Grammy night!

Oh, Grammys, how nice it was to spend some time with you again last night. I missed you.

Last night's Grammys show was arguably the most anticipated in recent memory. ... It seems like it's been a couple years, since I really got to soak it in and enjoy the show. So, maybe it was the blur of the last couple years' shows that caused me so much excitement for this year's awards.

Either way, I was not disappointed.

We counted down the nights last week as the big show drew closer. For our household it was like the Super Bowl all over again. But perhaps more exciting than the football. Few things make me happier than good music.

Our pregame was the Adele interview on "60 Minutes." ... I've said it again and again. The woman was everywhere in 2011, and rightly so. Those who follow music closely had her "21" album pegged as a serious Album of the Year candidate even before its release early last year. Some of my most vivid memories of the year have that album playing in the background, from unpacking boxes in our new house on a Saturday morning last spring, to being mesmerized with the "Rolling in the Deep" video from the first time I saw it, to a late night of work last fall with my cohorts in the office as a student group blasted the album outside, to the instant classic of a "Saturday Night Live" skit that featured "Someone Like You."

I keep wondering if this is what it was like in 1977 after the release of "Rumours," or in 1983 after the release of "Thriller." I have some recollection that this is what it was like in 1993 after "The Bodyguard" was released.

... Plus, there's so much to like about Adele.

* * *

On with the Grammys show ...

Bruce Springsteen opened the festivities. I'm not a big fan of Bruce, but I really enjoyed his opening act -- strings and all.

With the first performance out of the way and the crowd settled, we got the standard pan of the stars. There was Taylor Swift, looking pretty as usual. Katy Perry, with blue hair. And Lady Gaga, wearing a full body fish net. ... At one point during the telecast, the TV flashed a shot of Lady Gaga sitting next to Miranda Lambert, and I couldn't help but chuckle at the odd pairing.

The moment that LL Cool J led the Grammys audience in a prayer for Whitney Houston was a touching one. ... Then, during a montage of Whitney that followed, Phoebe stood in front of the TV, staring at the screen. And at a point where Whitney was shown hitting one of her out-of-this-world notes, Phoebe blurted out "Who is that singing?!"

For me, the first highlight of the night came courtesy of Bruno Mars. To quote one of my Twitter friends, he killed it. ... Arguably, my favorite performance of the night.

Shortly afterward, the award for Best Pop Solo Performance. As the songs up for the award were run off, I thought, Tough category when you think of the play the songs and artists in this category have had during the last year. Lady Gaga: "You and I." Bruno Mars: "Grenade." Katy Perry: "Firework." Pink: "Perfect." Adele: "Someone Like You." ... Alas, Adele won it, and I said, "Let the route begin."

The Rihanna-Coldplay collaboration was a disappointment. And awkward.

But the Chipotle Foundation commercial that followed -- featuring Willie Nelson redoing Coldplay's "The Scientist" -- was fantastic.

In the Best Rock Performance, I was rooting for Coldplay. But it went to the Foo Fighters, to the surprise of almost no one. … In the acceptance speech, Dave Grol said he’s proud of his band's record because they made it in a garage with some microphones and a tape machine. He went on to say making good music isn't about sounding perfect or having the latest and greatest technology. I almost stood up and applauded.

* * *

While it might have been the most anticipated Grammys show in recent memory, there was no individual performance I anticipated more than that of the Beach Boys, especially when I learned Foster the People would perform with them.

And speaking of artists who were everywhere last year, another was Foster the People, thanks to their "Pumped Up Kicks." Which, by the way, is currently Phoebe's favorite song. She knows and sings to most of the chorus -- hey, don't judge my parenting skills; it's got a fun melody and I had no idea she'd learn to like the song so much -- and she's calls it "the children song" because the chorus includes the word kids. Cute. ... In addition to watching Adele's "60 Minutes" interview, we warmed up for the Grammys by playing "Pumped Up Kicks" and dancing in the living room.

Somewhere I missed the note that Foster the People would play as part of a tribute performance with the Beach Boys. Instead, I was having giddy visions of Foster the People performing "Pumped Up Kicks" with the Beach Boys adding their own twist and harmonies. After all, the song has a summery surf vibe that's right up the Beach Boys alley. And oh, that "Pumped Up" base line ...

As it turned out, that's not at all what happened. But the tribute was just as swell.

Maroon 5's cover of "Surfer Girl" was so slick that if it appears on iTunes tomorrow, I'll download it in a heartbeat. Foster the People’s take on “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” wasn't as good, but still pretty decent for my tastes. I especially liked that they dressed in the Beach Boys' vintage striped look.

When the real Beach Boys appeared, I was pleased to hear them perform "Good Vibrations," although I would have preferred a longer Beach Boys montage that also included hits like "Fun, Fun, Fun" and "I Get Around." ... Unfortunately, the performance was more fun to hear than to watch. Quite simply, they're hardly the band they once were.

Check out this gem featuring Jack Benny and Bob Hope getting hip with the Beach Boys.

* * *
Paul McCartney’s “My Valentine” nearly put me to sleep. I didn’t love it.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by Taylor Swift’s cheerful, bouncy performance of "Mean." ... I like Taylor’s music a lot. But if you think about her history of poor live performances (See: The 2010 Grammys, 8:46 mark), her Grammys showing this year was pretty good. ... I'm a sucker for cheerful, bouncy performances.

Plus from Twitter ...

* * *

Adele won Song of the Year, hands-down for "Rolling in the Deep."

And then she sang. ... And the twitterverse either exploded, or went silent, depending on your point of view.
@globerodman: Adele! Adele! Adele! Starting off a cappella. Translation: "This is live singing, y'all!" #welcomeback #Grammys

@EW: Quiet now. Adele's singing

@USATodayMusic: Adele. Nuff' said. #Grammys

@JPosnanski: How magical is it to be able to just suddenly do something and make jaws drop? #adele

She was amazing. As expected. ... And if it wasn't for Bruno Mars' dazzling dance moves, this would've been my favorite performance of the night.

* * *

There was the Glenn Campbell tribute, which was another neat moment. I must admit though, I only know about Glenn Campbell because he toured with the Beach Boys back in the day. I’d be hard pressed to name one of his songs.

Carrie Underwood with Tony Bennett went down as my favorite collaboration on a night filled with them. From Alicia Keys with Bonnie Raitt, to Kelly Clarkson with Jason Aldean, to Rihanna with Coldplay. And all the kids that played with the Beach Boys.

When Bon Iver won Best New Artist, I sprang from the couch, pumped my fist and let out a loud "Yes!" I thought The Band Perry had that one wrapped up, but I was glad to be wrong. … I was hooked on the guy when I caught the buzz surrounding his first album already a couple years old. The shout out to Eau Claire, Wis., was nice, too.

And how could you not have chills running through your spine as Jennifer Hudson performed “I Will Always Love You” ?

* * *
Finally, Paul McCartney performed the Beatles' "Abbey Road" medley of "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight," and "The End." Classic.

Icing on the cake: Watching Sir Paul jam it up with Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh and Dave Grol.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Thank you, Grammys. See you next year!

Good reads ...
a Grammys 2012: The full list of winners
a A Prayer, a Celebration and a Coronation
a Chicago Tribune music critic
a The New York Times Critics' Notebook
a Rolling Stone
a EW: We Grade the Performances
a Nicki Minaj levitates, lights fires, speaks in tongues for Grammys performance of new single 'Roman Holiday' ... Worst performance ever.
a There's more to Adele's song than lyrics, more than music

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