Rod Stewart was a no-show — he had the flu. Axl Rose was also a no-show — he had assholitis. But the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony for the class of 2012 at Public Hall last night was still one of the foundation’s best outings in recent years.
You can thank the cast of relatively young rockers who made it into the Rock Hall last night as part of the 27th class, including Beastie Boys, Guns N’ Roses, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Donovan and the late Laura Nyro represented the old-school.
Green Day kicked off the five-and-a-half-hour show with “Letterbomb,” where Billy Joe Armstrong dropped a dozen or so bombs of the F variety, partly to nudge the older, overdressed people sitting in the audience and partly because that’s just what he does.
Rock Hall CEO Terry Stewart then said a few words, giving Cleveland some love, though his shout-out to governor John Kasich was met with a round of boos. Jann Wenner’s cliché-stuffed speech after that was just boring.
Then the good stuff rolled out. ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill inducted late bluesman Freddie King and then joined Derek Trucks for a trio of King’s songs. King’s daughter Wanda accepted his award and gave one of the night’s best speeches, a funny and affectionate tribute to her father.
John Mellencamp inducted Donovan, taking a playful swipe at the Chili Peppers in his speech. The Scottish singer-songwriter’s own speech was a bit more pretentious, but mockingly so … we think. He sounded a bit rough on the acoustic “Catch the Wind” but settled in for a rousing “Season of the Witch” with Mellencamp.