GRAMMYs 2014 Live Blog by Mark Guarino

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 01/26/2014, 07:37pm

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Over 30 couples married at Grammys

The Grammy Awards have had many must-see moments, but could any of them match a live, televised group wedding?

Yes, Queen Latifah married 33 straight and same-sex couples during a performance of “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan that was end capped by Madonna singing 1986 hit “Open Your Heart” in what appeared to be a suit tailored by Col. Sanders.

Got that?

The mash-up of mash-ups — a group wedding, an iconic pop star, a pair of Grammy darlings, plus New Orleans R&B horn player Trombone Shorty and singer Mary Lambert — created a cathartic moment for the awards show, now in entering its fourth hour. A gospel choir joined in — why not? — performing in tandem against a wall of simulated church windows.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Ringo and Paul reunite — Kind of

Is a live band reunion between surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr meaningful if Starr is assisted with drumming onstage?

The Grammy Awards hyped the reunion as a highlight of the show for good reason: Although Starr and McCartney had appeared on albums since their Beatles days, they hadn’t performed together before a live audience for decades.

That changed Sunday when Starr joined McCartney’s band for “Queenie Eye,” a single from McCartney’s latest album, released last year. With McCartney sitting at a piano, the camera caught Starr hitting the drumkit behind his shoulder. But wide shots showed touring drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr. also playing a kit besides Starr.

Did it matter? Not apparently to Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, who both danced like it was just yesterday. Or as presenter Julia Roberts said in her introduction, “that’s pretty cool.”

Ringo take charge

Paul McCartney had his moment with Nirvana — Now it’s Ringo’s turn.

Ringo Starr had his moment at the Grammy Awards, performing his 1973 solo hit “Photograph” in front of a multi-screened backdrop screening his own photo work snapped during his Beatles days.

Musician and producer Don Was played bass, serving as musical director of an all-star band that included guitar legend Peter Frampton, drummer Kenny Aronoff, former Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and keyboardist Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

The segment provided a rare appreciation of Starr, which soon vanished with presenter Jamie Foxx thanking him in a clownish British accent. “Feels so good, that accent gets you,” Fox said.


Pink flies, lip-syncs

Pink brought lip-syncing to an impressive new level at the Grammys when she performed an aerialist routine while her song, “Try” played. The performance, which had her spinning in circles, both through her own efforts, and by people in the audience, who spun her around until she lifted into the air.

She finally made it to the ground to complete the song through performing yoga routines with a male dancer.

Once she finished — well, thrust to the side of the stage by the dancer — Nate Ruess of the band Fun took the lead. Pink, who added a black skirt to her aerial leotard, joined later. Did this segment sound better in the producer’s head than what we just witnessed. Undoubtedly.

Grunge, British Invasion unite

Paul McCartney and Nirvana — It’s a match made in heaven, again!

The unlikely collaboration first showed up at a Hurricane Sandy benefit at Madison Square Garden in December 2012, performing a new song, “Cut Me Some Slack.” The recorded version of the song won a Grammy for best rock song.

Former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl took the microphone first, saying the group “wouldn’t be here it if weren’t for Paul and for Ringo (Starr)” — which prompted former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic to chime in, “and Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones.”

McCartney said the day-long recording was first intended to cover an old chestnut like “Long Tall Sally” but they decided ‘we’ve been there, done that’ and this is it.”

No word yet if Nirvana will join Robin Thicke for a reprise of Blurred Lines.

Robin Thicke and Chicago (the band).

Robin Thicke and Chicago (the band).

Robin Thicke joins Chicago for medley, “Blurred Lines”

Imagine Peter Cetera cringing at his home in Idaho. That’s because his former band, Chicago, just played the Grammys with a new vocalist: Robin Thicke.

The “Blurred Lines” singer joined Chicago for a three-song melody (“Does Anyone Really Know What Time It is?/Beginnings/Saturday in the Park”) to honor the band’s induction into the Grammy hall of fame. Thicke is up for three awards this year.

Thicke and keyboardist Robert Lamm traded verses throughout, while Thicke sent a few of the verses up several octaves with many vocal flourishes that might send Chicago fans to their old records.

The segment ended with — What else? — “Blurred Lines,” although this version did not include twerking, twisted tongues, and uncomfortable sexual positioning. Instead, Thicke ended the song on his knees flanked by two back-up singers in tasteful, below-the-knee skirts. He finally learned good taste!

Daft Punk wins award, stays mute

What happens when Daft Punk wins a Grammy award? Pharrell William does the talking.

The producer-DJ duo known for wearing black motorcycle helmets and brandishing metallic, robot hands, looked dapper in tuxedos as they walked onstage to pick up their best pop duo/group performance award for “Get Lucky,” which they shared with Nile Rogers and Williams. “On behalf of the robots … they want to thank their families,” Williams said, to laughter. Even Daft Punk clapped to that.

The duo will perform very soon.

Oak Park’s Kathy Griffin wins

Kathy Griffin, an Oak Park native, won a Grammy for best comedy album. Otherwise, so far, Chicago has not been Grammys kind of town.

Griffin is just the third woman in Grammy history to win the honor in the comedy category. Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg also picked up a gold statue in the past.

Besides Griffin, Chicago jazz writer Neil Tesser won a Grammy for best album notes for a special John Coltrane reissue. And, if Chicago can claim Stephen Colbert as one of its own — he attended Northwestern University and is a Second City alum — he won a Grammy for best spoken word album.

Otherwise, Chicago favorites Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples, Kaskade, James Cotton, and Justin Roberts all failed to pick up Grammys this year. Even Kanye West had a bad night, losing the best rap song award to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.