Despite Axl Rose's decision to snub the induction of his band Guns N' Roses into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day introduced the Guns N' Roses induction at Saturday night's ceremony.
Band members Slash, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler and Matt Sorum all took the stage.
Billy Joe then asked, 'Who's missing?" and the audience of 7,000 booed loudly.
(Axl Rose announced last week that he was "respectfully" declining the Hall of Fame's invitation. He felt he wasn't wanted or "respected.")
Not a single member of Guns N' Roses mentioned Axl Rose by name in their speech. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed and guitarist Izzy Stradlin chose not to come.
Guitarist Duff McKagan said: "I don't know that it matters who's here tonight, because it's about the music that these bands played."
Later, Duff, Slash, guitarist Gilby Clarke, Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy and drummers Matt Sorum and Steven Adler played a three-song set of GNR hits.
During the set, fans screamed "F*** Axl", but the moment the group started playing "Mr. Brownstone," the crowd went nuts. The guys also jammed out to "Sweet Child O' Mine," and "Paradise City".
When The Faces were inducted, they played as well-- without Rod Stewart. Simply Red's Mick Hucknall filled the slot. He's done shows with the group over the past few years. They played "Ooh La La" and "Stay With Me." The band included Ron Wood on guitar, along with Ian McLagan on keyboards and drummer Kenny Jones.
The Beastie Boys had no intention of performing without Adam Yauch, who has been battling cancer, so the Roots were joined by Kid Rock and Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes for a medley of Beastie classics, including "Sabotage" and "So What'cha Want." Rock, Black Thought and McCoy all wore matching green Adidas track suits.
Public Enemy frontman Chuck D and LL Cool J teamed up to induct the Beastie Boys.
Chuck D said: "They still are one of the greatest live acts in music. They challenged the conventions in the music business and made up their own rules about what it means to be world class hip-hop cats. They always insisted on maturing as musicians and human beings."
LL Cool J said: "I wouldn't be here today without them. The Beastie Boys actually played my demo for Rick Rubin in his NYU dorm room. A lot of people don't know that."
Adam Horowitz read the audience a letter from Yauch. He said: "I'd like to dedicate this to my brothers Adam and Mike. They walked the globe with me. It's also for anyone who has ever been touched by our band. This induction is as much ours as it is yours."
The evening kicked off with a surprise performance by Green Day, who did a rendition of the American Idiot song, "Letterbomb."
Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill of ZZ Top delivered the first induction speech by honoring late blues guitarist Freddie King. There was also a blues guitar battle by Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa and Derek Trucks.
John Mellencamp came onstage to induct Donovan, calling him "my inspiration." Mellencamp said: "I wouldn't just listen to Donovan. I would live Donovan, which means I was stealing all my sh*t from Donovan. Other artists – and you know who you guys are – called that being inspired." Donovan duetted with Mellencamp on "Season of the Witch."
Bette Midler broke down into tears near the end of her speech about Laura Nyro, who died of ovarian cancer in 1997.
She said: "In a world full of imitators saying 'fake it till you make it,' she was a complete original. She was in a league all her own. When you put her records on, you'd think they were made yesterday. She embodies what we all want to be, if only we had the guts. She was an ornament on the Earth. Everyone is so gratified to see this day finally come around at last." Sara Bareilles honored Nyro with a version of "Stoney End".
Carole King inducted Don Kirshner, who was her boss and mentor during her days as a songwriter in the late 50s and early 60s. Darlene Love honored the late record executive with a version of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". Robbie Robertson presented the Award For Musical Excellence to Cosimo Matassa, Glyn Jones and Tom Dowd.
It was about 12:30 am when Chris Rock inducted the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
He said: "A lot of people are upset that Axl didn't come tonight. But let's face it. Even if he was coming tonight, he wouldn't be here by now. Where the f*** is Axl?"
He went on to explain that he first saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers when he tried to see Grandmaster Flash in Philadelphia, but walked into the wrong club.
He said: "My friends and I were like, 'What the f*ck is this shit? There's a lot of white people in here.' They came out and I couldn't understand a fucking word they said, and they had socks on their d*cks! I had never been to a white show before, so I thought all white groups put socks on their d*cks. Years later, they're one of the biggest groups in the world and getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have black ties on their d*cks tonight."
Former drummers Jack Irons and Cliff Martinez were in the house with the current band. The group (with three drummers) did a three-song set of "By the Way," "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" and "Give It Away."
At the end of "Give It Away," Anthony Kiedis invited everyone back to the stage. Slash, Ron Wood, Billie Joe Armstrong, Kenny Jones and even audience member George Clinton got onstage for a finale of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground."
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