Now that CBS has finally released the performances to YouTube, behold….
Amidst the random and tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter GiGi earlier that day, the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards managed to raise the roof off the Black Mamba’s beloved Staples Center with an emotional night of highs and lows.
The absolute trainwreck that was the Aerosmith/Run DMC reunion notwithstanding, the night brought about a slew of memorable performances that testify to the promise of this new generation of pop stars and the risks they are willing to take for their art.
Here are five particularly killer sets from the broadcast that really made this year’s ceremony a worthwhile watch.
1. Lizzo ‘Cuz I Love You/Truth Hurts’
“Tonight is for Kobe!” exclaims Lizzo before bringing the full gusto of her doo-wop/R&B avalanche of melody and bravado. People like to compare Lizzo to Aretha, but this performance proves she’s more Etta James at her rowdiest. And then she hits that flute solo like she’s the lovechild of Ian Anderson and Bobbi Humphrey for real. Come on now.
VIDEO: Lizzo performs “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts” at the Grammys
2. Lil Nas X and Friends ‘Old Town Road’
Just dig it, man. Don’t think. Just dig. So much magic in these 5 minutes.
VIDEO: Lil’ Nas X and Friends perform “Old Town Road” and then Nas comes out and they do “Rodeo”. What!
3. Demi Lovato in her arresting, spare performance of ‘Anyone’
Lovato sang with the candor of someone who has been through some shit. Being on the brink of death will surely open up the humanity in anyone’s creative work. But Demi, accompanied by a sole piano, delivered this ballad riddled with poetic self-doubt and grace, seeming to channel Laura Nyro with this arresting performance.
VIDEO: Demi Lovato performs “Anyone” at the Grammys
4. Gary Clark Jr. featuring The Roots ‘This Land’
Pure fire right here. Fuck the censors. The blues will NEVER die, and this exclamation of its existence is why.
VIDEO: It’s just a snippet, but it’s Gary Clark Jr. and The Roots setting fire to “This Land” in this killer Grammy performance
5. Bonnie Raitt ‘Angel From Montgomery’
It’s not even a minute long, but in that precious time Bonnie’s gorgeous interpretation of this key song from the John Prine songbook proves why nobody deserves a lifetime achievement award more than he.
VIDEO: Bonnie Raitt performs John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” at the Grammys