Elmore was on hand—or perhaps at arm’s length—for the annual Rock Hall induction extravaganza. We watch it on live TV.
The press room sits like a bullpen in the bowels of Barclays, and a couple hundred of press peeps perched on folding chairs, watching monitors of the event, and waiting for stars to be escorted on and off the Q&A/photo stage. Photographers toting $60,000 worth of gear yelled, “Look left! Look right! Cellphone down in front!” and did their damnedest to make an interesting shot from black-or-gray suited guys standing against a white background. Those of us toting $5 worth of notebooks were instructed to keep our questions about the actual inductions, and we might get an answer. Or maybe not.
Michael Stipe, who inducted Nirvana, came out very chic in a tuxedo and carefully unfastened bow tie (Fashion statement: “I know what’s appropriate, but I don’t need to do it.”). When asked about inducting Nirvana, Stipe demurred twice, explaining, “I’m going to address that in my speech and don’t want to blow my wad back here.” Unfortunately, when Stipe finally delivered his speech, inductees Darryl Hall and John Oates were answering their own questions, and Stipe’s audio was cut. We’ll wait for the HBO broadcast to find out what a Nirvana fan he was.
The performances, happily, proved worthwhile, even if we only watched them on TV. Hall & Oates sang Philadelphia soul as if they’d invented it. Cat Stevens treated us to songs he hasn’t sung in decades, but we remember them as if it were yesterday, and Nirvana had women—among them Joan Jett and Lorde—sing Kurt Cobain’s lyrics, as if no man could take his place.
So the BS of reporting to people about music we haven’t really heard and seen “live” aside, that’s what the Rock Hall is all about, right? The music. And we heard it was good.
– Suzanne Cadgene