I’m not usually interested in tributes that aren’t mostly original material, but I’m giving this Grammy tribute a try. I know these people are all very good singers even though I’m rarely interested in their current material.
I’m also aware that any actual review of this will be far more critical than this, pointing out every weakness as if these people are competing for a prize. That's not me. Why would I be critical of an earnest tribute? Not even if I got paid to be. I’m looking for things to like, not things to dislike. I've added some clips I found; not sure if they'll all stay live, of course.
First a run-through medley of the decades.
Adam Levine sings “I Get A Kick Out Of You” all lazy-loungy. I quite like what he’s wearing. Grey tuxedo jacket with black velvet shawl collar, nicely fitted, very early 60s except for the stripe.
I’d relisten to a recording of this, in which he’s more comfortable doing it than he was here. I understand he’s one of the “use every bit of range” types, but he held back here, and that’s a fine thing. Next is Katherine McPhee singing “You Make Me Feel So Young.” Great dress, cool back piece, very nice performance.
Harry Connick, Jr is singing “My Kind of Town,” which is a song I like much better than “Chicago.” I think he went to the Frank Sinatra hairpiece shop, but he wears it pretty well. He still looks fit, too. He can sing this song better, though. Belt it out, man.
Here is John Legend. He gets a bit of a separate intro, because of how people probably really want to hear him. White jacket, black tie, black trousers, doing “You and Me,” which sounds terrific. Katherine McPhee has joined him, and they sound good together, but I’d have just given him the song.
And now here is Seth MacFarlane to open the show. His toupee looks better than the last time I saw him, but I still don’t like how I’m drawn to his hairline. Holding a glass, sure thing, champ.
He gave Frank Sinatra’s famous toast about living to be 100. And his tailor has crafted perfect shoulders, that’s really nice. I, too, love Nelson Riddle, man.
Zac Brown is on stage wearing a hat with his tuxedo, and also pointy boots. It’s silly, but nice, too. He is singing “The Way You Look Tonight,” which is a song that always grips my chest. I don’t actually know who he is, but I’d listen to him sing the whole thing.
We are now listening to a recording of Sinatra singing “Happy Birthday to Me,” and for some reason, Jeremy Renner has shown up. He’s wear a brown velvet tux. I…think I like it? But it’s a bit odd. He is introducing Garth Brooks singing “The Lady Is A Tramp.” He is dressed like Classy Garth Brooks. He must be even less fit than the very interesting Zac Brown, because he’s wearing a tapered pant to offset his middle. It’s all right. And I mean, he’s totally nailing this song, yet…mainly in a “I am a good confident singer” way, not in a “I can completely own this song” way, even though I bet he can in more comfortable clothes. I hope reviewers weren’t too hard on him, because I’m pretty sure Frank would have appreciated the effort.
Now, Celine Dion. I’ve never liked her style. I’m sure she’s a nice person. She is singing “All the Way,” very poignant. Not quite certain about this dress. I love the open leg, but I’d have made a long center drape instead of just a fold at the top. The band sounds great.
Now some photos and bits of recording about Frank making it big. There’s Ava. These are the divine Capitol years with Nelson Riddle.
Here is LL Cool J. Why are you still wearing that cap, dear? Let go, I think. His suit has a classic cut, suitable for someone of his height and frame.
Carrie Underwood is wearing blue instead of black, singing “Come Fly With Me.” I don’t know how I feel about this. My son says it’s a song for a man to sing. I don’t know if that’s it. Maybe it is something to do with her higher register, though. Now Seth MacFarlane singing “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” which is a song he can do, like. This makes me want to put his CD on my wish list.
Now Zac Brown has a top hat. The really long ago super tall kind. He’s singing “Stars Fell on Alabama.” The other two have joined him. I guess I’m just not keen on her voice.
John Legend again, striking a cool pose. He is singing “Young At Heart,” which was Frank’s first song with Nelson Riddle. He should also do every Nat Cole song ever. I know he sang “Unforgettable.” And Sam Cook songs, too.
LL Cool J is back doing some hosting. I like his pinky ring. Harry Connick is talking about Sinatra in Vegas, using the Rat Pack term they all hated. Frank is speaking while we’re looking at clips from the Sands. Now Harry sings “Luck Be A Lady.” Hey, that would have been an interesting one for Brooks. Come on, man, give it some gas! They gave you a Vegas backdrop, this is no time to be subtle. His shoulder padding isn't as good as MacFarlane’s but the fit of his pants is worthy of note.
