Bret Michaels isn’t above stealing a Grammy. After crooning “Nothin’ But A Good Time,” the Poison frontman – who has never attained Grammy gold – jokingly announced onstage at a Grammy Foundation event Thursday that he was on the prowl to nab a trophy.
The rocker was among more than a dozen performers at “One Night Only: A Celebration Of The Live Music Experience,” the 14th annual Grammy Foundation Music Preservation Project.
“This is as close as I’ve ever got to a Grammy,” said Michaels while standing next to a mammoth Grammy statue. “I’m the Susan Lucci of rock and roll.”
This year’s event paid tribute to the forms of live music, including concerts, festivals and venues ranging from The Troubadour in Los Angeles to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. Other performers included Mavis Staples, Ledisi, Dave Koz and Trombone Shorty, who teamed up at one point during the show for a jazzy rendition of “I’ll Take You There.”
“Tonight’s event enables us to highlight the Grammy Foundation’s efforts to keep our rich musical heritage alive for future generations – part of the Recording Academy’s ongoing educational mission,” Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, told the diverse crowd of Grammy winners, nominees and music lovers inside the Saban Theatre.
The event began with selections from Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony by the student musicians from the Colburn Orchestra. Other performers included Grammy winners Shelby Lynne, Robert Cray and Jonny Lang, who dueted with “The Voice” finalist Beverly McClellan.
“The vibe of a live performance, there is nothing like it in the world,” said Ozzfest co-founder and “America’s Got Talent” judge Sharon Osbourne, who co-hosted the event. “It doesn’t matter if it’s for 100 people or 100,000 people. It gives me goosebumps. As we get ready for the Grammys, which honor the year’s best recordings, we should remember that all music begins as live music.”
Clips about live music performances from the foundation’s archives, including a tribute to the iconic Greenwich Village folk music coffeehouse Caffe Lena in New York City, were showcased between performances.
Laura “LP” Pergolizzi wowed the crowd with her ukulele skills, whistling prowess and soaring voice on her song “Into the Wild” before launching into a glassy cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” which prompted fans in the audience to lavish the curly-haired singer with a standing ovation.
“Artists can break on YouTube or Facebook, but no matter what, you still need to get in front of a crowd of real live humans,” said Grammy-winning guitarist and event co-host Steve Vai. “When we get together and we’re watching, we’re communicating with the band by feeling them, and it creates this atmosphere, which is the live music experience that we just love so much.”