By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Thegreencarpetstoodinplaceof the red carpet, apparently some kind of marketing push designed to link one of the party’s sponsors — Heineken — with the stuff celebrities walk on. Vibeand Spinmagazines supplied the street cred and entertainment for the Grammy pre-party at the Henry Ford Theater last Saturday night, and erstwhile Fugee Wyclef was the main attraction. Most people were pretty sure he was playing, or would be playing, sometime between 9 p.m. and midnight, or whenever he felt like it, possibly even if he didn’t.
In the meantime, the DJ was good, and the aging record execs were everywhere displaying dexterous cell-phoning and power-drinking skills. I met several people from New York who told me they “flew in for the Grammys, going home Monday” as if it were akin to hopping over to Davos for the World Economic Forum. There was an opening band of some sort and a lot of very attractive people going outside to smoke cigarettes and then the DJ again, playing that song by the Killers.
Wyclef finally took the stage, opening with a reggae medley that was slow and sad and ended with much screaming about loving marijuana and the Fugees and putting your hands in the air and the LAPD and kicking someone’s ass and loving marijuana. The next song was sort of a hyper version of the first one:
The guy next to me leaned over and whispered, “When did he become a wedding singer?” and somebody else chimed in, “Aerobics instructor’s more like it.”
Later, there was a version of “Redemption Song” that was so askew even the black folks couldn’t dance to it. Wyclef followed that with much fuss about the audience’s need to remove most of their clothing. When that didn’t work, he just started pulling a seemingly never-ending supply of half-naked women up onstage with him.
There’s been some talk since he left the Fugees about whether or not this dude is wacko. All I’m saying on the subject is that it’s a thin line between insanity and the sort of genius that leads a man to play a 40-minute version of a song composed of four notes repeated over and over, that came to a sudden and dire halt when Wyclef again started screaming, this time at his band:
After everyone onstage stopped playing and everyone in the audience stopped laughing, Wyclef took the microphone and soberly faced the audience. “I am not Kobe Bryant,” he admonished. He then turned to the offending white girl and said, “I am not Kobe Byrant, but I will fuck the ever-living shit out of you.”
Which is when my date decided the whole thing was clearly a parable of some kind, and I went to get a beer, only to find out that, although the show was not yet over, the bar had run out of Heineken.
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