The Roots curating their annual Grammy Jam at the House of Blues Los Angeles. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
Despite a high-energy jam session that featured surprise guest performers like India Arie, Trombone Shorty, Childish Gambino, Warren Haynes and Shaggy, Roots drummer Questlove had other thoughts weighing heavy on his mind during Saturday night's 8th annual Roots Jam Session at the House of Blues in Los Angeles -- namely the tragic sudden passing of pop icon Whitney Houston.
"man. 4:40am & this whitney shit is still f**king w/ me. dunno why....i mean MJ was my idol & i cried but i wasn't depressed. THIS however...," Questlove Tweeted in the early morning hours following the hip-hop group's performance, which packed the House of Blues on Sunset Strip.
?uestlove manning the drums, and probably tweeting at the same time. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
Taking place just hours after the news broke of Houston's mysterious death, it was assumed that this year's pre-Grammy Roots Jam Session -- which in the past has attracted such surprise guest performers as Jay-Z, John Mayer, Prince, Chaka Khan, Snoop Dogg, Queen Latifah, Norah Jones, Cee Lo and Slash -- would've heavily paid tribute to the late singer. Surprisingly, there was only one onstage rest-in-peace shout-out given to Houston by beatboxer Rahzel during the entire show. Singer Elle Varner also remembered Houston by performing a noteworthy version of the pop icon's "Saving All My Love for You."
Elle Varner making a cameo at the Roots Grammy Jam, where she paid tribute to Whitney Houston with a version of "Saving All My Love For You." (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
In the minutes after the concert ended around 2 a.m., Billboard.biz commented on Twitter about the lack of a Houston tribute during the Jam Session. Not long after, Questlove responded to the Tweet saying that more artists were scheduled to appear at the show to honor Houston, but were no-shows.
"@billboardbiz we had a lot of #whitenyhouston on the fly tribute planned but all of our cameos were no shows," the Roots drummer Tweeted.
- Questo of The Roots (@questlove) February 12, 2012
Taking a glance at the set list (see below), it appears that Melanie Fiona and Marsha Ambrosius were scheduled to appear alongside the Roots at last night's Jam Session . According to the set list, Ambrosius had planned to sing Houston's "The Greatest Love of All."
The intended set list for the Roots' session, which included the planned appearances by Melanie Fiona and Marsha Ambrosius. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
But while Houston's passing was no doubt on everyone's mind at the House of Blues last night, the Roots helped ease the pain for a moment through head-bobbing performances that kept the audience in high spirits.
India Arie letting it all out with The Roots. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
The crowd at the House of Blues. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
Shaggy's star turn, performing his hits "Boombastic" and "It Wasn't Me." (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
Trombone Shorty and Warren Haynes guesting. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)
Childish Gambino and Warren Haynes on stage with The Roots. (Photo: Fred Shavies/3680 Photography)