I just got back from the Green Inaugural Ball on Constitution Ave at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. I’m sure Darrow will have photos of this event soon. But I was thinking: I just saw Wyclef Jean. And I felt nothing. At one point in my life, Jean’s old band dominated every single house party I went to. Tonight, he looked kinda old slogging away with his bad Marleyisms. The dude wore a wife beater. He had a bumper sticker on his forehead. He’s got a gut. He phoned in a version of the national anthem. He used a flange pedal on the national anthem. When’s this guy going to get his own cruise ship?
Jean certainly worked the crowd (a couple hundred). But is it that hard to inspire a bunch of middle-aged gals who put paid $500 to get in? I counted only one lady doing some kinda hippie trance twirl thing in the back of the room. Just one. Is he pissed that will.i.am stole his schtick?
What made Jean’s performance tolerable was that you could chow down at the dessert tables and not feel guilty that you were missing anything. Let me tell you, the mini apple pie thingies with the cheese wedges on top really made the night. They were still warm by the time I got my mitts on them. And the fruit salad had just the right strawberry-to-melon-to-grapes ratio. The American Flag sugar cookies were a nice touch as well.
I still wonder is Wyclef the Phil Collins of hip-hop or the Kenny Rogers of hip-hop? I just thought of posting a clip of Rogers doing “The Gambler.” But I thought better of it. I’m going to try and forget I ever saw Wyclef Jean.
*photo by Darrow Montgomery.