Andrea Langworthy's column: An emotional night
It’s not always a given that my husband and I will watch the Grammy awards show. This year, though, we made it a requirement. Paul McCartney was supposed to perform. Ringo Starr, too. I had read they wouldn’t be on stage together but still, what a thrill.
Sunday’s viewing began with two hours of the red carpet show hosted by Ryan Seacrest, Guiliana Rancic, Kelly and Ross. I wanted to check out some new singers I’d read about. Madonna and one of her sons stopped to chat. They wore matching black tuxedos. Madonna sported a gold mouth grille. Her pre-teen son wanted one for his birthday.
By the time the show began, I had been introduced to Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, one in a green-blue tux, the other in a houndstooth plaid. And country singer, Kacey Musgraves in a fairy tale dress fit for Cinderella’s ball. I had watched two tuxedo-clad robots exit their limo wearing black and gold helmets with matching ski slope-type gloves of the same hard material. “Daft Punk,” they call themselves.
The opening act, scantily-clad Beyonce, left me cold. But Paul and Ringo — who performed separately and later, together, while their wives and Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and Olivia Harrison watched from the audience — had the opposite effect and took me back to another Sunday evening nearly 50 years ago.
I had been in my parents’ bedroom when I turned on the television so I’d have something to watch while I ironed the clothes I intended to wear to a party a bit later. I was already running late but when I learned the Beatles were going to be on Ed Sullivan’s show in a few minutes, I called my friend to say I wouldn’t pick her up until after the foursome had appeared. She let out a squeal and said she was going to watch, too.
Ever since, John, Paul, George and Ringo have had a special spot in my heart. In fact, whenever shows like the Grammy Awards reunite acts from my younger years, my eyes fill with tears and I get a case of the goose bumps.
That’s what happened when Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson performed. Decades ago, they had been in the band, The Highwaymen — referred to as a country super group — with Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, both of whom have passed on. Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton filled in for them. The presentation was especially poignant because Kris Kristofferson has memory-related issues (Boxer’s Dementia). He recalls nothing about his career but does remember his family and the music. And hasn’t forgotten how to flash his boyish grin.
By the time Mackelmore took to the stage to rap about his uncles who are gay, I was pretty much drained. As his song went on, though, I became energized. What came next happened so fast, it was a blur. The scenery behind the rapper turned into stained glass windows like the ones in a church. Queen Latifah appeared onstage. Thirty-three couples stood in the auditorium’s aisle.
Twosomes young and old, gay and straight. In a matter of seconds, newly appointed Commissioner Latifah pronounced them married. The camera panned to Keith Urban in the audience. Tears fell down his cheeks.
Mine, too. I looked over to my husband who was blotting at his eyes. What a night. I wonder what’s in store for us next year.