It's a good thing Fuse TV will be airing an edited version of the induction ceremonies in future broadcasts, because the four-hour premiere last night was one of the most boring in recent years, with a few exceptions.
Musicians have to wait so long to be inducted that there are always the inevitable postumous inductees, but with so many alive that didn't attend/perform by choice or circumstances beyond their control, it made for a lot of awkward moments.
While it's understandable that Phil Collins is having some sort of back/arthritis issues and can't drum, I don't see why those Genesis members in attendance (Rutherford, Banks, Hackett and longtime sidemen Thompson and Steurmer) couldn't have played with Phil singing.
He could have sat in a chair! I don't think Peter Gabriel cared about it enough to make an effort to be there (Yeah, I know he's rehearsing for a tour, blah blah blah). Phish's two Genesis performances (including the obscure "Watcher of the Skies")left me cold - and that's not because of the music or the fact I don't really like Phish. Singer Trey Anastacio did an admirable job with his fanboy induction speech.
Billie Joe Armstrong's induction speech for the Stooges sure was rambling, but at least he wasn't stiffly reading from a teleprompter like others (more on that later). When he listed about 30 acts influenced by the Stooges over the years, I didn't think he'd ever stop! Iggy Pop's giving everyone the finger, repeating how things were cool, showing everyone his flashcards and choking up a bit at the end of his acceptance was in fact, cool. The censors sure got a workout. The Stooges' performance was appropriately shambolic with a shirtless Iggy going into the crowd and inviting people onstage.
I dig Little Steven Van Zandt, but his long music business induction speech took too long to relate to the Hollies. I find Paul Shaffer and the "Late Show" band to be overrated and hacks, so having them as house band made several songs sound awful. Not that much would've helped the Hollies.
Little Steven and Pat Monahan from Train added some heft to their "Long Cool Woman." There was obviously bad blood with Terry Sylvester. Graham Nash's late '60s replacement in the band had to crash the stage and snatch the microphone (with heavy award under his arm) to briefly sing on it. Reminded me of the sour vibe from Blondie's induction a few years back. Can't these people let bygones be bygones?
Nash said the Hollies had the audacity to chart several No. 1 singles after he left - not quite. They had three top 10s in four years though. Not too shabby.
The Bee Gees' Barry & Robin Gibb were just atrocious reading ABBA's telepropter-assisted induction speech. ABBA's Benny gave a heartfelt acceptance detailing how he was influenced by American music in his native Sweden. Frida's halting English thank yous beforehand were hard to understand. It's ashame she couldn't sing. I would've liked to seen her get up on stage and do "I Know There's Something Going On," with her old producer friend, Phil Collins. It was good to see Benny at least playing piano on Faith Hill's wretched take on "Winner Takes it All." ABBA's Agnetha apparently doesn't fly and didn't make it. Bjorn should've been there. He made the trip several times over the years for "Mamma Mia" musical and theatrical premieres.
In order to get other work done, I had to skip watching Jimmy Cliff. Sorry.
The performance tribute to songwriter inductees proved uneven: Rob Thomas' poignant, mostly acoustic "Save the Last Dance for Me" was a highlight, as was Chris Isaak's "Don't Be Cruel." Ronnie Spector came off very wobbly; Eric Burdon, just ok. Same goes for Peter Wolf and Fefe Dobson. The "Shake Rattle & Roll" finale was less than memorable.