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“I don’t know if it matters who’s here tonight, because it’s about the music that band created.”
—-Duff McKagan on GNR's R&RHOF induction
CELEBRATING ROCK’S PAST AND FUTURE
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions and Coachella Fest Mark Busy Weekend
From the shores of Lake Erie to the desert of Indio, rock celebrated its past and carved out its future over the weekend, with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions and the massive three-day Coachella Festival.

Marred by Axl Rose’s boycott, and the absences of inductees Rod Stewart and Adam “MCA” Yauch, the venerable Cleveland-based institution honored Guns N’ Roses, Donovan, Laura Nyro, the Beastie Boys, Donovan, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Small Faces/Faces, early influence Freddie King and noted “back-up bands,” including the Blue Caps (who backed Gene Vincent), the Comets (Bill Haley), the Crickets (Buddy Holly), the Famous Flames (James Brown), the Midnighters (Hank Ballard) and the Miracles (Smokey Robinson).

The nearly six-hour ceremony took place before 7,000 fans and VIPs at the Hall’s Public Auditorium, which got underway with Green Day’s “Letterbomb,” and went from there. Rose famously rejected the Hall’s honor last week, leaving Slash, Duff McKagan, Gilby Clarke, Steve Adler and Matt Sorum to accept the induction by Billie Joe Armstrong, who noted, “The first time I saw Guns N’ Roses on MTV, I thought, ‘One of these guys could end up in jail.’” Said McKagan, about Rose’s absence: “I don’t know if it matters who’s here tonight, because it’s about the music that band created.”

Joined by Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy, who plays in Slash’s band, the members launched into a set that included “Mr. Brownstone,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine” (see Rumor Mill) and “Paradise City.”

With lead singer Rod Stewart bowing out because of the flu and Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane deceased, the Faces/Small Faces were represented by Ronnie Wood, Ian “Mac” McLagan and Kenney Jones, who were joined by Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall for their set, which climaxed with a rollicking “Stay With Me” after the band was lovingly inducted by Springsteen sidekick Steven Van Zandt.

With founding member Yauch still recovering from his battle with cancer, the Beastie Boys became just the third hip-hop group inducted into the Hall, after Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run DMC, by Public Enemy’s Chuck D and LL Cool J. Said Chuck: “Artistically, they are our role models. They made up their own rules.”

Kid Rock, the Roots and Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes saluted the Beastie Boys with a dynamic medley of their hits, including "Sabotage."

John Mellencamp did the honors for Donovan, and Bette Midler for the late Laura Nyro, calling her “a complete original in a world of imitators.”

Inducting Red Hot Chili Peppers, comic Chris Rock addressed the absence of Axl with a jab at his legendary tardiness, resulting in the line of the night. “Even if he was coming, he wouldn’t have been here by now."

The band's Flea gave an emotional speech, tearing up as he thanked his mother, who was in the audience. "When we're hitting it, when we are really inside the groove, when we're on--I'm lost, man. When I'm lost like that, I am truly free of everything and I am truly one with everything. In that yearning for freedom is my life's mission." He ended with a heartfelt "I love the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

The Chili Peppers marked the occasion with a set that included "By the Way" and "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie." Ex-drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez joined the current line-up for a propulsive "Give It Away."

The five-and-a-half-hour ceremony, which will be telecast on HBO Saturday May 5 at 9 p.m., wrapped up with the traditional all-star jam, a take on the Chili Peppers’ cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” with Slash, Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones, Billie Joe Armstrong and funkmaster George Clinton joining in.

Meanwhile, half a continent away, the three-day Coachella festival avoided the unseasonable SoCal rainy chill with the first of two consecutive weekends of harboring in the next generation of pop music. Friday night’s highlights were the headlining Black Keys, but Swedish House Mafia made this the real coming-out party for EDM with a stunning set (see highlights on Rumor Mill).

Radiohead headlined Saturday night’s festivities with a typically riveting set that brought rock's past and future together in one fell swoop, while Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s festival closer last night featured appearances by Eminem, 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa (sharing a joint the size of a giant banana with Snoop), touted new Compton rapper/lyricist (and Dre discovery) MC Kendrick Lamar, Tony Yayo, Kurupt, Warren G and a remarkably life-life hologram of Tupac Shakur.

Other highlights, many of which were streamed on YouTube (see Rumor Mill) included Harlem rapper Azealia Brooks, Mazzy Star’s first live performance in 16 years, Sacramento hard-core punks Death Grips (signed to Epic), L.A. folk-rock groups Dawes and honeyhoney, Hollywood beatmakers Flying Lotus and avant bassist/funky beatster Thundercat, soft-rock maestros Destroyer,  indie-rock legends Neutral Milk Hotel, U.K. alternative band Pulp, Florence + the Machine and French house producer SebastiAn, one of several DJs who made the Mojave tent one of the fest’s most popular locations all weekend long, marking this year’s Coachella as the Woodstock of electronic music.

And next weekend, they'll do it all over again.

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