Home » Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Evokes Childhood Memories

Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Evokes Childhood Memories

“Music is the sound track of your life.” Dick Clark

In the summer of 2001, I stopped in Cleveland long enough to visit the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. The museum was fascinating, filled with knick-knacks from some of the biggest names in rock-n-roll history, including the blood-stained glasses that John Lennon was wearing the night he was shot.

I remember being enthralled watching a highlight video of the past year’s induction ceremonies. At the conclusion of each show, tradition has it that all new inductees and other legends in attendance jam together like teenagers in a garage band. I was blown away by the performances and remember thinking, “I’ve got to see that show in person sometime!”

Fast-forward fifteen years to earlier this month, when I was in New York City and discovered that the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was taking place while I was there. I bought a ticket on Stubhub and prepared to cross-off my long overdue goal of seeing the all-star jam.

The show seemed custom made for me! It was a smorgasbord of some of my favorite 70’s super bands: Steve Miller, Chicago, and Cheap Trick.

The word Budokan might not mean anything to some people (Ain’t That A Shame) but if you’re of my generation, the word Budokan means something to you. It probably evokes some fond memories from your youth or captures a time and place in your life.

Cheap Trick at Budokan was my coming-of-age album.

I was admittedly late to the rock-n-roll scene. I didn’t have any older siblings to help clue me in on the music of the day. I was still listening to my Donny & Marie album on the eve of my teenage years, just as Steve Miller’s Greatest Hits and Cheap Trick at Budokan were being featured on the front shelves at The Turntable record store (Harbor & Union, remember that place old-time Fullertonians?)

Cheap Trick at Budokan, an album that was never even intended for American consumers, conveniently showed up just about the same time that I was ready to put away my Donny & Marie album and move on to something a little bit more substantial.

The transcending power of music is amazing. Hearing Cheap Trick sing Surrender that night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn instantly transported me back to the first time I heard it on a warm and stuffy school bus in the Summer of 1979.

I was in a junior high group at a vacation bible school coming home from a day of swimming when Surrender came on someone’s transistor radio (wow, I sound old!) I can still remember listening to that song on the ride home while eating a oooy-gooey Twix bar that had been sitting on the bus all day getting melty while we swam. It’s amazing how music can capture a moment in time in what would have otherwise been an uneventful bus ride.

Around the same time, I remember hearing Steve Miller’s iconic song The Joker. When you are a thirteen-year-old boy and you hear the lyrics, “really love your peaches wanna shake your tree,” you never forget it. I felt like I was finally on to something. I had clued-in. I picked up on the innuendo, and there was no turning back to Donny & Marie. It was my Doc Graham in Field of Dreams moment.

Cheap Trick was the headliner for the induction show and played I Want You To Want Me, The Dream Police and Surrender. Then came the big finale, the all-star jam that I had been waiting fifteen years to see.

Together on one stage: Steve Miller, Deep Purple, Chicago, and Cheap Trick aided by Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, and Little Steven Van Zandt from Springsteen’s E Street Band, and lead by long-time Letterman side-kick Paul Shaffer.

The new hall of fame inductees and the other all-star jammers covered Cheap Trick’s Ain’t That A Shame, which Cheap Trick covered from Fats Domino, so the layered music history that night was thick as Fats himself. The joy and energy from the jamming members was met with the joy and energy of the dancing crowd who wanted more than just one song.

It was truly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, but as comedian Martin Mull once said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

Visiting the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and finally seeing it’s induction ceremony were both great bucketlist cross-offs that I’m not going to cross-off because I’d like to do them again. Maybe I’ll return when the Hall of Fame wises up and enshrines Donny & Marie, after all, he was a little bit Rock-n-Roll!
The 31st annual Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame induction show will air this Saturday night, April 30th at 8:00 on HBO.