Since my wife got pregnant and started going to bed even earlier than usual, I find myself with a lot of time on my own, which means I’ve watched a lot more television, played a lot of Scrabble vs. the computer and read more books & magazines than usual. The books have largely focused on fatherhood, pregnancy and taking care of infants and young children. They have been an immense help in getting me to feel prepared. The magazines are largely focused on music and sports. TV is, well, TV.

Over the weekend I ended up watching, just about in its entirety, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. I had never really seen one of these, mostly because I have no interest. This year, though, I saw that REM, Van Halen, The Ronettes and Patti Smith were being inducted, so I thought a) there might be some interesting performances and b) see the previous paragraph about having more time on my hands.

I will not get overly verbose about this – the show was a disappointment. Patti Smith’s performance was solid – she’s still pretty intense for an aging woman – I mean, trotting out the intense “Rock & Roll Nigger” on stage was a bold move and “Because The Night” is still a terrific song. Her fairly rambling and nervous acceptance speech was moving and heartfelt for someone who’s railed for so long against superficial, establishment things like the R&R Hall of Fame. I came away liking her more than I thought I ever did.

The Van Halen thing was a MAJOR disappointment. The only two to show up were Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar and then the horrific Velvet Revolver did a couple of their songs. Hagar seems to be a likable enough guy, but for me Van Halen ended when motor mouth David Lee Roth left the band. Eddie can play, no argument there, but Roth was the heart and soul and some kind of political BS prevented him from showing up. So the best part of that portion was the five minute montage of old video clips of Van Halen being………Van Halen. Some of their output is clearly dreck, but some of the early stuff is vital rock and roll in my eyes.

R.E.M., certainly one of my top 10 all time bands, is the one I looked forward to the most and they didn’t disappoint. I kind of got the feeling they thought the whole thing was a little ridiculous, but they played the part and appeared gracious enough. Eddie Vedder’s induction speech was both rambling and enjoyable and while I’ve never seen R.E.M. live, their performance seemed a little hushed and more reserved than other performances I’ve seen on video. Their small set list was terrific, highlighted by “Begin the Begin” and “Gardening At Night.” I came away further convinced that Mike Mills is the major secret weapon in that band.

All in all, it was a couple hours I’ll never get back. But hey, that’s life.

Varnaline – Let It All Come Down
Richard & Linda Thompson – Back Street Slide
The Rooftop Singers – Walk Right In
The Beatles – Act Naturally
Healthy White Baby – Ouija Board
Mark Lanegan – Borracho
Grant Lee Buffalo – Fuzzy
Van Morrison – And It Stoned Me
Elf Power – Somewhere Down The River
Sam Champion – TV Fever

As always, you can see what’s currently playing by checking out my page.