-- It wasn't the White Stripes people expected when the duo played the final Conan O'Brien Show Friday night. Rather than slapping at the drums, Meg White, in a long gown, donned a red Telecaster - and managed to keep her hand frozen on the G chord for nearly the entire song - as she assisted Jack White on "We're Going to Be Friends." It seemed like a struggle for the Whites, who haven't played together much in the past two years due to Meg's anxiety issues, to get through the song, but Jack's emotional vocal carried the day. He seemed on the verge of schoolboy tears as he sang a bluesy version of the ode to very young love. Word is that the White Stripes are working on a new album due in the summer. Let's hope Meg is holding sticks when he see her next.
-- As for another notable network performance, TV on the Radio was not at its best two weeks ago on "Saturday Night Live." Kyp Malone's vocals were off on the first song, "The Golden Age," which didn't live up to the sonic standard of a band that just topped the year-end lists in Rolling Stone, Spin and the Village Voice. TVOTR sounded better with Tunde Adebimpe taking over for the second song, the more spastic "Dancing Choose."
Malone told Pitchfork, "I never watch any of those things - it's bad for me. It was a really good vibe, though. But I was immediately told how [crappy] the sound was by people who were outside the room. All we had power over was the performance; we don't have a sound engineer who's a union guy. I feel like I'm making excuses but we just did what we did. It was fun in the room.
It's funny because I've heard a bunch of people say that the sound is bad there, but they had a lot of great-sounding performances in the 1970s and early 80s - this one Stevie Nicks performance stands out."
Of all the 'SNL' performances, how did he reach for Stevie Nicks.
-- Finally, the Oscars. So there was time for host Hugh Jackman to do campy Broadway send-ups but no time for Peter Gabriel to perform his Oscar-nominated "Down to Earth"? Huh? Fortunately, they found a more-than-adequate replacement in John Legend, who did a nice job with the truncated version of the song. After all my grumbling, the medley with the "Slumdog Millionaire" songs turned out to be an interesting, exotic blend. Still, would have been better to see Gabriel up there. Or even see him at all (other than on the red carpet). Looks like after he snubbed Oscar, it snubbed him.