2003 Grammys - Part One


My only memory of televised music award shows is from January 1990. It was the American Music Awards, and Guns and Roses had just won... something. Anyway, Slash wobbled towards the stage and ended up dropping the f-bomb during the acceptance speech. Touching. Anyway, since the music I like to listen to isn't the kind of music that gets these kinds of awards, I generally stay away from shows like the Grammys. I had a special reason to tune in this year. Would it be worth my investment? Here's my rundown.

7:00 p.m.-- Dustin Hoffman emerges. He's got so much hair I thought it was Rolling Stones' guitarist Ron Wood to begin with. Dustin Hoffman? Celebrating the twelfth anniversary of the release of Billy Bathgate? I don't get it.

7:01 p.m.-- Hoffman introduces Simon and Garfunkel. So now it makes sense, The Graduate and all. I'm a big Simon and Garfunkel guy. I wasn't as much in 1993, the last time they performed together. This could be the last time they ever do so, something I couldn't miss.

The dulcet tones of "The Sounds of Silence" melt me. These guys redefined the power of harmony in music, which is why I love their music so much.


7:04 p.m.-- They close. Although I'm speechless, my brain is still working. It's telling me that if Michael Richards ever needs someone to play him in a movie, he should talk to Art Garfunkel.

7:06 p.m.-- CBS scrolls through the presenters. I've heard of most of them, at least the ones that aren't a part of CBS' award-winning prime-time lineup. Does the incestuous nature of network TV bother anyone else? Watching last year's World Series on Fox was the worst. "Oh, look, there's Kevin James, star of 'The King of Queens'." How ironic.

7:10 p.m.-- Okay, this Dustin Hoffman thing is getting painful. He just said that Bruce Springstreet was performing later. That, and he's speaking about three words every minute. I'm just feeling uncomfortable.

And here comes No Doubt. Gwen Stefani... she's got a great voice, but she should really mix in a cheeseburger once in a while. Anyway, the band comes out with a nice acoustic version of "Underneath It All." Hey, I know this song! Maybe I'm not as unhip as I imagined. Just as I'm getting into the groove, they rip into a version of something called "Hella Good." Eh.

"I'll have a cheeseburger with extra bacon gravy, please."

7:14 p.m.-- Dave Grohl and Lou Reed emerge as the first presenters. Call me crazy, but Robert Downey Jr. is about three rehab stints from becoming Lou Reed. Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group goes to No Doubt. There's the obligatory Gavin Rossdale crowd shot. Whatever happened to Bush, anyway? I liked them enough to see them in concert in 1997. Of course, at 20, Jason and I were the oldest people there. We also happened to be the tallest, which led to a lot of middle-schoolers asking us to lift them up for crowd surfing. My back still huurts.

7:21 p.m.-- Oooh, Joe Pantoliano. Joey Pants looks remarkable for a man who got beheaded a few months ago. He introduces Norah Jones, who performs "Don't Know Why." Rumor has it that her CD was the "Best CD to make out to" in 2002, although I don't think that's an official Grammy category. Since my wife is at the Wild game and I'm sitting next to my black lab, I decide to pass on the makeout experiment.

7:26 p.m.-- Justin Timberlake presenting. I don't want to sound bitter, but I just don't get the Justin Timberlake thing. He's Jimmy Fallon, only stupider. Anyway, Norah Jones wins Best Pop Vocal Album. Too bad it wasn't Britney, that would have made for some uncomfortable television.

7:30 p.m.-- Faith Hill. Again... eh.

No comment.

7:38 p.m.-- Paul Shaffer. Could someone put a leash on him, please? I believe that's a purple velvet suit he's wearing. He introduces Vanessa Carlton, who plays that "Makin' my way downtown" song-- probably one of the most stick-in-your-head pop songs of the last year. There's something cool about Carlton and Norah Jones playing piano while they sing. It probably has a lot to do with why I like them more than Faith Hill-- they actually play an instrument. I guess I don't consider being able to sing (and sing only) as that much of a talent. (I just single-handedly lost our opera viewership.)

7:41 p.m.-- John Mayer performs. Wow, he even *looks* like Dave Matthews. Odd, as similar as they sound, I'd much rather listen to John Mayer than DMB.

He's seen fire (and he's seen rain)

7:45 p.m.-- Aaaaaaah, James Taylor. He and Yo Yo Ma combine for a lovely version of "Sweet Baby James." As previously documented on this site, I'm a big James Taylor guy. Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor... is this the 1969 Grammys?

7:50 p.m.-- "I am so happy to be presenting this award with P. Diddy." So says Kim Catrall. I can't look at her without thinking of the original Police Academy. They present Best Rap Album to Eminem. He promptly thanks L.L. Cool J, Run-DMC, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., among others. I'm wondering how these folks (at least the living ones) feel about a white rapper thanking them for receiving the acclaim they never got.

7:57 p.m.-- She's back, and wearing lots of pink. Queen Latifah is the next presenter, looking quite recovered from that messy DWI issue, thank you very much. She introduces the Dixie Chicks, who perform their cover of Steve Nicks' "Landslide." Whoever said there's nothing new under the sun....

Sorry, Natalie. Your hair doesn't make the cut at simpleprop.

8:02 p.m.-- "They knock me out. They really, really knock me out." That's what Herbie Hancock had to say about the Dixie Chicks' performance. Best quote of the night so far. Herbie presents the Best Country Album to the Dixie Chicks, who thank pretty much everyone except the editorial staff at simpleprop.com. That's OK, we'd never endorse someone who has ultra-bangs like lead singer Natalie Maines.

8:11 p.m.-- John Leguizamo. And the crowd... groans. At least his tribute to Glenn Miller is sincere. Oh wait, no it's not. Hey, there's a joke about Leonard Bernstein's Jewish heritage. Lovely. Seriously, who does Leguizamo have blackmail photos of? The N.Y. Philharmonic performs "Mambo" (nicely) and we're told by the announcer to stay tuned for an "amazing" fusion performance with the Philharmonic and Coldplay. Interesting that it's already amazing even though it hasn't happened yet.

Hate to leave you hanging at such a vital interlude, but consider it a teaser for tomorrow's installment. Bedtime for Bonzo.



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