Here is Quincy Jones! You know I love his arrangements. He is telling LL that Sinatra made things happen for him. Which is true, and very cool, because he arranged two of my favorite Sinatra songs such that I do not even like them any other way. They introduce Alicia Keys, who is at the piano. She’s singing “I’ve Got A Crush On You,” owning it. Of course. I can’t see all of her outfit, but I think I like it. I like the vertical keyhole opening in the top. Here is a very nice trumpet solo.
Trisha Yearwood is on, introducing Tony Bennett. Her dress has a sequined flower top, which suits her better than all black. Tony is wearing a shiny tux jacket. Isn’t he a marvel? Just outlasted everybody, heart didn’t burst when he was 50 or anything. He’s doing “I’ve Got The World On A String,” and of course, it’s still good, but I can’t help kind of wishing Bublé was doing it. But he has his own arrangement, of course. Which you should hear.
Garth Brooks is back talking about how songwriters liked writing for him, such as with Bono and the Edge’s song, because Bono basically worshipped Sinatra, which is called “Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad.” I always wanted to hear it. I don’t remember there being a reason given that he turned down recording it, but it seems apt for an older singer. Maybe he didn’t like the extreme meta quality to it, but he’d have done it well. I like how Bono is singing with a sequined jacket in front of a small chamber group on folding chairs, with the Edge on an upright piano.
Katherine McPhee has returned, introducing Carrie Underwood singing “Someone To Watch Over Me.” This really is much better for her voice. Maybe the kid was right. Also, she is now wearing a fascinating dress…black sequined lace over nude fitted sheath, with a black back overskirt and train. She is having a shoe problem, so her exit was not real becoming, but I’d like to see the dress up close.
We’re looking and listening to the period of Sinatra’s early 70s retirement and his comeback. Here is Usher about to kill it with “That’s Life,” wearing a tight tuxedo with a very narrow collar and narrow tie. You could just imagine him walking down the street in Milan this week.
And he’s getting to that good age, of course. I love this song. So does the audience, singing along.
John Legend is speaking of Frank’s work with Jobim. We get a clip of them together, then Juanes is on stage with his guitar singing “One Note Samba,” which I always love. I’d never heard it in English before, though. I like him doing it, and the lyrics are interesting, but I want to hear him do it in Portuguese now. And apparently, this was a whole medley, instead of just a bit of one song.
Robert Patrick is on stage, wearing a nice business suit. He looks like David Bowie’s half-brother with his hair slicked back and reading the monitor like maybe he should upgrade his contact lens prescription? Nice ring. He’s talking about the Quincy Jones arrangement of “The Best Is Yet To Come,” which turned that song from all right to amazing. Yes, I said amazing, and you know I hate that word. Adam Levine is singing it. Okay choice, loose and rangy. I bet he could have put just a little more on it, though, and I’d have rather had Usher back.
Nick Jonas is singing “In The Wee Small Hours.” I never heard him before, and this is very sweet. He should make this a career. :-) He’s wearing a short double-breasted white jacket with a somewhat broad satin collar and black tie. He must be quite thin, and it’s a nice choice, cut perfectly for him.
Robert Patrick is now introducing “I’ll Be Seeing You.” I hope it’s one of the later arrangments. Trisha Yearwood is back to sing it, now in a more conservative black gown. She was a good choice for this. I like her voice better than Carrie Underwood’s. I know nothing about either of them, though.
Jeremy Renner is introducing “One For My Baby,” which I know Seth MacFarlane will sing, because he has a whole schtick for it. Yes, there he is at a bar onstage, complete with bartender and shaker. When I can look away from his hairline closeups, I note that he has nice hands. These guys and their hairpieces. Why hasn’t someone improved transplants enough yet, if they all want top hair so badly? Anyway, I don’t mean to be mean. Love this performance. Nice sax, too. Aw, he put on a fedora with a white satin band to end the song. Better for him than a trilby, I think.
Final segment, in which MacFarlane introduces Lady Gaga singing “New York, New York.” I’m not a real fan of this song, yet I appreciate it. If you see what I mean. And it’s all, go big or go home, which you know she is all about. She’s wearing a Judy Garlandesque tuxedo and hat, and hey, paid reviewers? you are wrong if you think Sinatra wouldn’t have gotten the point of it.
She has ascended some stairs accompanied by dancing show girls. Judy would have been surrounded by men, but still. I guess some people discovered Tony Bennett through her, but for me, it was kind of the other way around. I’d heard her, but not to pay much attention to, til they started singing together. I hope, and really believe, Frank would get a real kick out of this.
That was good. Needed a bit more Usher, a bit less Carrie Underwood. And I understand a couple medleys were longer, and a few songs were cut. I hope we can hear them $ome other way. Here's a little more for now.