FOULDS: Wondering what a Kesha is as Bob Dylan clowns around

If you ever want to measure to the precise millimetre the width of the generation gap that stretches like the Grand Canyon between you and your offspring, the Grammy Awards offer the perfect gauge.

My 12-year-old daughter and I sat down on Monday night to watch Sunday’s show.

She PVRd it, which was known as “taping” a show back in the day. But, PVRs (personal video recorders) don’t actually have tape on which to record the TV shows.

They have hard drives that store information, which confuses me as much as a debate over Betamax and VHS leaves my daughter with a blank look on her face.

The Grammys gave us a potpouri of singers, a few with which we were familiar and more than a few that had daughter and I emulating characters in a Farley Mowat book.

“Who’s that?” asked I as an apparently sentence-fragmentally obsessed man named will.i.am presented an award with someone named (“Who’s that?”) Nicky Minaj.

“Who’s that?” asked my daughter as the legendary songwriter Kris Kristofferson introduced the iconic (“Who’s that?”) Barbra Streisand.

Oh, we both know all about Lady Gaga. True, until Sunday night, I thought she was Madonna 2.0. I then watched the 60 Minutes profile on the woman formerly known as Stefani Germanotta and came away surprisingly impressed with her talent.

And, of course, we both know Justin Bieber when we see him — and one can see dozens of Justin Biebers in Aberdeen Mall on any given weekend, ubiquitous as his hairstyle remains.

But, the new and old clashed at the Grammys in Los Angeles, as it did with dad and daughter in a living room in Kamloops.

The highlight of the night, from this dinosaur’s perspective, was watching a terrific trilogy that began with Mumford and Sons dazzle with The Cave, followed by the Avett Brothers shine with Head Full of Doubt, topped off with both folk-roots bands backing up Bob Dylan as he grooved and croaked through a wildly thrashing rendition of Maggie’s Farm.

Dylan looked old and sounded older but, miracle of miracles, he was smiling and gyrating and seriously digging the tune.

Having seen Dylan in concert five times, his performance at this year’s Grammys was perhaps the first time I have seen him seem appear happy.

Critics have panned his performance. Me? I rank it as brilliant.

My daughter?

“He looks like a retired clown!” she cried as Dylan came strutting out, parting the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons like a musical Moses as he grinned his way to the mic.

I looked at Dylan more closely and she was right.

Dylan sang and he was hoarse and he was coarse and his voice was as gritty and growly as old tires on a gravel road.

In other words — perfect.

“How do you like his voice?” I asked my daughter.

“It’s old,” she says. “He sounds like Krusty the Clown from the Simpsons!”

I paused and listened a bit more.

He did sound a bit like the cartoon clown. Still brilliant, in my mind.

There was a singer from Canada named Drake (that’s me asking “Who?”) up for an award.

He, like every other nominee on this night, lost to Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now, the one song among all that has bridged the generation gap in that incessant radio play on all genres has dad and daughter praying to God never to hear the tune again.

But, back to Drake, a person I had never heard of, unless we are talking about The Drake from Seinfeld, in which case I can relate. Dear daughter has no idea what lame dad is rambling on about and mentions, with a giggle, that Drake’s real name is Aubrey.

Mick Jagger then came sashaying across the stage, looking and sounding as fantastic as ever.

“Is he Kesha’s father?” my daughter asked. “That’s the rumour.”

I’m still wondering what a Kesha is.

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