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Sound & Vision {FEB 15th 2017} Grammy Awards 2017




Edition #5 – February 15, 2017

It was supposed to be the Queen B’s night – but it ended up being a celebration of bawdy lady from the British Isles, Adele.

She won the first two categories in the pre-telecast for Best  Pop Solo Performance (for “Hello”) and Best Pop Vocal Album for 25.  She would later catch three more statues, including Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Album Of The Year for her third album, 25.

The sometimes vulgar British vocalist  ( – she dropped 2 F bombs on network TV- ) also landed the coveted opening musical slot in the show. Usually a showstopper, it was a refreshingly simple rendition and performance of “Hello,” perhaps a pay back for her performance last year which was marred by technical problems.  Later in the show, when she began and stopped her tribute to George Michael because she was out of sync with the band; she cried and finished, only to be warmly embraced by the audience. It was history repeating itself. But kudos to her- Adele is real and full of passion. Her gracious tribute to Beyonce was further proof of what a class act she is.
Lady Gaga and Metallica took the stage- they blew up the world, despite a non-working microphone for singer James Hatfield. Doing a fire entrenched version of “Moth Into The Flame,” Metallica rocked while Lady Gaga proved she has become the female David Bowie
able to transcend any musical genre´ she chooses to work in.

The night was weighted with tributes to the many fallen rock stars such as Prince (featuring The Time and Bruno Mars) and George Micheal (featuring Adele), and  probably the longest “In Memoriam” segment in the show’s history.

It was an evening to pay tribute to the genius  of David Bowie who won all 5 Grammys he was nominated in, including: Best Rock Sound, Best Rock Performance, Best Alternative Album, Best Artwork, Best Engineered Non-Classical Album for Blackstar, his swan-song studio album issued just 48 hours before his death in January of 2016.

Chance The Rapper had a huge night when he won for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance; Best Rap Album,  in the pre-telecast distribution of the Grammys.
It was the first of three statues he won. He had two performance segments, including a gospel throw-down  with Kirk Franklin.
Other highlights?  The collaboration between Weeknd and Daft Punk, was perhaps the strangest of the night  visually but was a straight-ahead success musically, blending modern electronica with neo-soul. Ed Sheeran, brought state of the art technology and musical innovation to the show, when he created his own backing band using sound samples.  Gary Clark Jr and William Bell killed it with a soulful bluesy version of the Stax classic, “Born Under A Bad Sign.”

Beyonce only won for Best Music Video and Best Urban Contemporary Album. She  also laid what was the biggest egg in the show.  Her performance art piece of “Love Drought/ Sandcastles,” was an over-the-top and over-extended exercise in artistic excess, and just did not work. She also used the show to present yet another anti-Trump commentary which has become an expected aspect of all the entertainment award shows.

The militant rap contingency took over later in the show
with Anderson Peak and  A Tribe Called Quest for a strong political message. The pairing made reference to President Agent Orange and urged “all the bad people, poor people, and immigrants to go away.”

Kudos to new host James Corden, who brought some incredible humor to the show, and is the freshest
talent to do this show in decades.

The show comes at the end of Grammy Week, which is
five full days of events and celebrations.  On Wednesday February 8th., the Producers and Engineer’s Wing honored Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes for his work as producer and musician.
Thursday featured the best up and coming music high school students, in a show that also featured King and
Aloe Blac.

On Friday, the Recording Academy’s Entertainment Law initiative discussed the future of physical recorded product, and the many legislative issues involving the
underpayment of artist royalties from entities such as streaming music services. They were joined by musician Dave Matthews.

The MusiCares Person of The Year Gala, which raises millions each year for struggling individuals in the music business, honored Tom Petty. A long list of A -list celebs such as Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Gary Clark Jr, and Jeff Lynne sang  Petty hits to a capacity crowd at the LA Convention Center. The show closed with Petty and The Heartbreakers, themselves.

But the hardest ticket of the week was undoubtedly the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala, which honored Debra Lee of BET.  It was the hottest show with amazing one of a kind performances from Jennifer Hudson, Mary J Blige, Cage The Elephant, Neil Diamond, and Chance The Rapper.  The event was highlighted by a rare public appearance by folk icon Joni Mitchell, her first industry appearance since her brain aneurysm in 2015.
She was honored with a compelling version of “Both Sides Now”

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©2016 Pilato Entertainment

Bruce Pilato Picture

Bruce Pilato is a 40 year music industry veteran, who has covered entertainment for Variety, USA TODAY, Gannett News Service, US Weekly, Mix and others. He is president of Pilato Entertainment Marketing & Media LLC and also teaches music industry courses for The University Of Rochester’s American Institute of Popular Music and Nazareth College.



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