A new set of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers was inducted Friday at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center and man what a night it was.
Scroll down to see your favorite acts---Pearl Jam (and Letterman's intro) is last, for instance.
The night started out with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame chairman Jann Wenner saying a few words about Chuck Berry, before video of the great rock and roller played. Then, Jeff Lynne and ELO kicked things off with a tribute to Berry, playing “Roll Over Beethoven” complete with a full string section.
ELO, the night’s first inductees, then got to perform their own tunes, “Evil Woman,” and “Mr. Blue Sky,” before Dhani Harrison inducted them into the HOF with a sweet speech about the first time he sawy his dad George Harrison play with ELO. Lynne and Richard Tandy were the only members on hand to accept their honor, with Lynne commenting on the band’s long wait to get in. He noted, "It's like my dad said, everything comes to him who waits."
Joan Baez was up next, with Jackson Browne giving a speech where he noted her importance to the folk revival and the civil rights struggle. Baez acknowledged that most people in the room probably didn’t know her, and joked, how her granddaughter didn’t know who she was until she took her backstage to meet Taylor Swift. Baez performed “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” with lyrics changed to express that maybe Donald Trump can be saved and she was then joined by the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter for Woody Guthrie's "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" and The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifson inducted Yes, with Lifeson noting, “they made me want to be a better musician.” Every member of the band got to say their thanks, but it was Rick Wakeman who stole the show with a speech in which he joked about a prostate exam. “The doctor said to me, he said, 'Mr. Wakeman, there's no need to be embarrassed. It's not unusual to get an erection with this kind of procedure,” Rick shared. “I said, 'I haven't got an erection.' He said, 'I know, but I have.'" The entire band then reunited to perform “Roundabout,” featuring Geddy Lee on bass filing in for the late Chris Squire, followed by “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”
Snoop Dogg inducted his late friend Tupac Shakur, telling a hilarious story about the time they went parasailing together in Mexico. Snoop also accepted the honor on Tupac’s behalf because the rapper doesn’t have any surviving family or friends. Tupac was then saluted with a medley including, "Dear Mama,” "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted," "Changes," "Hail Mary" and "I Get Around,” featuring Snoop, Alicia Keys, T.I., YG and Treach from Naughty By Nature.
After a speech by Train’s Pat Monahan, it was time for Journey to be inducted, with the whole band, including the elusive frontman Steve Perry on stage to accept the honor. Perry and Neil Schon actually hugged on stage, with Perry thanking all of his bandmates, as well as their new lead singer Arnel Pineda, who he called “someone who sings his heart out every night.” But the real question was whether Perry would perform with rumors going back and forth all day as to whether he’d actually join his band. When they started performing with no singer on stage some may have thought they were getting a surprise, but instead it was Arnel who came out to perform Journey’s three hits, “Separate Ways,” “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which still got the crowd on their feet.
Pharrell presented Nile Rodgers with the Award for Musical Excellence, and despite his band Chic being snubbed by the HOF for many years Rodgers graciously accepted his honor, thanking many of the bands that he’s collaborated with over the years.
Next was the “In Memoriam” section, set to the late Leonard Cohen’s “Boogie Street,” that was followed by Lenny Kravitz paying tribute to Prince with a powerful rendition of “When Doves Cry” and “The Cross,” featuring the Love Fellowship Choir.
Finally, David Letterman, subbing for Neil Young, told a wonderful speech to induct Pearl Jam into the HOF. The former talk show host told a sweet story about how frontman Eddie Vedder gave his son Harry a guitar with a letter encouraging him to play music and also talked of their battle against Ticketmaster, joking that because of Pearl Jam now “every concert ticket in the United States of America is free.” Every member of Pearl Jam got to speak and thank their family, friends, influences and fans. Eddie also took a few moments to talk about climate change and even gave a shout out to Chance the Rapper, because apparently his daughter loves him.
Pearl Jam ended the night on stage, treating the crowd (which judging by the cheers was made up of a lot of Pearl Jam fans) to an electric performance of “Alive,” “Given to Fly” and “Better Man,” before they were joined on stage by guests, including Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neal Schon, Trevor Rabin, Dhani Harrison, Jonathan Cain and Jack Irons, who sat in at the drum kit with Matt Cameron, for the finale of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” which could have only been better had Uncle Neil made it for the evening. Check out video footage of the night to the right.