Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief – A Review

25 Jan

Let me preface this by saying that I fully support what George Clooney did by putting this telethon together. Haiti needed all the help they could get before the earthquake and now that need is exponentially higher. Please, give what you can to http://www.hopeforhaitinow.org.

That said, this is a music-reviewing blog, and music was played during the telethon. And I am a smartass. So let’s get rolling with the review.

These are my own personal Pros and Cons of the night. Your Mileage May vary.

Alicia Keys – “Prelude To A Kiss”
Pro: Alicia pretty much always does a good job. Feels like it’s been a while since I heard about her. Good to see her.
Con: Had no freakin’ clue who she was until there was a close-up. I know George threw this together in a week, but a little graphic with her name would’ve been helpful.

Coldplay – “A Message”
Pro: I didn’t know this was Coldplay when they were on.
Con: I have no recollection of the one Coldplay song I have ever enjoyed.

Bruce Springsteen – “We Shall Overcome”
Pro: You can’t go wrong with The Boss.
Con: What “con”? It’s Broooce!

Stevie Wonder – “A Time 2 Love” / “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Pro: Stevie is a legend, full stop.
Con: I think there was a problem with his microphone at first. Not the last of audio problems throughout the show.

Shakira – “I’ll Stand By You”
Pro: Shakira’s boobs.
Con: Shakira’s singing.

John Legend – “Motherless Child”
Pro: “Yay, it’s over! Hey, look, Jon Stewart!”
Con: Easily one of the sappiest performances of the night.

Mary J Blige – “Hard Times Come Again No More”
Pro: At least she didn’t sing “One”.
Con: I am overdosed on Mary J Blige since she released her latest album. And I don’t think she’s that great, either.

Hey, look! Samuel L Jackson!

Taylor Swift – “Breathless”
Pro: Taylor is a consistently good performer and she delivered here, again.
Con: Another sappy performance.

Christina Aguilera – “Lift Me Up”
Pro: I’m a fan of Christina. So, I was glad she was there.
Con: Holy crap, girl. Oversang, overwrought, and what the hell did you do to your hair?

$ting – “Driven To Tears”
Pro: At least it was short.
Con: $ting’s voice. Like fingernails on chalkboard. (Your mileage may vary.)

Hey, look! Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood! Uhh, Clint, I can’t hear ya. Clint? Can the sound guy please turn on Mr Eastwood’s microphone? Seriously, he’s one of the most soft-spoken people in the world and you forget to turn his mic on? Sigh.

Beyoncé – “Halo”
Pro: Chris Martin looked like he was having fun!
Con: Sappiest performance of the night and from Beyoncé ever. Oy. And was she doing her Stevie Wonder impression or something? Just cause Stevie can’t see you, it doesn’t make it not offensive.

Hey, look! Morgan Freeman!

Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Keith Urban – “Lean On Me”
Pro: Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow on acoustic bass.
Con: Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow’s singing.

Madonna – “Like A Prayer”
Pro: Actually a pretty good performance of the song. I like old-school Madonna.
Con: What the hell was she wearing?

Justin Timberlake – “Hallelujah”
Pro: It was fun to point and laugh at him, cause he looked like a hobo, which seemed to be the dress code for the night.
Con: Jeff Buckley must have been spinning in his grave at that performance.

And the award for most WTF pairing (non-musical) of the telethon goes to…
Chris Rock and Muhammad Ali!

Jennifer Hudson – “Let It Be”
Pro: Jennifer Hudson has one of the best voices out there.
Con: What? Ringo couldn’t sit in on drums? He was right there…

Pro: Brad Pitt
Con: Brad Pitt’s goatee. Though in the hobo vein of the night, WTF has hanging off his chin?

Emeline Michel – “Many Rivers To Cross”
Pro/Con: I would know this if I hadn’t skipped ahead to the next performance…I am ashamed.

But the next performance was the great collaboration of Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bono and The Edge – “Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)” Did I say collaboration? I meant trainwreck. Where do I begin? For starters, I have never been so proud of Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen for not being team players and weaseling out of participating. Okay, maybe they didn’t weasel out of it, maybe they weren’t part of the collaboration from the start. Doesn’t matter. They weren’t there. Good boys. Edgie, Edgie, Edgie. Have you ears? You heard that song and said,  “Yes, Bono, I will perform that with you on worldwide television. I’ll even play my Explorer.”? Seriously? After he slapped a hip-hop song together in a week? You’re The Edge, goddamn it, have some self-respect.

As for the actual performance itself, another sound problem struck. Bono’s microphone was turned down/off and Edge’s amplifier was barely on. Personally, I don’t regard this as a problem, I think of it as an unbelievable stroke of luck. Rihanna, Jay-Z, and the house band drowning them out almost made me forget they had even had a hand in it. Almost.

I’m a bit cynical and was anticipating it being totally horrifying as soon as the telethon started. Let’s face it, it’s more interesting when successful people fail at what made them successful. That’s the basis for half the celebrity-reality shows out there. And I wasn’t disappointed. Unfortunately, I was so delighted that it had lived up to its terrible expectations that I turned it off after this, made my donation, having been fully entertained, and went on to something else. *shrug*

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