Lang Lang and Metallica Play to An Absolute Mess at Grammys

Superstar pianist showed just how far behind classical artists are in terms of pop relevancy in his duet performance with Metallica at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. Appearing in perhaps the tackiest blue suit ever witnessed in Grammy history that would make even TNT host Craig Sager cringe, Lang Lang performed in what was arguably one of the most horrendous performances ever in the awards show’s history. Following a tribute to Lou Reed by actor Jared Leto, Lang Lang and Metallica would go on to play together a new rendition of the rock band’s iconic 1989 hit “One.” Unfortunately for audiences and listeners watching, Metallica’s memorable anthem was torn to pieces in a remarkably dull and soulless arrangement that mixed a too-happy trigger finger Lang Lang and an very uncomplimentary Metallica going at too fast of pace for the acclaimed pianist.

The start of the performance began with an intro by Lang Lang who proceeded with an uncharacteristically dryness in performance style that was too jazzy for its own good. Sounding anything unlike “One,” syncing with Metallica’s aggressive instruments and James Hetfield’s subdued vocals, Lang Lang and the metal thrashers appeared off-tune and sounding no different than a third-tier 80s hair band “rock opera.” By the time the performance hit midway into Lang Lang’s solo set, the pianist’s arrangement only further dug the duet into a spiral into the embarrassing disaster it had become. Further hurting the performance was Lang Lang’s undeniably uncool, cheeky mannerisms that visually turned what was one of the edgiest ballads (of its time) into nothing more than a manufactured, lifeless collaboration that took away sense of emotion from the original song.

In what was to become a fascinating duo between classical and metal turned out to be a major step back for not only a re-imagining of Metallica’s future relevancy but also for what could have been a strong reasoning for more classical musicians to share the stage amongst their pop contemporaries on the biggest music event of the year.

Thankfully, Lang Lang does recover for a followup tribute performance to musicians that passed away throughout the year (notably pianist Van Cliburn) later in the awards show (sans tacky blue suit).

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