Grammys 2012: Paul McCartney feted as MusiCares Person of the Year
This post has been updated. See the note at the bottom for details.
Is anyone surprised that Friday night’s MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring Paul McCartney shattered the record for the fund-raising event, generating more than $6.5 million for the Recording Academy’s division that provides medical care and other support for musicians in need?
For the price of a ticket (2,800 people paid a minimum of $1,500 to attend), audience members got to hear McCartney perform a handful of numbers as well as a cadre of peers sing his songs, from 25-year-old pop princess Katy Perry to 85-year-old pop music institution Tony Bennett, with the Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Alison Krauss, Duane Eddy, Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, James Taylor, Diana Krall and Sergio Mendes joining them.
The entertainment started with a presentation by what appeared to be the full Cirque du Soleil cast of the Beatles “Love” show in Las Vegas, after which McCartney and his regular touring band appeared and started the live music with his Wings-era single “Junior’s Farm.”
The Foo Fighters took on “Jet,” Keys sang “Blackbird,” Krauss handled “No More Lonely Nights,” Bennett and his combo turned “Here, There and Everywhere” into a swinging jazz tune, Eddy brought his deep twang guitar to “And I Love Her,” Jones took “Oh! Darling,” Perry sang “Hey Jude,” Young bashed through “I Saw Her Standing There,” Mendes emphasized the Latin groove in “The Fool on the Hill,” Coldplay did “We Can Work It Out,” Krall sang “For No One” and Taylor crooned “Yesterday.”
Comedian Eddie Izzard emceed, periodically filling time between performer changes with a comically fictionalized biography of McCartney’s life, telling the crowd that the night’s honoree started out as a fisherman born to Jacques Cousteau and Katharine Hepburn, and joined the Beatles with John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, flutist Muhammad Ali and xylophone player Charles DeGaulle.
McCartney looked on from his table, where he was seated with his bride Nancy Shevell, often standing and applauding the performers.
Then McCartney returned and delivered “My Valentine” and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” from his new “Kisses on the Bottom” album, with backing from Krall and an orchestra, then rejoined his band for “Nineteen Eighty-Five” from his “Band on the Run” album and concluded with “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End” medley from the Beatles’ 1969 “Abbey Road.”
“Thank you everybody,” the 69-year-old former moptop told the audience. “That’s it — go home!” Then he added, “Thank you for coming, and thank you for caring.”
Ticket sales for the event raised well above the previous high of $5 million, academy president Neil Portnow told an assembled crowd (former honorees include Barbra Streisand, Neil Young, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder).
[Updated at 12:13 p.m. Feb. 11: An earlier post estimated attendance at 4,000. Event officials said 2,800 people were at the event.]
A silent auction of hundreds of items of artwork, music, jewelry, travel, food and entertainment packages gave way to a quick live auction that included a customized Acura that sold for $80,000 and a baby grand piano hand-painted by pop artist Peter Max that had belonged to Ringo Starr that went for $175,000.
An expanded report will appear in Monday's Calendar section along with full coverage of Sunday night's Grammy Awards ceremony.
Photo: Paul McCartney at the MusiCares event Friday night. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times