If you grew up in the ’80s, were female and discovered you liked ’70s progressive rock act Yes, chances are it was because of Trevor Rabin, the virtuoso guitar player who suddenly made it cool for everybody outside the band’s original white male audience to attend the shows and play the songs and their videos with great enthusiasm. While Rabin’s movie-star handsome looks and stage presence roped new fans in, it was his musical compositions that kept him gainfully employed and relevant since his departure from the arena stage in the early ’90s.
It is also somewhat ironic that ’80s-era Yes, which began its run under the name Cinema would foreshadow things to come for Rabin—including his receiving ASCAP’s 2012 Henry Mancini Award for movies that run the gamut from the family-friendly National Treasure films, to action films helmed by Jerry Bruckheimer to critically acclaimed films Remember the Titans and The Guardian. This adds to an already big year for Rabin, who just released the well-received instrumental album Jacaranda and is watching his son, Ryan and band Grouplove see their single ‘Tongue Tied’ hit number one on the US alternative charts and earn gold status practically on the same day of the ceremony.
After filmed tributes from Yes vocalist Jon Anderson and Jerry Weintraub (who joked he was amazed Rabin still had a career after teaming with him for big-budget popcorn flicks such as Armageddon), National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub treated Rabin to an uproarious roast that would have had innovator and Rat Packer Dean Martin taking note. From there, Ryan and his Grouplove bandmates (who Rabin and wife Shelley refer to as the rest of their children) did the maestro proud with a rousing rendition of newly gilded ‘Tongue Tied’. Rabin then joined his brood on stage to blow the ceiling off the Beverly Hilton’s heralded ballroom with ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’.
One big winner cited during the evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel included Oscar-winning Kiwi Bret McKenzie. While he once again took flight with fellow Conchord Jemaine Clement on tour, the Muppets accepted the honour on his behalf with their own surprisingly slightly naughty roast. Other highlights included performances by Siedah Garrett (who also penned Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’) with an unplugged but lively ‘Real in Rio’ from the animated feature Rio and Josh Kelley, who penned the theme from the popular series Mike and Molly. Singer–songwriter and ASCAP president and chairman Paul Williams also demonstrated he still had the showmanship that made him a pop cultural icon in the 1970s. When we told him how much we loved the cult classic Phantom of the Paradise, he was genuinely honoured.
BET followed that act with its nationally televised awards show, hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, weighted with tributes to talented individuals who passed on in the first six months of this year. Chante Moore performed a medley of Donna Summer’s hits, while Valerie Simpson sang a song in honour of her husband and writing partner Nick Ashford. Don Cornelius, Dick Clark and Hal Jackson were given shout-outs. Although Kanye West’s antics nearly steered the telecast astray, he provided an appropriate musical shout-out to Rodney King and Whitney Houston in a verse that drew applause in crowd, including his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian. The most noteworthy performance, however, was a Whitney Houston tribute helmed by late singer’s mother, Cissy Houston.
Even with the mingling of serious content and Kardashian-based whimsy, the BET Awards would not be a Hollywood happening without its pre-event suites, and one noteworthy event, the fifth annual Fresh Face Beauty Lounge staged at West Hollywood’s Palihouse Hotel, invited attendees including Estelle, Christina Milian, LeToya Luckett, Malika Haqq, Lil Kim, Julissa Bermudez, Adrianne Bailon, Keyshia Cole, Elise Neal, Laura Govan, Gloria Govan, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Faith Evans to primp with celeb make-up artist A. J. Crimson at the Make Up for Ever Eyelash bar, CND Shellac manicure station and swig Nuvo lemonade cocktails. While VIPs received their choice of a pair of boots from Durango, all were treated to stylish leather cuffs and candles from the philanthropically minded boutique company Good Works, and Hairfinity vitamins and lash-building goods.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor