I'm notoriously picky about live musical performances because I've been around that bend for many, many years. The absolute worst was in my tender years when one of the plethora of network variety shows would feature a pop act, because, you know, the kids; but the host and the producer clearly disdained my music; when I, on the other hand, only tolerated Topo Giogio and that guy who talked to his glove just to (finally) get to the Lovin' Spoonful or the Mamas and the Papas. Then I disappointingly discovered that my favorite acts were lip syncing their songs. And the musicians were clearly as uncomfortable as me. An exception was the Doors, who were warned before Ed Sullivan raised his curtain that they'd better not sing, "couldn't get much higher". Ed and his producer whipped up some alternative lyrics that were PG, but when Jim arrived at that infamous line, he proudly and defiantly screamed it out. Ahh, Jim Morrison...If I wanted to hear the exact same version of my favorite hit, I could skip the guy who spun ceramic plates on a stick and just listen to the record.
Today, however, though live music on network TV is a curiosity (I'm told), every once in a while something extraordinary shows up. I remember Adam Lambert from the 2009 season of American Idol, when American Idol was a thing. Some of my friends were giddy in their love for Adam. I, on the other hand, found the season to be dreary. Sure, Adam was clearly the most talented contestant, but I wasn't invested. (Some guy named Kris Allen won ~ today he's playing Native American casinos somewhere in the heartland).
Fast forward nine years and the Kennedy Center Honors chose to celebrate Cher, and lo and behold, here's Adam!
Adam Lambert is now the lead singer of Queen. He's not Freddy Mercury ~ he's someone different. But Freddy would approve.
It's sort of crazy that the best songs of the night were Cher songs. Who knew?
Here's Cyndi Lauper, who reminds me of a young Dolly Parton, getting the staid Washington beltway artifacts awkwardly on their feet:
Adam and Cyndi:
I don't know much about the Kennedy Center Honors. Reba was feted, but honestly, they're kind of running out of people to extol, much like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Reba didn't have many memorable hits.
This night was all Cher.
Thank you, 2018, for giving me a way to end on a high note.