Fun. and more...
Fun. “Carry On”
Neither one of the group’s two nominated songs were performed tonight. (Either one of which would have made for interesting duets with other artists.) Instead, a weaker ballad was showcased in a set that ended up with a sweaty band drenched in a simulated rain shower.
Taylor Swift “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
The much-debated decision amongst Grammy organizers to have Swift open the show made sense, considering that her over-the-top spectacle was the most extravagant performance of the night. But her simple song about teen break-up angst lost all meaning amid an Alice In Wonderland-inspired cavalcade of loopy back-up dancers, flaming umbrellas, bicycling clowns, and some guy spinning around on a giant hypno-coin. Something about the whole thing seemed downright unoriginal, including Swift’s white mad-hatter costume, which was similar to a leather get-up worn by Shania Twain over a decade ago.
Rihanna & Mikky Echo “Stay”
Now this is a comeback. After several lackluster Grammy performances that did nothing to show off her voice, Rihanna did something shocking: she sang. The focus was not on sets, screens, or outfits, but a voice hitting all the right notes.
LL Cool J, Tom Morello, Travis Barker, Chuck D and Z Trip “Refuse To Lose”/ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”
It also made perfect sense for the night’s host to perform, including a song in tribute to Adam “MCA” Yauch, but CBS stomped all over this one, interrupting the final song to list award show rules and sponsors.
Frank Ocean “Forrest Gump”
Hyped as the newcomers first Grammy performance, Ocean had the neat gimmick of a projection of running legs on his piano, creating the illusion of a man running in place. And then it went on and on. Those digital legs needed something else to do, or at least a change in scenery.
The Lumineers “Ho Hey”
If there were an award for enjoying your time on stage, The Lumineers would have won it last night. They were technically there as musical presenters, but I consider anything that makes this many people in the audience bob their heads a true performance.
Jack White “Love Interruption“/”Freedom at 21“
Who was the all-female back-up band? Why did they disappear for the second song? All in all, this was a little too underwhelming for music’s biggest night.
Mumford & Sons “I Will Wait”
A spirited reading of their single, assisted by the night’s recurring theme of a big horn section, but it lacked anything special. Bright spotlights flashed on and off in the background, but we could have gotten that at any other venue.
Dierks Bentley & Miranda Lambert “Over You”/ “Home”
Through no fault of their own, there were some sound problems between the singers and the instruments. Things just weren’t synching up right, and the artificial tree in the background just made things more confusing.