Cleveland rocked on Friday night with private parties and public performances as the city geared up for its third Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The biggest bash, size-wise, was a gala at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum, where hundreds gathered to eat, check out shrine’s intoxicating new Grateful Dead exhibit, and musical performances by Darlene Love, Michael Stanley, .38 Special’s Jeff Carlisi and Felix Cavaliere, who turned Rascals hits such as “Groovin'” and “People Got to Be Free” into buoyant soul revue medleys that touched on the Temptations’ “My Girl,” Martha & the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run,” Sly & the Family Stone’s “Everyday People” and the gospel standard “Oh Happy Day” before wrapping up with “Good Lovin’.”
Among those checking out the affair were incoming inductees from Bill Haley’s Comets, Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps and Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, whose Norman Thrasher and Lawson Smith spent some time chatting with 2011 inductee Alice Cooper and his wife, Sheryl. Producing legend Cosimo Matassa, another inductee, also hung out, along with a dapper George Clinton and ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons and Dusty Hill and Derek Trucks, who will be performing in honor of Early Influence inductee Freddie King along with Joe Bonamassa. “Lemme tell ya, Billy Gibbons sounds great on this stuff” after a Friday rehearsal, Trucks told Billboard.com. Matt Sorum, who will be inducted as part of Guns N’ Roses, was also spotted checking out the bash.
Sorum then headed up to the House of Blues, where he and former GNR guitarist Gilby Clarke guested at Duff McKagan’s concert for a shortened version of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (sung by the audience) and “Patience” – heightening rumors that the GNR members attending the induction ceremony will still perform even without frontman Axl Rose ( Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy, who sings in guitarist Slash’s band, is the predicted favorite to fill the slot). McKagan was also joined by 2012 inductee Donovan’s namesake son, Donovan Leitch.
Across the street, at the Corner Alley, the Red Hot Chili Peppers hosted a party where mostly friends and family, including former drummers Cliff Martinez and Jack Irons, enjoyed everything from meats with special dips to s’mores while bowling and playing pool. Bassist Flea was a nearly constant presence on the alleys, while drummer Chad Smith preceded his Rock Hall induction with another trophy — this one presented by his mother — after defeating one of his nephews in a family pool tournament.
Motown royalty, meanwhile, gathered at Anatomy nightclub for a party hosted by the Miracles’ Pete Moore to celebrate the group’s impending induction. Moore, Smokey Robinson, inducted as a solo act in 1987, and ex-wife and former Miracle Claudette Robinson were joined by members of the Vandellas, members of the late Four Tops singer Levi Stubb’s family and Katherine Schaffner at the small and pleasantly sedate affair. Moore’s niece, Vee, sang, and after the party Claudette Robinson headed over to the Rock Hall for a personally guided tour with her daughter Tamia, granddaughter Lyric and friends.
The Rock Hall induction ceremony takes place Saturday night at Cleveland’s Public Hall and will be filmed for a May 5 broadcast premiere on HBO.