Sunday, May 26, 2024

Justin Bieber: Grammy Weekend Show He’s Not Part of Music Biz


Grammy Weekend is hereby declared over. What a week! Count the events and the players who remind us the music business is still alive. From Clive Davis’s maybe best party and show ever to the MusiCares tribute to Carole King to the Beatles tribute on Monday night– whew! And that’s not even mentioning Thursday night’s Legacy concert with Bonnie Raitt, Gavin DeGraw and Valerie Simpson among others.

Of course there were the Grammys themselves and the after parties. Quincy Jones and Lang Lang at AEGLive’s celebration in the Staples Center. Multiple winner Pharrell Williams, legendary Stevie Nicks, and next years’ winners– A Great Big World– were just some who poured into the Palm for Sony Music.

Over at Sunset Tower, we ran into a ton more players for Warner Music. And Universal Music took over a hot nightclun converted from a theater downtown.

Paul McCartney entertained his Beatles family and a few others including Johnny Depp at an Italian restaurant on Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles.

And where was Justin Bieber? Panama. Studying his tattoos. This farce of a music business act is over. Mostly what you heard all weekend is “That’s it.” His records are not played on the radio, no one knows what his album sales were. He’s got an arrest to deal with in Miami, and legal problems in California. There are reports that his manager, Scooter Braun, went to Panama with Usher for an intervention. Scooter is already back in L.A., Tweeting away about sunsets. He’s made his money with Bieber. Watch “The Elephant Man” to see what happens next. It isn’t pretty.

The only thing worse than Bieber is Madonna’s attempt to sing on stage at the Grammys during the Macklemore wedding procession. It was like listening to three cats screeching in a bag. What was she thinking? She needs a full production around her to hide vocal flaws. I don’t how it played on TV but in the Staples Center, holy moley! The sound guys turned her volume down after a few seconds. Ouch!

But the business lives. I heard so many live performers, unaugmented, for better or worse. Pharrell really did the best. I hope he will take off now. Annie Lennox must make a new record. Her voice is better than ever. Joe Walsh, between the Eagles and the Beatles, is having a Renaissance. Steven Tyler singing “You Really Got a Hold on Me” acapella from the Grammy stage, with Smokey Robinson standing right there! Bingo! Fantasia on Clive Davis’s stage, same thing.

I think I ran into Olivia Harrison about 12 times this weekend. She is just super. No one has done a better job preserving a legacy. And I like Alicia Keys singing in a lower register. She and John Legend really nailed “Let it Be” last night.

More to come. We’re back in New York after almost three excruciating weeks in LaLa Land. No one knows how to drive, everything moves like molasses, and darkness falls early every night. Yeah, the weather was good. As I said to someone who remarked about the cold back East, “I have sweaters, thanks.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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