After a full decade of lying in limbo, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors in the fall of 1995. To celebrate the event, a mammoth concert was staged at the Hall of Fame, featuring a head-spinning array of rock stars and musicians. Everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis and Al Green to Soul Asylum and Bruce Springsteen were there, as was everyone in between (Bob Dylan, Booker T. & the MG's, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, John Mellencamp, the Pretenders, Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, John Fogerty, Jackson Browne, the Allman Brothers, and Natalie Merchant, just for starters). Of course, any event of this size means one thing -- the actual result will be a big, big disappointment. And, in that respect, The Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn't disappoint at all -- this double-disc set of highlights from the long concert is a crushing bore. Sure, there are a few fairly exciting moments -- particularly when Fogerty sings with the MG's, or when Al Green sings -- but most of the matchups simply don't catch fire. Notice how tame Iggy Pop and Soul Asylum sound together, how mannered Jackson Browne sounds, or how the promising team-up between Springsteen, the E Street Band, and Jerry Lee Lewis turns into something profoundly anticlimactic. Since nothing of this concert's size -- or nothing with this much hype -- can live up to expectations, it's not surprising that The Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a dull listen, but the fact that the disc is crushingly boring is quite a letdown. For all the talent involved, it's nearly depressing that the album is this lifeless. Perhaps if the artists were captured in a different setting, the album would have been much more interesting.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2