Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Concert


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Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Concert
At Madison Square Garden in New York City

(49 songs!  filmed Oct 29 & 30th, 2009;  first broadcast Nov 29, 2009, on HBO)

One of the greatest line-ups of rock n roll giants ever assembled.  And everyone performed for free.  It was first staged as two concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 29th and 30th 2009, then the 4-hour best-of HBO special premiered Nov. 29th, 2009.  


Springsteen and U2 were the first two "anchor" acts to agree, and the show was built out from there. 


Tom Hanks opens the show — "Hail Hail Rock n roll."  

(Hanks wrote, directed, produced and stars in the wonderful music film "That Thing You Do," about the early days of rock n roll — and also became a co-producer and financial backer of the concert)  


Jerry Lee Lewis solo — “Great Balls of Fire


Crosby Stills & Nash

Woodstock” — the first song of the concerts, after Jerry Lee — Stills spot-on on the guitar

10 min in:  * “Almost Cut My Haira heroic performance by Crosby —  great voice, passion & performance — and Stills' angry accompaniment, and Nash's soothing harmonies, and the whole unity, 40 years of playing great music together, redefining "trio," and "age." 

And then their whole band, and that organist, ... 


Bonnie Raitt with Crosby-Nash on harmonies — she strolls out so smooth and cool
Love Has No Pride”  —  a terrible choice for inclusion in the broadcast, since right after this they did a scorching "Midnight Rider


Jackson Browne with Stills on guitar, Crosby-Nash on harmonies
Jackson — horrible botox or plastic surgery of some sort — looks like a Chinaman — pretty odd that he consequently sings:
The Pretender” ?!


James Taylor — with CSN
Love The One You’re With


SECTION TWO — Stevie Wonder — Motown, R&B 


Stevie Wonder and sickest band of the two nights

The broadcast includes his main guest-star duets, but he opened with "Blowin' In The Wind", and also did: "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", "Signed Sealed Delivered", "Boogie on Reggae Woman", and "Living for For City" in New York!  I bet those were all killer.  

For Once In My Life” — Stevie on harmonica


Smokey Robinson with Stevie Wonder and his band
Tracks of My Tears” — triumphant!  super slow tempo, very precise, voice in fine shape


Stevie Wonder and his band, with John Legend on piano
Tribute to Michael Jackson — 
The Way You Make Me Feel” — which, to be honest, is is lesser song than he deserves to be remembered by; 

but THEN 
during the second verse Stevie gets overwhelmed — assumedly thinking about Michael — choked up, can't sing, 

as you can see in this audience clip, a whole section was removed from the song for the broadcast, when Stevie got up and was chanting, "Long live Michael Jackson, Long live John Lennon, Long live Jimi Hendrix, Long live Bob Marley ..." I can't imagine why that is something they'd want to cut.  


“The King of blues” — B.B. King joins Stevie Wonder and his band
The Thrill is Gone” — how do you touch this?!  This is THE Man.  
First instrumental star of the night. 

The tone — the one and only.  An elder giant we are all lucky we can still hear.  crystal clear notes, pure & distinctive B.B. Tones


Sting on bass & vocals joins Stevie Wonder and his incredible funk band
“Higher Ground”
→ “Roxanne” — Sting in fine voice
→ “Higher Ground


Jeff Beck joins Steveie Wonder and his band
* “
Superstition” — originally written by Stevie for Jeff Back
This was the climactic show-closer for Stevie's set.  

With that great horn line! this could go on for 20 minutes and I wouldn't mind it one bit.  
Jeff Beck does some serious singing on his guitar.


SECTION THREE — Paul Simon and NYC music

Opens with a short documentary on the history of music in New York City, including nice shots of Jack Kerouac, Lenny Bruce, and Burroughs & Ginsberg.   

Cameron Crowe oversaw all of the background docs featured in the concert.  


Paul Simon and big band — horns
You Can Call Me Al
” — Paul on vocals solo (no instrument) — very hot, funny & dramatic, very good.


It's great what they've included here, but like in Stevie's set, Paul also played "Late In The Evening", "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard," and "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" . . . and just like the missing songs from Stevie's set, I bet these were just smokin' live — and showing once again how much better the concerts were than this already-great movie.  If they release a "complete" DVD with every song, it is definitely gonna be worth getting.  


