NASHVILLE—The Grammys had some unforgettable moments this year, from Kendrick Lamar to Lady Gaga and even a touch of country. As well, it was a night of career firsts for Canadian artists—including Justin Bieber and The Weeknd—who in all brought home six awards.
Here are a few of the top moments from the 58th annual Grammy Awards:
King Kendrick Reigns
Kendrick Lamar’s cinematic and energetic performance shone at a Grammys show full of slow songs and ballads. He started the performance shackled in chains singing “The Blacker the Berry,” but broke free to perform his anthem “Alright” in front of a massive bonfire.
He ended the performance in front of an image of a map of Africa labelled with the name of his California hometown of Compton. It was a true Grammy moment, one that was deftly executed, daring, and culturally significant.
Lamar was the big winner of the night with five trophies and although he did not take home album or song of the year, the Recording Academy showed that they are not so stuffy that they can’t recognize a musical vanguard.
Lady Gaga Honours Bowie
Lady Gaga and producer Nile Rodgers put together a memorable tribute to the musical chameleon David Bowie, complete with her sporting bright red hair and costumes reflecting Bowie’s unique styles, as well as splashy technical visuals.
She managed to fit together snippets of 10 of Bowie’s iconic songs, including “Space Oddity” and “Heroes,” into a psychedelic sing-along as she danced all over the stage. It was clearly a performance that Lady Gaga put her whole heart into.
Taylor Doesn’t Need Kanye
Donning a new bob and a sparkly jumpsuit, Taylor Swift opened the 2016 Grammys with a performance of “Out of the Woods.” Backed by Jack Antonoff on guitar, Swift sounded triumphant as she walked through the audience while glitter rained down inside the Staples Center.
Everyone was wondering if anyone at the Grammys would mention Kanye West’s latest diss of the pop star, who claimed in a new song, “Famous,” that he made her famous.
Swift didn’t mention him in her acceptance speech for album of the year for “1989,” but delivered a strong rebuke against those she said would try to “take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.” It was seen as a pointed response to West’s claim.
Stellar Singers Take the Stage
The Weeknd continues to impress on big stages and delivered another stirring performance of “In the Night,” backed by a piano and a cellist.
Because the Grammys are so often dominated by pop, it was a rare treat to see Bonnie Raitt join standout country singer Chris Stapleton and Gary Clark Jr. for “The Thrill Is Gone,” a soulful tribute to the late blues legend B.B. King. They are all excellent musicians who let the guitars do the singing for once.
From The Canadian Press