And the Winner is…

So, after years of hearing “…and the Oscar goes to…” it seems like they’ve gone back to the old way of announcing winners at the Academy Awards. Fine with me, I always thought of awards shows as a sort of a competition anyway. While I didn’t see nearly enough of the nominees to judge what should have won versus what actually did win, I was stunned to see a Wallace & Gromit short not win.

8 & a half pounds of love

Interesting how this year, like most years, the production spends an inordinate amount of time on not-always funny bits (see Ben Stiller in the “Avatar” outfit during the Best Make Up segment), but won’t hesitate to cut a winner’s microphone if they take too long making an acceptance speech. But hey, speaking of that particular award, nice to see “Star Trek” win an Oscar. Instead of having that online “thank you” cam backstage for winners to read their list of agents, lawyers and other people who needed thanks, maybe just take some of the sketches and weaker jokes and make those online only.

Slamming Slowhand

Pam and I went to see the Clapton show at the Forum Friday night (if you know me well enough, you know who she is, if you’re a casual reader, she’s the woman currently putting up with me). Anyway, an executive where she works and where I used to work has access to a box at the forum and graciously passed his tickets to the show along to us. As I mentioned on Facebook, former Memphis City Councilman Jack Sammons is one of the co-owners of the box, and he was happy to see Pam. I haven’t talked to him since 1995 or 96, so I don’t think he recognized me. We had a great view, but since the box was on the opposite end of the hall, it was really too far away for decent pictures, so I don’t have any decent pictures from the show.

I was impressed that Roger Daltrey of the Who was the opening act, especially considering he just finished a tour of his own (the “Use It or Lose It” tour) and appearing at the Super Bowl. He sang with a lot of energy for a 66-year-old grandfather. And while Pete Townshend doesn’t tour anymore because of his tinnitus, his brother Simon handled rhythm guitar just fine.

While Roger doesn’t have a wide range of solo hits to wow a crowd, being the voice of the Who gives you a lot of material for a show, doesn’t it? The only drawback about being the opening act is that the stage and lights are usually designed for the headliner, and that was no different here.

The crowd was psyched when Clapton came out. I thought the show was a nice mix of high and low energy. That is, he sat down mid-show for a semi-acoustic set and picked things up near the end of the show. The lighting design was much more imaginative than during Daltrey’s set… and the big screen monitors were in color for Clapton. I had a good time, and it seemed like the crowd was into the show too… but the reviewer for the Commercial Appeal had a decidedly different take, portraying Clapton more as “Slowdown” rather than “Slowhand.” I do agree with writer Bob Mehr on a point. Daltrey did talk to the crowd, even trying to recall the last time he played Memphis. About the only thing Clapton had to say was “thank you” after each song. Geez dude, you’ve been around while, tell a couple of stories next time.

I do want to say that it was the first time I’d been to an event in the FedEx Forum. Nice facility, clean, and the staff does an excellent job. And since this is Memphis, yes, I feel like I actually have to say that.

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