Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kennedy Center Honors

"I believe Bob Dylan and James Brown had a son. His name was Bruce Springsteen." I'll drink to that. What a great guy, that Jon Stewart. Also a Jersey boy himself and a big fan, it seemed only appropriate he did the introduction speech for the Boss at the 32nd annual Kennedy Center Honors. Also honored were Robert De Niro (with a nice speech by Martin Scorsese), jazz legend Dave Brubeck, Mel Brooks and opera singer Grace Bumbry. All of the honorees were sitting beside President Obama and the First Lady.

I managed to catch the whole 2-hr broadcast. It was a real treat; all the segments were great, especially the stunning all-star jazz tribute to Dave Brubeck and the song & dance sequences from Mel Brooks' films. Bruce's segment was the last. After Jon's speech (and a short video montage narrated by him) Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, author of Born On The 4th Of July, came out to talk about how he and Bruce met back in the late 70's. I have to admit his speech brought tears to my eyes.

The tribute performances were quite good; it was a shame most of them were edited out. John Mellencamp did a haunting take of Born In The U.S.A. Man, you gotta love his southern drawl. I just love the way he sings. Ben Harper & Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland dueted together on I'm On Fire. Melissa Etheridge rocked out on Born To Run. But for me, the highlight was Eddie Vedder doing My City Of Ruins with a gospel choir. My hero honoring my hero. His voice just seemed so perfect for the song. During the song, the camera cut to a close-up of Bruce's face; he looked as if he was trying to hold back tears. That was priceless. Sting closed out the night with The Rising. During the last chorus, everyone in the house stood up. Funnily, Bruce looked really out of place, like he was embarrassed or something. Anyway, what a way to end the year.

Relive the night's moments:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3