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February 12, 2007
49th Grammy Awards a Disappointment
Last year, for some reason, I didn't get a chance to watch the spectacle at all. So when I realized I had the house to myself on Grammy night this year, I was excited by the prospect of another entertaining night in front of the small screen.
A short time later, I was wishing I had those few hours of my life back.
For starters, the production job that CBS did was deplorable. An peculiar-looking set, awkward transitions between award presentations, voice overs and segues that stumbled over a chorus line of left feet.
Granted, it's a huge undertaking. But this is the big time, folks. So much for the superiority of network television.
There were musical highlights that nearly saved the sinking ship. Mary J. Blige and her inspired performances (both solo and with Ludacris). The threesome of Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and John Mayer was first-rate. But most of the rest were flat and flavorless.
Even the performance by "My Grammy Moment" winner Robyn Troup and Justin Timberlake outshined most of the other star-dudded appearances.
(Note: I sadly missed the opening number with the Police reunion. That very well could be another highlight, but unless someone posts it on YouTube, I may never know.)
The encouraging thing about this awe-uninspiring telecast: It continues to prove that major labels and major media outlets do NOT have a monopoly on delivering quality experiences that make a difference.
Not Ready to Make Sense
Then there was the Dixie Chicks. When they first performed "Not Ready to Make Nice," I felt like applauding. The song is a powerful personal statement, and I was glad to see the Chicks not backing down from expressing their opinions.
It's always bugged me that they had to grovel and apologize for their off-the-cuff anti-Bush stage banter a few years ago. Time has proved them to be more accurate than inappropriate.
But my applause for the Dixie Chicks turned to disappointment every time they approached the mic to accept another award. Their rambling, nonsensical fumbling of words have to go down as some of the worst acceptance speeches in Grammy history.
I know, it's the music that matters most. And I'm doing my best to remind myself of that. But for Jehovah's sake, when given the opportunity to reach millions with a message about you and your music, you'd better be prepared to have something to say. I feel they wasted a real opportunity to communicate something meaningful.
That's my two cents. Feel free to add yours.
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Bob Baker is an author, speaker, teacher, indie musician and former music magazine editor dedicated to showing musicians of all kinds how to get exposure, connect with fans, sell more music, and increase their incomes.
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