Sic Transit Barbra…There Comes A Time….

| February 14, 2011 | Comments (0)


Even though I love pop music, I have  mixed feelings about the Grammy Awards ceremony. One year it featured a scantily-clad female singer, identified with Tamil terrorists, who, 9-months pregnant, grinded her crotch in the faces of the audience. Another year show-cased an “award-winning” song of questionable merit, “It’s Hard Out There For A Pimp”, with a choreographed crowd of dancers moving aimlessly about the stage like a pack of over-dosed drug dealers. And then there is the audience. As the camera pans the spoiled, gum-chewing, drug-sniffing  swells in their tuxedoes, I want to throw eggs at the screen.

But I still keep tuning into CBS  every year at 8 PM! I guess I’m hoping Elvis will re-appear and suddenly I will be 16 again. 

This year there were plenty of forgettable acts as well as some great moments. Two highlights for me were Mick Jagger and the incredibly talented Gwyenth Paltrow. In her new persona as an accomplished songstress, we saw her slinking across the top of a Steinway grand piano in multi-colored 9- inch patent leather pumps. Just  mounting the piano and standing upright in those killer shoes was a feat in itself. And she looked like she was really having a ball ! I had fun just watching her.

And Jagger….words cannot describe. I’ll just say: he made me feel young again. Swooping down the stage stairs like a teenaged gazelle, his machine gun energy and madly flapping chimpanzee lips drove the audience to distraction. He and I are the same age and as I watched him cavort in front of Hollywood, I attempted some of his gyrations only to fall flat on the floor in front of  the TV. Luckily, my family room is padded with  a thick carpet!

And then there was Barbra and Kris. I remember them in the early 80s  in the re-make of  “A Star Is Born. ”  What a wonderful film that was. Who could forget their bubble bath scene when they duetted with “Evergreen” ?  Even though Barbra’s  exposed shoulders seemed  as  hefty as a Notre Dame quarterback’s, their music transported me.

But last night was another story. Neither of these stars has aged well. I’ll just say in his introduction before Barbra sang that Kris seemed creaky; I’ll leave it at that. We all age, OK? But he was gracious in his tribute to Streisand and his gravelly voice still had touches of the cool dude we loved.

Barbra should never have performed. There is such a thing as quitting while you are ahead and I always thought she had the smarts to know when to bow out.  In her rendition of “Evergreen” her voice was limited and the presentation shakey. The  soaring tones of old were gone.  I felt sorry for her. With her left hand  clinging to the micro-phone post, she seemed to be seeking the support of a cane. My heart went out to her when at the end of the song,  she murmured almost inaudibly, “I feel so nervous.”

After the show, I fished out my old CD of their original version of  “Evergreen” and, as I listened to them,  I thought to myself,   “There comes a time….when we all have to face the music and not dance, or,  in Barbra’s case, not sing.”  Don’t worry, we still love you, Barbra.

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