Crosby & Nash join Paul Simon (no band, just trio)
Crosby, Simon & Nash

*  “Here Comes The Sun” — by and for George Harrison
gentle, very pared down — just a guitar and three voices.
accordion in background, 2nd acoustic guitar backing him up
BEAUTIFUL harmonies.  

Graham Nash is right into it, and at the end he goes, “That was for George!” 


Dion swaggers out and joins Paul Simon and his huge band
The Wanderer” — big sax solo — Paul Simon on the doo-wop harmonies

Little Anthony and The Imperials — Vocal group, 4 voices, a cappella
“Two People In The World”


* Simon & Garfunkle — 3 songs


* “Sounds of Silence
Paul picks it out beautifully on the guitar to open
The voices sound great!

the song about speaking up!  

"People writing songs that voices never share

and no one dare disturb

the sounds of silence."  

"silence like a cancer grows"

"and the people bowed and prayed 

to the neon God they made" 


* “The Boxer” !!!
goosebumps, tears, the New York crowd singing the “lie-la-lie ...”
the Seventh Avenue line sung on 7th Ave. at MSG . . . 
Amazing guitar solo — he sound like a soprano singing opera.
And it all climaxes with that classic last verse ... 


"In the clearing stands a boxer

and a fighter by his trade

and he carries the reminders

of ev'ry glove that laid him down 

or cut him till he cried out

in his anger and his shame

'I am leaving, I am leaving'

but the fighter still remains."


Bridge Over Troubled Water
sadly not a silky as the original — and they screw up most of  the harmony parts 


Performed that night but not in the broadcast:  Mrs. Robinson --> Not Fade Away!  seriously.  And a rockin' dancin' "Celcilia" to close it out.  


When the first night was over, Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello said their set was the highlight.  "Breathtaking.  The haunting beauty of what they did was jaw-dropping.  When they came out with 'Sounds of Silence,' the room just stopped dead."  


SECTION FOUR  —  Aretha / Soul Section

Video montage — Aretha, Sam Cooke * “A Change Is Gonna Come”  *  — the only way Sam could be here. 


* Aretha !!!


* "Baby I Love You"
She is so ON — torqued the show right up
Total highlight — she’s takin’ it.  

She is still the reigning Queen!


For Ahmet Ertigun
Don’t Play That Song

* Annie Lennox joins Aretha & her band
Chain of Fools
No “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” ??? (their original duet hit single) how weird 
Annie L in a t-short that says “HIV Positive”
Annie and Aretha scat on “chain”

SECTION FIVE — Metallic — Heavy Metal 


For Whom The Bell Tolls

They were so out of context with the rest of the performers James Hetfield says at the beginning, “This is what we do.” And at the end, “Thanks for putting up with us.” ☺


Lou Reed joins Metallica
The NYers fill MSG with, Louuuuuuuuu”
Sweet Jane
following Aretha, Simon & Garfunkle, and CSN, it just accents his horrible half-an-octave voice.


Ozzy joins Metallica
Iron Man
Bonnie Raitt seen cheering in the audience.


Ray Davies joins Metallica
Hetfield says, “We got schooled by this guy.”
All Day and All of The Night
nice hugs by Lars Ulrich the drummer


Enter Sandman

Lars Ulrich says, “Thank you Jann for inviting us to this awesome fuckin’ party.”



Vertigo” with a little Stones’ “It’s Only Rock n Roll” thrown in

* Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith join U2
* “Because The Night

apparently it took 3 takes that night.
Maybe that accounts for the big hugs when it ended


* Bono does his Liberation Rap — transcribe

The great cathedral that is Madison square garden
What a peach about the hall of fame
What a rap!
Best of the night
Great riff. Gotta transcribe.
About liberation


→ Bruce Springsteen and U2 doing:
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
with Roy Bittan of the E Street Band on piano
Bono chanting Springsteen’s “Promised Land
Bruce chanting “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”


Bono: “Bruce Springsteen. That’s the kind of night it is.” is in the house
Fergie is in the house.

