A great performance takes more than just a great artist. It’s almost always a combination of artist, venue, crowd, material, and some percentage of mysterious happenstance. So there’s about 17 reasons this performance shouldn’t have worked: stolid state venue no doubt crawling with Secret Service, stiff and not exactly soulful crowd, tuxedos and formal gowns, at least one cowboy hat, the silly ribbons on the honorees.
Turns out that none of that mattered.
In a Q&A on his blog at TheWho.com, the legendary axe-slinger said, “My favorite moment was when Bettye LaVette sang a very fine version of ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ at the Gala and Barbra Streisand turned to ask me if I really wrote it.”