The Best of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum Live: Various Artists

Videos by American Songwriter

Various Artists
The Best of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum Live
[Rating: 3.5 stars]

Three songs into The Best of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum Live, the soul comes out, via one Rev. Al Green. He gives the performance of his life on “A Change is Gonna Come,” hitting notes that sound high even for him — and smacking them right to the heavens, as if trying to communicate directly with Sam Cooke. It’s a stellar moment on this wildly uneven, irrationally sequenced mashup of induction performances. There are others, but we also get the gaffes that show-ending-jam spontaneity (prevalent mainly on the first disc) is bound to produce.

“Glad All Over” is exuberant. “For What It’s Worth” rocks. “I Saw Her Standing There” is full of missed cues and uneven recording quality. Bruce Springsteen often saves the day (or at least, the song), not only with the E Street Band, but with U2 and other artists. Eventually, the ceremony switched to planned, rehearsed performances, losing some spirit, but allowing for moments like Prince’s jaw-dropping (and yes, better than Clapton’s original) guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac and R.E.M., along with Bruce and U2, make disc three the strongest, though each has highlights — and surprises. Sadly, there’s as much missing as included (not one solo female inductee, for instance), and no mention of years — likely to deflect attention from the fact that many are, in fact, from the same years. Not all the players are credited, either. Still, more often than not, you’ll wish you’d been there.

Leave a Reply

Short Takes: Ray Charles, The B-52s, The Gathering And More