When the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 inductees head into Cleveland's Public Hall on Saturday, at least one of its awardees won't play it by rote: Jon Bon Jovi. The Killers earned a loud applause from the audience when they started performing "American Girl", then transitioning to "Free Fallin'". "I'm honored to induct Sister Rosetta Tharpe into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame", Howard yelled following a video package featuring past interviews from Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin and others praising Tharpe's musicality.
Founded in Boston, The Cars had a strong connection to Cleveland, the hometown of late bassist Benjamin Orr, who sang lead vocals on some the band's biggest hits like "Just What I Needed", "Bye Bye Love" and "Drive". Rock Hall board chairman Chris Connor also spoke about the renovations and thanked the NY board for its support. Flowers recalled the first time he heard The Cars while growing up in a tiny, "no stoplight" town in Utah, saying "40 years later they still sound like a new band to me".
Flowers will deliver the induction speech to welcome The Cars into the Hall.
A live stream of the ceremony's red carpet will be viewable at the Rock Hall's Facebook page, YouTube channel and official website starting at 5:30 p.m. ET.
What will make Bon Jovi's post-award performance that night so bracing is the risk that the band may take.
The jovial evening ended with members of the band singing "Inducted!"
The Rock Hall induction was expected to include all the original members of the band, including guitarist Richie Sambora, bassist Alec John Such, keyboardist (and Tony Award victor David Bryan), and drummer Tico Torres.
Gov. Phil Murphy made the declaration Saturday, hours before the platinum-selling New Jersey band was to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Cleveland.
Frontman Mark Knopfler and his brother, rhythm guitarist David Knopfler, won't be attending.