Ed on Kennedy Center Honors Broadcast

by Kathy Davis on December 29, 2009

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder is scheduled to appear in the Kennedy Center Honors Broadcast on CBS-TV (U.S.) Tuesday December 29th, 9 p.m.  Click here to find your local CBS Station. 

Here are the details edited from the Kennedy Center website:

Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro, and Bruce Springsteen receive the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors

The 2009 Kennedy Center Honors will be broadcast on the CBS Network for the 32nd consecutive year as a two-hour primetime special on Tuesday, December 29 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

Eminent artist friends and peers of this year’s five honorees converged in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, December 6 to present entertaining and heartfelt tributes at the 32nd annual Kennedy Center Honors, an entertainment special to be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 29 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, with Caroline Kennedy as host for the seventh consecutive year. This marks the 32nd anniversary of this acclaimed special, which has been broadcast on CBS each year since its debut in 1978. This annual event recognizes recipients for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures and television.

Performers and presenters included Roger Bart, Gary Beach, Jack Black, Matthew Broderick, Harry Connick, Jr., Cory English, Simon Estes, Melissa Etheridge, Aretha Franklin, Angela Gheorghiu, Herbie Hancock, Ben Harper, Shuler Hensley, Harvey Keitel, Ron Kovic, Jane Krakowski, Richard Kind, Frank Langella, John Mellencamp, Matthew Morrison, Jennifer Nettles, Edward Norton, Carl Reiner, Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman, Martin Scorsese, Martin Short, Jon Stewart, Ben Stiller, Sting, Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep, and Eddie Vedder.

President and Mrs. Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were seated with the honorees in the Presidential Box of the Kennedy Center Opera House, after having just hosted the traditional White House reception for the honorees.

Host Caroline Kennedy commenced the festivities by quoting her father, President John F. Kennedy, who said, “I look forward to an America that will not be afraid of grace and beauty. I look forward to an America that will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft.” She described the five 2009 honorees as “a piano virtuoso from the California hills whose inspired rhythms made him America’s herald of a new age of jazz; a good fella from the mean streets of New York who redefined acting and made movie audiences an offer they couldn’t refuse; the little girl from a St. Louis church choir who could hit high C and became the diva we cheered in the houses of grand opera; a mischievous boy from Brooklyn who provoked billions of laughs by walking loudly and carrying a big schtick; and a rocker from the Jersey Shore who composed his own musical universe and – across America and the world – became the Boss.”

Multiple Emmy Award-winning talk show host Jon Stewart opened a funny and touching tribute to multiple Grammy Award, Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen, stating that although on paper he and Springsteen didn’t seem to have much in common, they have one very important thing that binds them – they are both from New Jersey. “I am not a music critic. Nor historian, nor archivist. I cannot tell you where Bruce Springsteen falls in the pantheon of the American songbook. I cannot illuminate the context of his work, or its roots in the folk and oral history traditions of our great nations. But I am from New Jersey. So, I can tell you what I believe. And what I believe is that Bob Dylan and James Brown had a baby. Yes! And they abandoned this child, as you can imagine at the time…interracial, same sex relationships being what they were…they abandoned this baby by the side of the road between the exit interchanges 8A and 9 on the Jersey Turnpike…that child was Bruce Springsteen.”

He continued, “I believe that Bruce Springsteen is an unprecedented combination of lyrical eloquence, musical mastery and sheer unbridled, unadulterated joy. Exuberance in the act of telling stories so familiar, stories that have never been told so well or so uniquely. And I know he’s hating this right now. He’s a modest man, and he doesn’t like sitting there in that little box, with his little suit, wearing a little rainbow dreamcatcher or whatever they have on there…he doesn’t like it. He wishes he had his guitar and that I would shut up, but I will not. He is the Boss…But I didn’t understand his music for a long time, until I began to yearn. Until I began to question the things that I was making and doing in my own life. Until I realized that it wasn’t just about the joyful parade on stage and the theatrics. It was about stories of lives that could be changed. And that the only status that you could fail to achieve is the status quo. The only thing, the only failure in life was not to make the effort to change our station. And it resonated with me because, and I say this truly to him…I would not be here, God knows, not even in this business if it were not for the inspirational words and music of Bruce Springsteen.”

Golden Globe Award-winning writer Ron Kovic then took the stage, explaining how he first met Bruce Springsteen at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Hollywood in 1978. A random encounter led to an exchange of the artists’ work, and a friendship was born between the Born on the Fourth of July author and Vietnam Veteran and the “Born in the U.S.A.” musician. Kovic introduced Springsteen’s musical tribute, which began with the Rob Mathes All-Star band performing “10th Avenue Freeze Out,” followed by Grammy Award-winning musician John Mellencamp crooning “Born in the U.S.A.” Next, was a medley of “My Father’s House,” “Glory Days” and “I’m on Fire” by multi-Grammy winners Ben Harper and Jennifer Nettles, accompanied by the Rob Mathes band. Grammy Award and Academy Award-winning musician Melissa Etheridge belted out “Born to Run,” followed by Grammy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning singer Eddie Vedder’s explosive rendition of “My City of Ruins.” Finally, musical powerhouse Sting, with multiple Grammy, Golden Globe and Emmy Award wins to his name, rocked the house with an amazing performance of “The Rising,” joined by The Joyce Garrett Choir and the rest of the performers for the evening’s rousing conclusion.

Here is a wee gallery of Ed and his pretty lady Jill McCormick on the Red Carpet at the taping December 6th, courtesy WireImage.com:

Rock with honor!

Kathy Davis ( Twitter: @CrookedArm23 )
A Bay-Area based entrepreneur, co-editor Kathy conceives and writes her share of TFT’s articles and sections. She was co-editor/co-founder of one of the first Pearl Jam fanzines "Footsteps" (1992-1997). Kathy’s first Pearl Jam show was at the Bridge School Benefit on November 1, 1992.

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