Tonight is one of my favorite evenings of the year. Each year, two nights before the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy (the body that puts on the Grammys) holds an event called MusiCares’ Person of the Year dinner. The Academy salutes an artist for his or her musical and philanthropical contributions and other artists fete him or her by performing songs that person made famous.
Tonight, the honoree is Bruce Springsteen, my favorite artist. The Recording Academy has been on an unbelievable roll: the past three years’ honorees were Neil Young, Barbra Streisand and Paul McCartney. Among the artists who will be singing The Boss’s songs tonight will be Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Jackson Browne, Patti Smith, Sting, and many more.
It’s an intimate evening (well, as intimate an evening as 3,000 people can be) and a really great hang. There are no velvet ropes and most of the artists are very approachable. Since no awards are being handed out, there’s no pressure of being a winner or loser and everyone isn’t too tired yet from running the Grammy gauntlet (while most folks will only see the big awards show on Feb. 10, the days leading up to the televised ceremony are crammed with related events, so much so that by the time the actual Grammys roll around, everyone is usually exhausted).
The MusiCares honoree can perform if he or she wants to and they usually do, so that means in addition to getting to see all these other artists, I’ll get to see Springsteen sing too (though it probably doesn’t technically count as my 44th Bruce show).
The evening raises millions of dollars for MusiCares, which provides medical, financial and personal aid to those in the music community. As I’ve written about before, musicians are a chronically under-insured bunch, and MusiCares is there to help from medical disasters to natural disasters, such as aiding musicians in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Today’s $10 goes to MusiCares. For my fellow Bruce fans, I’ll see if I can get into the equivalent of The Pit.
Feb. 8: MusiCares: http://www.grammy.org/musicares
39 down, 326 to go!