Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Grammys And Tigers

TigerBlog did something the other night that he can't remember ever doing before.

He watched the Grammy Awards.

The show started at 8:00 Sunday night on CBS. Of course, TB couldn't have avoided knowing that, since he got four identical text messages within five seconds of each other, all announcing that Bruce Springsteen was going to be opening the show.

And so TB tuned in to see The Boss, and he stayed tuned in for most of it.

This came on the heels of a pretty strong weekend of Princeton Athletics, and it all left TB with these thoughts:

* The new Springsteen album comes out in a few weeks, and TB has pre-ordered it on iTunes. Springsteen could put out an album of Gregorian chants and TB would pre-order it.

* The men's basketball game against Harvard featured a great atmosphere in Jadwin Gym. The building was designed to be a multi-purpose facility and as such sacrificed some of the amenities that a basketball-only building would have (not to mention it's 43 years old), but when it's nearly filled like it was the other night, it's still a great place to see a game.

* The song "We Take Care Of Our Own" that Springsteen has released and then performed with the E Street Band at the Grammys is pretty good, and TB can see himself using it for the Princeton Varsity Club senior banquet video in a few months. When the band plays live, it just looks like they're having an insane amount of fun, as opposed to trying so hard for the right look or statement or whatever so many other groups try to do. It's part of what makes them by far the best.

* TB isn't a huge fan of the rushing the court phenomenon, but he understands why the Princeton students did so after the win over Harvard, a it was a very spontaneous expression of excitement. As with the four text messages that he got about the Springsteen appearance, TB got four text messages from people watching on TV who wondered why Princeton would rush the court after beating Harvard, something Princeton has now done 23 straight years at Jadwin.

* There is no doubt what the highlight of the Grammys was (shockingly, it wasn't Springsteen), and TB will get to that in a few paragraphs. Hint - it wasn't the appearance by Super Bowl champs Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham, but that was fun to write.

* Harvard has to really hate Princeton when it comes to men's basketball, after the way Princeton beat the Crimson last year in the Ivy playoff and then this year at Jadwin, knocking Harvard out of the Top 25 like that. From the opening tip-off Saturday, it was clear that this was not just another game, and the electricity was present in the building from start to finish. From what TB understands, the ESPNU broadcast did a great job of capturing it.

* While not THE highlight of the Grammys, TigerBlog thought the Beach Boys tribute was outstanding. Maroon 5 did a great job on "Surfer Girl," especially lead singer Adam Levine, who was handed a song that is not easy to do. And then the group that TB had never heard of - Foster the People - did an even better job on "Wouldn't It Be Nice." When the original Beach Boys came out for "Good Vibrations," TB thought there was no way they'd be able to harmonize the way they used to, but they came close enough for it to be impressive. Except for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the Beach Boys are up there with any musical act TB has ever heard.

* The Princeton win over Harvard might not derail the Crimson from the league title and NCAA tournament, but it did make the challenge much greater. A Harvard win would have left the Crimson two games clear of the field, instead of the one-game edge that the team has over Yale and Penn (and two on Princeton and Cornell). Harvard has to play all four again, and Yale and Penn now know that if they win the rest of their games, they're assured of at least a tie for the league title. Had Harvard beaten Princeton, the race was over.

* Taylor Swift's performance was, well, impressive. As anyone who has a current middle school daughter can understand, TB has heard a million Miley Cyrus songs (from the days when elementary school girls couldn't get enough Hannah Montana) and very little Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is a way better performer and doesn't appear to be heading towards the same train wreck that Miley seems to be embracing these days.

* Had Harvard's women beaten Princeton Saturday in Cambridge, then things would have looked much different in that race. Instead, Princeton defeated Harvard by 28 after leading by as many as 45, running its record to 7-0 in the league and, unlike the Harvard men, going up two games (in the loss column) on the field. Princeton has won its first seven league games by these margins of victories: 12, 25, 28, 29, 31, 35 and 59 points. TB is pretty sure that this year's Harvard and Yale women's teams are comparable to many teams that have won the league title; it's just that this Princeton team is extraordinarily special.

* TB has always been a Glen Campbell fan, and that part of the show was tremendous. Even if he's never heard of the country singers who did "Southern Nights" and "Gentle On My Mind," they were both awesome. Seeing Paul McCartney mouth the words of "Rhinestone Cowboy" was a little weird, and TB actually thought McCartney was borderline awful in his performances.

* Niveen Rasheed scored her 1,000th career point in the win over Harvard, which for any other player is a great accomplishment. For Rasheed, she can score two points or 30 points; she's the best Ivy League women's basketball player that TB has ever seen. And were it not for her torn ACL last year, she'd be at about 1,400 points right now. Still, scoring points isn't just what she does. She plays with ferocity, and she imposes her will on every aspect of every game she's in.

* TB was at the men's basketball game Saturday night when he found out that Whitney Houston had died. The Jennifer Hudson tribute at the Grammys was extremely well done, under difficult circumstances no less. When TB thinks of Whitney Houston, he will think of the inspirational version of the national anthem she sang at the Giants-Bill Super Bowl shortly after the start of the 1991 Gulf War. No other national anthem version has ever approached what she did.

* Princeton won the men's squash Ivy title with wins over Cornell and Columbia this weekend, and now attention turns to this weekend's national championships, here at Jadwin Gym. Princeton has as good a chance as anyone of coming away with the title, which Trinity has won 13 straight years.

* What in the world was Nikki Minaj thinking? And it was a little too much Chris Brown. And TB is not a fan of Bruno Mars, though he was pretty good in his performance. And Katy Perry fell into the category of "trying too hard."

* Princeton swept the fencing titles this past weekend, winning the women's championship as expected and defeated Harvard and Columbia 14-13 each to win the men's. That's five Ivy fencing titles between the team in the last three years.

* The duet of "It Had To Be You" with Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood? Pretty close to perfect. TB would love to be able to croon.

* Princeton now has five Ivy titles for the academic year. Reaching the 15 that set the record a year ago is probably not going to happen, but the goal is always double figures. Can the Tigers get there? TB thinks so, though he doesn't want to get too far ahead of anything with any team.

* Finally, the highlight of the Grammys was without a doubt the performance of Adele, who sang "Rolling In The Deep." Adele won basically every award there was to win, and why not? She is a startling talented singer whose voice overwhelms the audience from the second she opens her mouth. Add in the fact that she's just singing her song while wearing a nice, simple outfit and without having to perfect some "look" or "brand" or without having to be a jerk about it, and she's even more impressive. It was impossible to watch/listen to her without being mesmerized.


CAZ said...

You didn't like McCartney's "Golden Slumbers" to end the show? I thought listening to Paul and his band (especially drummer Abe Laboriel Jr.) was wonderful. The dueling guitars were terrible (and you know how much I LOVE Bruce but he's hardly the best ax man in the business) but overall the rendition was amazing!

CAZ said...

BTW, HUGE win for the Tigers over Harvard! I may have Lin Fever for the Knicks right now but when it comes to the current Ivy League you know where my loyalties are... just don't tell my son, OK?