Pre-Grammy parties kicked off in a big way Friday night at the L.A. Convention Center with a guitar auction benefitting Grammy’s philanthropic arm, MusiCares.
Bruce Springsteen, who was the honored musician for the evening, threw in a personal guitar lesson, a ride in the sidecar of his motorcycle, a backstage tour and lasagna made by his 87-year-old mother.
Springsteen admonished the crowd, telling them “Dig in, one percenters!” The package eventually was bought by a New Jersey woman for a whopping $250,000.
Musicians performing Springsteen tunes included Elton John, Neil Young, John Legend and Mumford & Sons. As an encore, Springsteen and several members of E Street Band played a five-song set.
Also on Friday, AAM founders Mark Beaven and Andy Kipnes hosted the 16th annual Friends ‘n Family pre-Grammy celebration on the Paramount lot to benefit Rock the Vote. Carly Rae Jepsen, Paul Oakenfold and Swedish House Mafia performed for the crowd, which also included Heather Graham, Macy Gray, Nick Lachey, Taio Cruz and Brooke Burke.
The vibe at the 2013 Clive Davis pre-Grammys gala at the Beverly Hilton was very different from last year, when Davis’ great star Whitney Houston died suddenly hours before the event. On Saturday, the Sony Music executive, calling himself “the keeper of her flame,” honored Houston by playing a 1991 concert clip of “All the Man I Need.”
Otherwise, the evening, which honored Epic Records chairman-CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid, was a more light-hearted affair, kicked off by introductions from Recording Academy prexy Neil Portnow and CBS president-CEO Les Moonves, who called the fete “the most important date on all of our calendars.”
As usual, Davis’ musical offerings cut across the musical spectrum. The show featured rousing renditions of “Gloria” and “People Have the Power” by punk doyenne Patti Smith (whom Davis signed to Arista Records in 1975); lively versions of “Sure Thing” and “Adorn” by breakout R&B star and quintuple 2013 nominee Miguel; a romp through “Stubborn Love” and the inescapable “Ho Hey” by best new artist nominees the Lumineers; and a solo “Heaven” and big-band “Next to Me” by breaking British star Emeli Sande.
Jennifer Hudson wrapped the evening by performing “Where Peaceful Waters Flow” in tribute to Gladys Knight, who joined her for a roof-raising “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
Saturday’s festivities also included the 7th annual Primary Wave Music Pre-Grammy Party, which moved this year to BOA Steakhouse. Hosted by chief creative officer Cee Lo Green, the venue brought the old school rocker vibe by remembering the rock n’ roll roots of the Sunset Strip.
For late night fun, Compound Entertainment offered the fifth annual Midnight Brunch hosted by Ne-Yo at STK. The West Hollywood One Group restaurant offered late-night funseekers a red light district filled with go-go dancers as well as a performance from Ne-Yo.Celebs in attendance included Miley Cyrus, Sean Combs, French Montana and Meek Mill.
Earlier in the week, the Sunset Marquis was converted into the Morrison Hotel on Thursday night, attracting Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Billy Bob Thornton and “Gossip Girl’s” Ed Westwick to view photos of rock royalty. Photographer/curator Timothy White, who’s been a hotel regular since the mid ’80s, convinced management that the photos and the hotel’s storied corridors were a perfect match. — Steve Chagollan and Erin Maxwell contributed to this report.