BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The beauty of Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammys gala is that you can brush past Mariah Carey in the bathroom, asking another guest to help her keep her wardrobe together with a quip (“You “You’re lucky my dress is zipped, that’s all I can say.”
Or you’ll see Machine Gun Kelly approach Jon Bon Jovi with an outstretched hand (“I love your look, man,” the elder statesman told the platinum-haired power-punk-rocker).
On stage, newcomers Ice Spice twerk to “Deli” with waist-length straight extensions, Victoria Monét shows off her dance moves to “On My Mama” and Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt and Lainey Wilson team up for a Reverse maze adventure. I’m Just Ken” from the “Barbie” soundtrack. But later, the Isley Brothers led the crowd through their 1959 call-and-response classic “Shout” and Paul Shaffer instinctively led the band while standing close to his seat a dozen tables from the stage.
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It’s that kind of musical swing, coupled with a guest list filled with big names in music (Cher, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire), cinema (Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep) and politics ( Nancy Pelosi, present at the event). for the 24th consecutive time) which made Davis’ evening, a staple of the Grammys evening since 1976, both beautiful and bally.
Davis, an impressive 91, hosts his flagship event with an ear to showcasing artists on the rise while cementing the legacies of veterans, many of whom, like Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick, closed Saturday’s show , with whom he worked for decades.
For Davis, it’s all about performance, and his criteria for new artists is simple.
“Will they receive a standing ovation after their performance? It’s really clear who is a great performer and who is a recording performer. You don’t look at the charts and book the highest number on the Billboard,” Davis told USA TODAY the afternoon before the 2024 celebration in his airy suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “I am aware of the scrutiny the party is under from the press and artists and I am conscious of the fact that I have to have the best of both the new and the established. The bar is up there.
Saturday night in a Beverly Hilton ballroom, Hanks introduced Davis with a rousing speech that thematically explored the breadth of the record mogul’s nearly 60 years in the industry.
“Who is responsible for this celebration, both the cause and the catering? » asks Hanks with a wink. “Clive is the chef in the kitchen of the food of love: music.”
As Davis said Friday: “I like the party, not because it’s a party. I love showing my purely musical love, in a non-competitive way, and helping to be an architect of the new and keeping the greatest of all time alive.
Another one of those veterans, Public Enemy, took the stage by storm with humor (Flavor Flav managed to flirt with Megan Thee Stallion and Serena Williams) and powerful messages (“Can’t Truss It,” “Fight the Power ) as they paid tribute to this year’s Salute to Industry Icons Award winner, Jon Platt, Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Publishing.
Some other highlights from the star-studded evening:
Green Day opened the show with a hard-hitting set
The California trio opened Davis’ party and received an introduction from superfan Williams, who joked that she wanted to join their summer stadium tour as a mascot. But Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool only need an amp at 11 to invigorate a crowd. A tight, hard-hitting “American Idiot” (MAGA line intact) paired with 30-year-old “Dookie’s” favorite “Basket Case” for an exciting appetizer of the evening. Even though they were playing on a ballroom stage, Green Day attacked their mission with stadium vigor.
A longtime staple of Davis’s parties, the mild-mannered singer-actor with the booming baritone delivered one of the most visceral performances of the evening. Also a Broadway veteran, Groban shared two Stephen Sondheim classics, the cautionary tale “The Children Will Listen” (from “Into the Woods”) and the heartbreaking commentary on protection and love, “Not While I’m Here” (from “Sweeney Todd”). After telling the crowd, “One of the great honors of my career is to be able to sit in this room,” Groban slipped behind a piano to perform one of Davis’ favorite songs, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel. The War and Treaty’s Michael Trotter Jr. joined Groban for some beautiful voice acting while Trotter’s proud wife and singing partner, Tanya, filmed the performance on her phone.
The man born Jason DeFord clearly got the message that Davis appreciates a memorable performance. With a gospel choir behind him and several other singers lining the aisles, Jelly Roll proclaimed, “I believe in therapeutic music!” ” as he rolled into the country-rocker “Need a Favor.” Lainey Wilson returned to the stage for the Grammy-nominated duet “Save Me,” which Jelly Roll said “saved my life.” The searing ballad about being broken and damaged resonated as the most profound performance of the evening.