The GRAMMYs: Classic performances, novel winners

Beck won both the best rock album and album of the year despite his strong competition.

Beck won both the best rock album and album of the year despite his strong competition.

The biggest night in music, as proclaimed by the recording academy and 2015 Grammy host LL Cool J, lived up to this bold expectation with a three and a half hour show that was jam packed with awards and performances.

A night that was filled with big statements started with the opening act when AC/DC rocked the crowd with their classic “Highway to Hell.” It was clear that the Academy was aiming to celebrate all music rather than just the popular artist that grabs so much of the attention.

To follow suit, the second performance of the night took pop superstar Ariana Grande away from her typical upbeat style with the ballad “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart.” The power in her voice resonated throughout the staples center and amplified just how talented this young artist is.

She wasn’t the only young artist to steal the stage as Sam Smith found himself in front of the mic not only to sing but thank the academy for his four new trophies including song of the year and best new artist.

Smith was as humble as could be and warmed the hearts of all his peers just like he did with his award winning song “Stay with me.”

Smith’s big night was matched with colossal compilations of artists from every generation, like the band of John Mayor on guitar, Questlove on drums, and the two front men of Ed Sheeran and Herbie Hancock. They rocked the house performing a medley of Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and Hancock’s “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky.”

But this wasn’t the only performance seemingly plucked out of a music lover’s wildest fantasy: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga came together to sing “Cheek to Cheek” in classic style with a true jazz band. Not only was the duet phenomenal by two of the most iconic voices the industry has ever seen, but Gaga’s charisma shined in a 1920’s showgirl fashion in what was a true tribute to the past.

The Academy was putting on a showcase of musical class from the historic songs to iconic artists who filled up the stage with the help of countless endless musicians that reached up to full orchestra in some performances.
One of the most star studded performances was “FourFiveSeconds” by Paul McCartney, Rihanna, and Kanye West which was released only a month ago by the fore mentioned superstars.

The statement was loud a clear on how incredibly talented the music industry is today. Another statement made that night was by Beck, who won best rock album and the coveted album of the year. Going up against Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell, and Sam Smith, it was clear by the look on Beck’s face how shocking the win was. So shocking that Kanye walked on stage seeming to pull another Taylor Swift incident but managed to bite his tongue and sit back down.

Kanye wasn’t the only one making a statement in silence; Sia performed her hit “Chandelier” without ever showing her face. Instead Kristen Wiig joined Maddie Ziegler in an encore of the famous interpretive dance video for Sia’s biggest hit. The rendition included the iconic blonde wigs and skin toned singlets. The abstract performance mesmerized led by the incredibly unique Maddie Ziegler.

While Sia’s statement was subtle, the Grammys approach on domestic violence was not. President Obama spoke via video about the power of the people in the music industry and how they are the ones that need to make a difference and set an example.
“It’s not okay and it has to stop … it’s on us, all of us, to create a culture where violence isn’t tolerated, where survivors are supported and where all our young people, men and women, can go as far as their talents and their dreams will take them.”

This was followed by a speech by a surviving victim of domestic violence which was both touching and powerful. Katy Perry followed with “By the Grace of God,” which brought the message in close for the audience.
This wasn’t the only big issue the Grammy’s chose to tackle. The final performance of the night consisted of two songs from the recent film Selma which is about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. Beyoncé was first performing the gospel “Take my hand, Precious Lord,” which led into the hit song “Glory” performed by John Legend and Common.
The Grammys lived up to their self-acclaimed biggest night in music from the performances to all the honors that were given, but the best part of the night was not how big the celebration was but how much meaning the recording Academy’s music brings into everyone’s life.