.
ZZ Top members Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill inducted Freddie King as an early influence. The consummate bluesman died in 1976.
“He had a powerful, unique style of singing and playing,” Gibbons said.
“Long live Freddie King and long live the blues!” Hill said.
Daughter Wanda King recounted the time that a 14-year-old Stevie Ray Vaughan asked her father for musical pointers.
“You’ve got to feel the blues,” King told him. “You can’t get to rock ‘n’ roll unless you can play the blues.”
Gibbons and Hill teamed up with Joe Bonamassa and Derek Trucks to trade primal licks on the King tunes “Hide Away” and “Goin’ Down.”
Also enshrined were four music-industry veterans.
Carole King posthumously bestowed the Ahmet Ertegun Award on Don Kirshner, a songwriter, music publisher and host of the TV series “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.” He died in 2011.
King hailed Kirshner as “one of the most significant influences on popular music in the 20th century.”
Darlene Love delivered a heart-melting “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” in Kirshner’s honor.
Robbie Robertson was schedule to presnet the Award for Musical Excellence went to recording-studio wizards Cosimo Matassa, Glyn Johns and the late Tom Dowd.
The Etta James classic “At Last” was belted out by Ledisi during a video tribute to music-industry legends who died recently, including Amy Winehouse, Clarence Clemons, Whitney Houston and a pair of local legends, record-company executive Steve Popovich and The Plain Dealer’s Jane Scott.
Before the ceremony, VIP guests enjoyed a buffet-style dinner. Executive Caterers handled the menu, which included Napa cabbage salad in small takeout boxes, herb-crusted beef tenderloin, mustard-glazed salmon and grilled vegetables. George Clinton held court at a table with members of Parliament-Funkadelic, Alice Cooper posed for snapshots and LL Cool J worked the room.
As of 2009, the inductions have been shared between New York City and Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The ceremony is held here every three years.
HBO will air a 2 1/2-hour edited version of the 2012 inductions at 9 p.m. Saturday, May 5.