Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not-Quite-Liveblogging the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pt.I, Dept.

Another year, another set of arguments about what the "rock-and-roll" is and should it include anyone who doesn't rock out with his cock out. As your sobsister is watching the broadcast of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Fuse "aren't we as cool as MTV used to be? huh?" network a few weeks after the fact, I'll spare you the narrative and throw out some bullet points that you can use around the watercooler to impress your colleagues and further build the case for your prompt dismissal.

- The broadcast starts with the last bits of Jann Wenner's introductory speech. Something about renewing our faith, presumably in rock'n'roll. But what about Faithless and Faith No More? Isn't there room in the Big Wenner Tent for them?

- The lights dim, and we begin with a performance. It's all super-slow keyboard chords and dry ice a-plenty. Look, there's Bruce Springsteen! Look, there's Eddie Vedder! Look, there's Iggy Pop! Clearly, the director has no confidence in the s-l-o-w chords holding us. Look, there's Meryl Streep!

- Oh, the screen graphic says it's Phish performing "Watcher of the Skies" by Genesis. That must be why we're cutting back and forth between the stage and the members of Genesis. Boy, they look none too happy. Possibly because Phish's Trey Anastasio sings only as well as a dog does taxes. And they're opening the show with a Genesis cover? They must have tremendous faith in people's interest in the awards ceremony. Maybe that's what Jann was talking about: testing the audience's resolve with prog cover acts.

- Now, the little movie about Genesis. Short version: Phil Collins is super-defensive about the band under his tenure, and the band members hate that people will remember the commercial shit they did over the eight-minute tunes in 11/17 time. And, boy, it really still is Peter Gabriel v. everybody else.

- Trey Anastasio then gives his speech prefatory to induction of the band. It's very muso fanboy in the weeds and fairly solipsistic--I mean, crediting Genesis as a foundational influence in your musical formation is less impressive if your band sounds like shit--but informed, at least, and sincere. Phil Collins' daggers-out expression throughout says, "Get this blathering prat off the stage. Now."

- Five members of Genesis come up. Immediately, we're told that Peter Gabriel couldn't be there. He had a "very legitimate, genuine excuse" for not being there, apparently. Something about dust bunnies to sweep, hair to wash and condition and bloodboiling hatred for Phil Collins. *ha ha* I joke. It was awkward. Everything was awkward. You get the feeling that none of them is happy and, perhaps, has not been happy since Peter Gabriel wore that flower outfit. Phil Collins has gone from luvable '80s drum jamoke to the guy at the end of the counter, chain-smoking Luckys and dropping the butts in his cold coffee cup while he mutters about shit and the world and people and shitfuck goddammit.

- Phish then does another number. Not sure why Genesis itself isn't performing. Is Trey their Shabbes goy? "No Reply at All" is the song, and, wowee-wow-wow, Trey Anastasio's high school talent show vocals are doing nothing to enliven a cover so flaccid, it dangles. Ugh, if prog wasn't dead, this yanked the plug out of the wall. I guess Phish decided to go with mad otaku music trivia skillz over charisma and vocal ability for their frontman. It's like CPA Karaoke up there.

As a result, I'm not sure if the show opened with Genesis because they're a Big Name that would draw viewers into the broadcast or because the producers wanted to burn off two wretched covers of a band that couldn't be arsed to perform at its own induction. In either case, the very model of meh.

Next up: Iggy, Iggy, Iggy

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