I was close to thinking the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had run out of figures to induct; or that there were so few left, maybe the annual induction dinner should be skipped every few years.
That’s the only way Rush got inducted this year. The Canadian trio has fans, but it’s hardly the influential or groundbreaking group that warrants a place alongside the Beatles or Stones or even Metallica.
Still, their induction is what likely packed the oversized Nokia Theatre for this year’s induction event last month. The band’s appearance late in the edited 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (HBO, 9 p.m.) show they are the culmination of the 28th annual event.
But before they get there, there are some great moments before they get there — an opening of inductee Randy Newman doing “I Love L.A.,” trading verses with Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty; a fitting tribute to Donna Summer that came months after her death; John Mayer giving a clinic on the electric blues by way of inducting his hero Albert King; Carole King singing a simple “So Far Away” as part of a salute to producer Lou Adler.
Plus there’s more entertainment: Usher doing the “Rock with You” that one of his team had sung last week on “The Voice” (in tribute to producer Quincy Jones); Harry Belafonte inducting Public Enemy, putting them in the pantheon of music of struggle; topped by the the sweetness and kick of Heart performing.
There’s also a worthy jam at the end of “Crossroads” may make it worth to sit through Rush’s music and one of the worst acceptance speeches in event history. But not quite.
The season finales of “Saturday Night Live” (NBC, 11:30 p.m.) has started to resemble graduation ceremonies with the departure of longtime cast members. Last year it was all about Kristin Wiig; this year, it’s Bill Hader, the rangy and versatile comic actor, whose best loved character may have been the hyperventilating Stefon, dishing out unusual and unusable tourist information during “Weekend Update.”
Expect a lot of time for him on tonight’s show as he bids farewell, but there is also some punch expected from host Ben Affleck, who joins the five timers club as host, and Kanye West, who may well interrupt him as he does. Season finales also attract a bunch of cameo stars, as does another induction into the five timer’s club.
Earlier, last week’s Kristin Wiig episode gets a repeat at 10 p.m.