We were all gathered in the kitchen waiting for the band to go on; Bette Midler had just gone past like a dose of salts! She was very small, shorter than me!
Alice’s stage manager took over from me, guiding Steve into the ballroom and up the stairs to the stage along with Neal; I went and found a spot to watch from. There was one song I was particularly concerned about; the man had an intro that involved a seven fret jump.
The atmosphere was amazing, this was a very overdue accolade in many people’s minds and tonight was their night to shine, which they did. Rob Zombie joined them and gave a very funny introduction what a cool guy he is and he has a wife too stunning for words.
At this point, time stood still or did it just whizz by? Whichever it was, before I knew it, the band were heading for the podium and Steve was on his way back off the stage. He had done the troublesome intro with no problem and that is all I can remember of the three songs.
We got back upstairs to our table by which time Alice had a yellow snake around his neck which seemed to be trying to slither on to Neal, it may have decided to take a short tour of entire Alice Cooper Group.
The speeches done by the band, we could sit back and watch…… more speeches.
Ok, it is a well known fact by any of my friends that I am hopeless at remembering the order of things so for anybody reading this that was at the show I apologize, my brain will be spitting out things in the order that they get remembered.
Elton John was part of my youth, I loved all his earlier albums but never took to him as a personality but I now offer up great respect. He was so eloquent and I was riveted by his introduction of the video of Leon Russell, ahead of giving him his award. He described how Leon had been forgotten despite writing so many wonderful songs, that he had decided to record an album with him and set forth on a mission to see him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He called for Leon to come on stage and a portly man appeared long white hair and dark glasses. I had goose bumps as he made his way up the few steps to the podium; he had a cane and was frail.
When he got to the top he paused, took a breath then said just a couple of sentences, but I was already in tears before he finished. He said something along the lines of “I was on the side of the road and Elton John picked me up” it was unbearably touching, and then he was gone.
I remember Darlene Love; she was shining so brightly you could see a glow around her and when she sang it was perfect, soulful and full of joy.
At some stage early on I couldn’t believe my eyes when Judy Collins got up to sing ‘Both Sides Now’ I was awestruck! Judy Collins!!!! She was small, with lots of long grey hair and her voice filled the room, crystal clear and pure like an angel.
Tom Waits was introduced by Neil Young who is one of my all time hero’s. Tom Waites could have been a successful standup comic if it were not for his amazing songwriting talent. I was crying again by the end of his speech but it was from laughing this time.
There were performances by combinations of musicians that would rarely be seen, John Mayer, Elton, Tom Waites and Leon Russell, Neil Young, Dr John and even Bruce Springsteen; it was so musical and so honest. None of that overdone rubbish like on the Grammy’s this was real music!
Tom Waites did a set on his own, with a small group around him, barely feet apart from each other on the big stage. It was incredible; he made the ballroom so small and intimate with his performance, we could have all been at the local pub.
Paul Simon introduced Neil Diamond; he was dry and funny and obviously has great affection for Neil. When Neil came striding up the steps to the podium he had a little camera in his hand and immediately started taking snaps of the audience which was so funny and somehow made everybody relax. Steve had told me what a great performer he was and I was not disappointed, he was amazing and had most of the room up and swaying their arms. People like Catharine Zeta Jones and all those rich luminaries were all having a ball and I was right there, stood up swaying and singing at the top of my voice, “Sweet Caroline” la la la, next to the over excitable lady from the UK who I swear nearly fell off the balcony!
One more blog to go; we get a call from Bette!