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Rock Hall of Fame Concert Blew My Mind; Monday Spotlight Billy Gibbons

Posted: Nov 30, 2009

I can honestly say that I have never experienced the feeling I had last night since the mid-seventies. You see, back then I lived for Friday nights. No matter how tired or sleepy I was, I wouldalways force myself to watch In Concert on ABC-TV at 11:30 pm, and then flip over to NBC at 1:00 AM for Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special. I would get to bed around 2:30 in the morning. That is, if I didn’t have some mischief to get into after that.

I just didn’t want to miss anything. Great live performances on In Concert and amazing guests on The Midnight Special were just what the doctor ordered. The rock and roll doctor that is.

When I turned the boob tube to HBO last night at 8 PM, I had no idea the show I was about to watch would last four hours. Now, I was very sleepy last night after burning the midnight oil the night before. Still, once the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert was underway, I knew I was hooked.

The concert recorded at Madison Square Garden kicked off with Jerry Lee Lewis and “Great Balls of Fire,” and Jerry stood up at the end of the song and back kicked his piano bench across the stage. Yeah baby, the Killer is still rowdy at 74.

I love the way they staged the show, with a legendary band playing and various folks coming out onstage to jam with them. Rather than rehash the whole four hours, I decided to just make a bullet list of my favorite moments in no particular order.

• Crosby, Stills and Nash with Bonnie Raitt singing, followed by CSN backing both Jackson Browne and James Taylor.

• U2 performing “Because The Night” with Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen. So cool.

• Metallica doing “Iron Man” and “Paranoid” with Ozzy Osbourne, and backing Lou Reed on a metal version of “Sweet Jane.”

• Aretha Franklin singing “Chain of Fools” with Annie Lennox.

• U2 and Bruce Springsteen doing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with parts of Bruce’s “The Promised Land” tossed in.

• The amazing reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel - “Sounds of Silence,” “The Boxer” and :Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

• Stevie Wonder with B. B. King and John Legend on “The Thrill is Gone.” Also, Stevie and Sting on “Higher Ground” and “Roxanne.” Hearing Stevie sing The Police was pretty darn cool.

• U2 kicking off “Gimme Shelter” with Will i Am and Fergie from Black Eyed Peas and the surprise appearance by Mick Jagger. What a jam. And I never knew Fegie could really sing like that!

• Jeff Beck’s awesome set including his guitar tribute to The Beatles and his and Buddy Guy’s jam. And the absolutely stellar tribute to Jimi Hendrix on “Foxy Lady” with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. Guitar players the world over were crying.

• The entire all-star set from Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band, including an amazing “Jungleland” with an out of the park sax solo from The Big Man. Bruce and John Fogerty on “Fortunate Son” and a breathtaking tribute to Roy Orbison with the two of them singing “Oh Pretty Woman.” Bruce just kept bringing folks out, none better that Sam Moore from Sam & Dave dueting with The Boss on “Hold On I’m Comin” and “Soul Man.”  Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine simply rocked the guitar on Bruce’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad.” Then he announced the “New Jersey and NEw York Summit” and brought out Billy Joel for a duet on “New York State of Mind” and the whole shootin match closed out with a righteous “Born to Run” with Billy Joel trading verses with Bruce. All the guest stars from Bruce’s set took the stage as the credits rolled.

Now mind you, these are just the high points. If you get a chance to see it in reruns or on DVD, I strongly advise you to check it out. Now, normally Monday is our Interview Spotlight, and today is no different. Since Billy Gibbons was smoking the Les Paul last night, let’s go back to a feature interview Russell Hall did with ZZ Top for our old print version in 2005.

“It’s (writing catchy guitar riffs) definitely taken a different complexion. The cosmetics of contemporary pop music have found less need to commence with truly memorable and dexterous guitar pyrotechnics. And that might be a good thing, because simply bashing out some rash chords can be quite a bit of fun. There’s less demand to jump through the hoops of the learning curve. I think the new name-of-the-game is “pick it up and go.”

Read the story and interview here.

Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.

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michaelbuffalo says...

Yeah man, odd to see a live one on TV with a good sound mix and no flubs, ya know. Thanks for the comment.

BlondRocker Rocker says...

You got the better deal! It appeared that the talent was performing for the telly peeps. First time for me, in a very long time, where the telly presentation was a million times better than being there live! Great write up! best, BR blond rocker

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