Bruno Mars & The Time’s Prince Tribute
When it came time to honor the late, great Prince, the Grammys called on Morris Day and the Time kick off the kind of tribute their longtime friend deserved. The funk purveyors dished up “Jungle Love,” a song straight from Prince’s pen, and had everyone from Beyoncé to DNCE out of their seats as Morris busted out his mirror and signature shuffle. That gave way to Bruno Mars, who continued the Purple Rain showcase with a spot-on recreation of Prince’s purple suit and fluffy blouse, cradling that white guitar and leopard-print strap. Mars brought some of his “Uptown Funk” and “24K Magic” swag to “Let’s Go Crazy.” Although he had already performed his own tune earlier in the night, he was certainly smooth enough to take on a classic from The Purple One. He even exercised his guitar chops with an electric solo that suprised anyone who didn't know he was such a good guitarist.
Metallica and Lady Gaga
Straight off her halftime performance at the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga went full metal with rock legends Metallica on Sunday night. The unlikely duo ultimately triumphed by showing music lovers that A) Lady Gaga has the range, and B) Metallica can duet with anyone. While sharing a microphone, Hetfield and Gaga coursed through “Moth into Flame,” a cut off their 10th album, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct. They took the flame part quite literally, as the stage ignited in a blaze, surrounding drummer Lars Ulrich in a very metal-esque hellfire. As Kirk Hammett slayed the Staples Center with a face-melting solo, Gaga took a break from her scorching vocals to crowd-surf, eventually ending the song on her knees, breathless. Fans can catch a piece of either artist's magic in person this year: both Gaga and Metallica have announced North American tour dates.
Adele’s George Michael Tribute
Like Bruno Mars and Little Big Town, Adele performed twice on Grammy night, opening the show with the ultra-familiar “Hello” and coming back mid-ceremony to honor the late George Michael. Adele had the room drowning in tears when she floated over an orchestral arrangement of Michael’s “Fastlove.” When she accidentally slipped out of key, she popped out an expletive but emotionally insisted on re-do to honor the Michael properly. With famous audience members clutching their hearts, eyes moist, Adele started over and flawlessly carried out the beautiful ballad as images of the pop star flashed behind her. At the end, even Adele was in tears.
We knew Beyoncé would deliver when she was announced as a Grammy performer, but we didn’t expect the other-worldly, spiritual show she put on. A dramatic spoken-word intro about motherhood and an artful larger-than-life video kickstarted the performance as she stepped onstage, glowing with golden light, a metallic halo surrounding her head. She channeled Hindu, Roman and African goddess as she slithered through her Lemonade cuts “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles.” She even walked barefoot down a long table, with disciple-esque dancers undulating around her. The motherhood theme was especially touching, since Bey’s twin-pregnant belly was on proud display—also, mother Tina Knowles introduced her and daughter Blue Ivy was cheering gleefully from the audience.
A Tribe Called Quest feat. Anderson .Paak, Consequence and Busta Rhymes
In the most political moment of the night, A Tribe Called Quest commented on President Donald Trump’s recently overturned immigration ban on Muslim-majority countries. Inviting Anderson .Paak, Consequence and Busta Rhymes onstage (who called Trump “President Agent Orange”), Q-Tip started the performance by saying, “We’d like to say to all of those people around the world, all those people who are pushing people who are in power to represent them, tonight, we represent you.” They launched into “Award Tour,” paying homage to late Tribe member Phife Dog, images of the rapper projected on screens behind them. As they went into “We the People,” they knocked down a symbolic foam wall to reveal a diverse group of extras. Images of passports and signs reading “No Wall No Ban” flashed, while Q-Tip held the hand of a woman wearing a hijab. Tribe closed the performance by leading a “Resist!” chant.