Pharrell Williams Performs Radically Reworked ‘Happy’ at 2015 Grammy Awardsby Karen Lanza
The artist-producer, who had won the Best Pop Solo Performance award for the song only minutes earlier, took the stage in Los Angeles after being introduced by the Weeknd. He was joined in the performance by concert pianist Lang Lang and film composer Hans Zimmer.
Pharrell was dressed as a sort of hip-hop bellhop. True to form, he put his own spin on it by wearing short pants and gold-glitter sneakers. His outfit might have been whimsical, but his face was grim as the camera zoomed in. He slowly spoke the first few lines of the song as it was translated into other languages. It was serious, cinematic and, most of all, surreal.
Thankfully, the band kicked in on the next verse, bringing with it the familiar jaunty melody we all know, love and can’t stop singing. (Phew!) There were white-robed gospel choir singers literally dancing in the aisles, and black-clad dancers and yellow-garbed instrumentalists everywhere. Things only got a little weird again when the first chorus was replaced by a piano interlude from Lang, who was situated on a stage in the middle of the audience. It was unexpected but kind of cool as well.
After ending the song, Pharrell pointed to heaven and said, “Thank you, God. I forgot to say it earlier, but as you can see, I am at your service, Lord.” He then shook hands with and bowed to Zimmer, who had joined along on electric guitar.
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