Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nirvana and Joan Jett Rock the Hall of Fame

      Last week was the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and boy was it one for the record books.  From a performance by the E Street Band with their previously inducted leader Bruce Springsteen, to the first live performance by Cat Stevens in decades, to all four original members of KISS putting aside their differences to stand on stage and accept their award together, it was one mind blowing moment after another.  Linda Ronstadt couldn't be there to accept her award but received a wonderful tribute by some of the biggest women in rock including Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow.  Hall and Oates joked about being the only duo accepted into the Rock Hall who are still friends before cutting their speech short because of lack of time.
      Of course the most anticipated moment of the night was the induction of Nirvana.  In their first year of eligibility, the punk rock founders of grunge came together with some amazingly talented women to play songs which they haven't performed in over 20 years, since the death of their legendary singer Kurt Cobain.  The performances were beyond spectacular and would  no doubt have made the voice of Generation X proud. Things started off with a remarkable performance of their most famous single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" fronted by the ever talented Joan Jett.  Her vocals were spot on and sounded so much like Cobain's snarling raspiness you would have thought it was the real thing with your eyes closed.  Dave Grohl looked right at home behind his kit, banging his head just as hard as the drums with Krist Noveselic leaning back and ripping his bass lines with the same ferocity as his 25 year old self.
      Next up was a fantastic rendition of "Lithium" by St. Vincent's Annie Clark who captured the hoarse screams of the songs chorus perfectly.  Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon came to the stage to perform the blistering b-side "Aneurysm" even falling to the ground at one point and shrieking into the mic with the same heartfelt sincerity as Cobain himself.  The performance closed with the In Utero classic "All Apologies" performed by Lorde, the only one of the women born after Cobain's suicide.  Noveselic put down the bass for the last song in favor of his latest intstrument of choice, the accordian and capped off an already phenominal performance.
      The three surviving members, Grohl, Noveselic, and guitarist Pat Smear then performed a secret show at a small club in New York to family and friends playing a full set of classic Nirvana tunes.  The band was joined again by Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, and other 90's stalwarts like Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis whose performance of the Bleach track "School" was sensational.
      Obviously I'm leaving out many more stupendous performances and OMG moments but you'll have to watch the broadcast of the show in May to see everything. For now, you can see the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" performance below.

Nirvana with Joan Jett "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

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