* Mick Jagger, Black-eyed Peas join U2
* “Gimme Shelter” !

Bono on hollow-body guitar
Fergie comes front and center to take the vocal part first sung by Merry Clayton on the original classic studio version.
Her hot black leather mini-skirt and thigh-high boots makes you forget it’s not Tina Turner.
Bono afterwards: “What was THAT?!”


* Jagger and Bono goofing, very loose
Jagger forgets what song they’re doing next
The Edge plays two notes to cue him — funny moment


Jagger with U2
Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of
U2’s song from “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”


U2 — “Beautiful Day
“see the world in green and blue”
builds to great climax — “You got soul, soul soul!”
chants into “love is a banquet” from Because the Night
Bono sings, “Jann Wenner right beside you”
Bono “Thank you Jann!” as they’re saying good night.


Blues video / audio documentary from the old guys to the 60s


* Jeff Beck Band
* “
People Get Ready” 

Curtis Mayfield's classic song that Beck and Stewart had the hit with in '85 
Sting comes out for the vocals and is real good

Beck sings on his guitar
This is pretty perfect
Then Beck sings it on guitar.
This is GREAT guitar-and-vocal duet.


That little girl on bass is Tal Wilkenfeld, a 23 year old Australian, who ran away to New York at age 16. By 21 she was touring in Chick Corea’s band, recorded with Herbie Hancock, and has been Beck’s bass player pretty consistently since 2007.

Beck's intro to Buddy Guy — inspired Beck in 1962.  And “this is where Jimi Hendrix came from.”
Buddy Guy joins Jeff Beck Band
Let Me Love You Baby


Billy Gibbons joins Jeff Beck Band
* “Foxey Lady” -- the evening's tribute nod to Hendrix 

Jeff Beck Band
* * “A Day In The Life
Total Rock Peak


Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave) joins Springteen and a well-augmented E-Street Band
Hold On, I’m Comin
→ “Soul Man

Springsteen talks about the history of songwriting, and contemporary bullshit of the world today’s world.

Bruce: “Although I’ve got some great guitar players with Steve Van Zant and Nils Lofgren, I want to bring out a great guitar player and great voice to join them.”

* Tom Morello — from Rage Against The Machine joins Springsteen and the expanded E Street Band
* “The Ghost of Tom Joad
Morello lead vocals on 2nd verse
Bruce on his old Telecaster
Morello’s guitar has written on front: “Arm the homeless”
Like Woody’s “This machine kills fascists”
Morello takes a fabulous multi-sonic lead!!
Total WOW moment.


* John Fogerty joins Springsteen and the Band
* “
Fortunate Son
on your feet dancer
John in great voice
Total energy
Just too bad his songs are so short! Both a blessing and a curse.

John Stays on stage!!


Bruce does a verbal tribute to Roy Orbison.
I talked John into trying something
We’re gonna take a pallpark swing at this


Fogerty and Springsteen & Band
* “Pretty Woman
big laughs all around


Bruce and the Band:
* “Jungleland
“The Rangers had a homecoming …”
The crowd sings the climactic lines
The Big Man’s classic sax solo
Huge soulful Bruce vocal
Laying down historic performances


Darlene Love joins Bruce & the Expanded Street Band
A Fine Fine Boy


Bruce does his Rock Summit rap about New York and New Jersey merging


* ? Billy Joel joins Bruce and the E Street Band
New York meets New Jersey
Billy launches right into beauty piano, solo —
New York State of Mind” !!
didn’t expect this at all!!
It’s Billy’s sax player Mark Rivera
Bruce takes 2nd verse — sings the hell out of it
They trade off for 3rd verse
They have a hell of a lot of fun with it.


Bruce et al with Billy Joel
Born To Run
great anthem for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame

missing: Bob Dylan singing Like A Rolling Stone


All-star ending
Higher and Higher” — the great Jackie Wilson song 
with Bruce, the Expanded E Street Band, and Billy Joel, Sam Moore, Darlene Love, Tom Morello from Rage, Fogerty, Jackson Browne, Peter Wolfe


A Playtone Production —  (see also, "That Thing You Do") 

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