Updated from 9:59 a.m. EST Friday wtih additional photos of Kiss and Tom Morello on page 3.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are the lamest act on an all-star bill, you know you are having a good night.
But that's just one of many surprises from the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn Thursday night, which included performances by unannounced guests Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Lorde, Carrie Underwood, Joan Jett, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and others.
There was a terrific Kiss appreciation by Tom Morello. Peter Gabriel trotted out African pop star Youssou N'Dour to accompany him and his band on In Your Eyes.
The audience was calling for "Bruuuuuuce" for most of the evening prior to the E Street Band's segment and his speech inducting his fellows was well received. One by one, the E Street members took a painfully long time to get past the thank yous and get on with the jam. The speeches were (mostly) moving, but with each bandmember laughing about spilling well past the allotted time (supposedly 30 seconds per speech), the E Street acceptance speeches had most of us squirming in our seats.
But something about the heavily scripted nature of the presentations and the time constraint on the performances left the performance by Bruce and the E Street Band feeling stilted and uninspired.
That letdown was more than made up for by performances earlier and later. In a massive tribute to Linda Ronstadt, who was inducted but could not attend as her health no longer allows her to sing or travel, a police lineup of the baddest female voices in the business took the stage one by one and then as a harmonizing chorus: Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris, Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Nicks belted out favorite songs that Ronstadt had stamped during her long career.
Last in the evening's lineup, Nirvana's surviving members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl were joined by another string of guests who performed with them in songs that late singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain helped make famous. We heard from Joan Jett, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, Annie Clark of St. Vincent and Lorde. The band was also assisted by guitarist Pat Smear.
Jett's performance had been rumored ahead of the evening, but the others were more or less a complete surprise.