The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony went down Friday night in Brooklyn. The new class includes Pearl Jam, Journey, Yes, Tupac Shakur, ELO, Joan Baez, and Nile Rodgers.
HBO won’t air the show until April 29th . . . but here are six highlights:
1. Yes reunited with singer Jon Anderson for their first performance together in over a decade. But that was overshadowed by keyboardist Rick Wakeman’s odd acceptance speech, which was more like a stand-up routine.
It included sex jokes . . . including one about his dad telling him not to go to a strip club. He said, quote, “I remember he sat me down once, he said, ‘Son, don’t go to any of those really cheap, dirty, nasty, sleazy strip clubs because if you do, you’ll see something you shouldn’t.’ So, of course I went . . . and I saw my dad.”
He also told joked about getting a recent prostate exam. Remember, this is the Rock Hall induction.
(Here’s UNCENSORED video. Wakeman starts at the 7:00 mark.)
(And here’s Yes’s performance with Geddy Lee of Rush.)
2. Journey also reunited with singer Steve Perry, but he did NOT perform with them. He was ALL CLASS during his acceptance speech, though . . . he even complimented the band’s current singer Arnel Pineda.
He said, quote, “I must give a complete shout out to a man who sings his heart out every night, and that’s Arnel Pineda. To Arnel . . . I love you.” He even let Arnel get a picture with him.
Arnel captioned it, quote, “One of the sweetest hugs you can ever get from one of my heroes and silent mentors. It means the world to me. I waited 35 years for this moment. Thank you Almighty God!”
(In that last line, I believe he meant the actual God, not Steve Perry.) (???)
Arnel was there to sing, but he was not inducted with the band. Journey thought Arnel should’ve been inducted, because he’s been with them 10 years straight, which makes him their longest tenured singer, at least consistently.
(Here’s the UNCENSORED video. Steve is at the 15:34 mark. The part about Arnel is at 19:12.)
3. Rick Wakeman wasn’t the only comedian on-hand. David Letterman inducted Pearl Jam. He was filling in for Neil Young, who bailed because he was sick . . . or as Dave said, quote, “The poor guy just can’t stay up this late.”
He was funny, but he also got real. He said, quote, “Never take the opportunity for live music for granted and that’s the message I can bring you folks tonight.” (Here’s low-quality UNCENSORED video.)
4. Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament wore a shirt onstage with a white tie on it . . . along with the names of nearly 100 acts who are NOT in the Rock Hall.
It appeared to be a statement about how they’re being snubbed, but there are three problems with it: One, it lists Tom Waits, who IS in the Hall . . . he was inducted in 2011.
Two, there are several acts who aren’t even eligible yet . . . including Elliott Smith and Oasis. And three, there are some bands that probably DON’T need to be in the Hall, like Flipper, King Diamond, and Bjork.
He also included Pearl Jam’s original drummer Chad Channing, which may have even been the point of the whole thing . . . but he didn’t include their other snubbed drummer Dave Abbruzzese.
Eddie Vedder did give him a shout-out in his speech. Dave’s the one who raised the big stink about being left out.
5. Snoop Dogg gave an eloquent tribute to Tupac. He said, quote, “While many remember him now as some kind of thugged-out superhero, Tupac really was only good, and he represented through his music like no one before.
“It’s the fact that he never shied away from it. He wore it like a badge of honor. With an unapologetic voice, Pac embraced those contradictions that proved we ain’t just a character out of someone else’s storybook.”
He also told a funny story about when he went parasailing with Tupac while on vacation in South America . . . with Suge Knight driving the boat! He said, quote, “Does anybody know what parasailing is? Because we sure didn’t.
“Me and Pac were sitting on the edge of the boat with all this gear on when all of a sudden, the boat pulls away and we start floating away. We were scared as [crap], we were holding hands.” (Here’s UNCENSORED video.)
— USA TODAY Life (@usatodaylife) April 8, 2017
6. Electric Light Orchestra opened the show with a Chuck Berry tribute, and as usual, the night ended with an all-star JAM.
It involved members of Pearl Jam, Journey, and Yes, along with Geddy Lee of Rush, who was inducted in 2013. They covered Neil Young’s iconic “Rockin’ in the Free World”.