Jay Leno was in good company last night on his Tonight Show, with First Lady Michelle Obama and Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas on as guests, and then the always lovely Norah Jones to play “Say Goodbye” as FLOTUS flitted away. The stage was warm lit like a swanky retro lounge, and the slinky Little Broken Hearts cut went down like a night cap. “It’s all right, it’s okay, I don’t need you anyways,” she sasses over the woozy guitar line. We like this new Norah.
Of the many Brits who took the stage last night to pay homage to their homeland during the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, two were You Oughta Know artists past. Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran did VH1 proud with shining performances in front of the whole world wide. You Oughta Know no more, we say gold medals all around!
Sande’s really run these Games, kicking off both the Opening Ceremony and last night’s Closing Ceremony with stunning performances. The Scottish singer showed up to last night’s spectacular wearing Alexander McQueen and posed atop a newsprint covered stage, where she sang a cover of Professor Green‘s “Read All About It.” She was followed by the percussionists from Stomp and the entrance of Prince Harry, who was there in place of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. Sande was back on stage later in the night, finishing up “Read All About It” while a montage of memorable moments played and flags from the competing nations were brought in. Read more…
You Oughta Know artist Emeli Sandé won Olympic glory before the games even began with her stunning Olympic opening ceremony performance, but stateside viewers missed it, because the NBC broadcast cut the segment for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear. This morning, the network made up for it by inviting the opening ceremony star to the Today Show‘s Olympic Village set-up for a quick chat and to sing a brand new song. “The sun’s shining, we are in the amazing Olympic Village, and we are full of wonder,” she said before jumping into the triumphant “Wonder.” Her voice buoyed by soul and her hair swooped high with hope, she claimed her spotlight, singing confidently, “I am full of light, yes I am full of wonder.” And truly she is. This was the perfect song to lead-off this last weekend of the games, because even we, who are not competing, were left feeling inspired.
Last night on Conan, Bob Marley‘s eldest son Ziggy Marley celebrated LA’s newly anointed Bob Marley Day and the DVD release of Marley with a lovely performance of his father’s classic hit “Jammin’.” Ziggy summoned his father’s spirit, jamming out on a red-yellow-and-red guitar and with a smooth backing band behind him. It’s like his father knew when he wrote the song in 1977 that we would still be enjoying it all these years later, and that his progeny would assure that this jam is going to last. Who needs a holograph when you’ve got a flesh and blood son that can keep your spirit alive for you? To think that jamming was a thing of the past…
Last night on Conan, Grouplove and an army of cardboard cutout lookalikes shook all the sleepy out of the late night with an all-out performance of “Itchin’ on a Photograph,” the bright and catchy new single off their rising 2011 album Never Trust a Happy Song. The vibrant pop-rock crew spun and jammed and yelped things like “I’m living loud and I’m living now” until almost all of their two-dimensional counterparts were all knocked down.
Grouplove got the Glee treatment last spring, and this summer they have lit up the festival circuit, making stops at Bonnaroo and Firefly, where they ran into their friends Young The Giant. And this fall, they hit the road for a nationwide tour. Last night marked their national television debut of the song, and like that cardboard army, they knocked it out. We can’t wait to see them do it again and again and again.
Things don’t end so well for Miriam, we know that now. So it’s with a certain anticipation that we watch when Norah Jones performs the lurking Little Broken Heart lullaby, and all the more so when she plays it live, like she did last night on Conan. Seated at her piano in a pretty blue dress, Jones kept her eyes trained to the audience while she pleaded, “Miriam, was it a game to you? Was it a game to him? Don’t tell me lies.” This is a perfect song for late night, when all is dark and quiet and it lulls you to sleep and then haunt your dreams with it’s eery beauty. Oh, Miriam, that’s such a pretty name…
And below, watch her web-only performance of “Out On the Road”
“This next song I am going to play I guess is pretty important to me because of some of the things I’ve said in the past month. Just kind of taking some freedom for my self, you know?” announced Frank Ocean at his Lollapalooza set this weekend, to a crowd soggy from the rain but in high-spirits nonetheless. And, mostly still at the front of the stage, wearing what seems to be his Channel Orange uniform — a crimson cardigan and a red, white and blue handkerchief around his forehead — he performed “Bad Religion,” a harrowing love song that has also come to mark his coming-out. The rain delay had pushed Ocean’s set back in the night, meaning he would have to compete with headlining sets from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Avicii sets. The promise of such intimacy and emotion were enough, though, to draw an audience. “I am grateful for that love,” he said, and the crowd roared.
Frank Ocean “Bad Religion” At Lollapalooza [RapRadar]
Lollapalooza Day One Recap: Raging Teens, Raging Heat And The Glorious Black Keys
Lollapalooza Evacuated: Lightning, Torrential Rain, Pouting Ensues
Lollapalooza Day Two Recap: Chicago Showers Bring Mud Madness
Jason Mraz teared up while talking about “I Won’t Give Up” during his VH1 Storytellers taping. The song speaks to the stagnant points in life and love. “I was really bummed out, and I hate sharing that, because I’ve had everything, I’ve had all my dreams come true,” he said. “And yet,” he continued, “One still experiences melancholy.” And so he set — or, he says it “was coming out whether I like it or not” — the feelings to song, and it has since become his mantra.
Though there were no tears last night on Conan, he performed still with all the same emotional charge. His long locks tucked underneath his trademark fedora, he played the Love Is A Four Letter Word single quietly at first, then building drum rolls and conviction to the song’s climax — “I had to learn what I got, and what I’m not and who I am” — before jamming it out until the end. We might make this our mantra, too.
Check out Mraz’s Conan performance above, and hear him talk about the song on VH1 Storytellers below.
Last night’s most inspirational late night moment came surely from Conan guests The Fray, who broke from their tour with Kelly Clarkson to perform “Run For Your Life,” the most recent single from their Scars and Stories. Conan’s cozy sound stage is not nearly so expansive as, say, the California desert, and so it was the jangling keys and Issac Slade’s rough-hewn insistence that “You don’t have to go it alone” needed to be motivation enough. And last night they were, Slade’s laced-up red Converse sneakers and anxious seat insuring that he would be close behind should you so chose to run.
Click through to see their web-only performance of “Be Still”…