Best Tribute: Clarence Clemons' Family Affair
Many in the E Street family lamented the fact that Clarence Clemons couldn't be onstage last night, but the Big Man was well represented. Springsteen recalled the "dark and stormy night" when he first heard the saxophonist "unleash the force of nature that was the sound and the soul of the Big Man." The saxophonist's nephew, Jake Clemons, released some sound and soul of his own when the E Street Band rolled through "The E Street Shuffle," "The River" and "Kitty’s Back." (He was later seen standing next to Tom Morello, enjoying the Lorde-fronted Nirvana tribute). And Clemons' widow, Victoria, accepted the trophy on his behalf. "It would have meant so much to him," she told the crowd. "Music meant everything to Clarence since he was a child." She also inadvertently said one of the night's dirtiest lines — "He was known as the Big Man for many reasons" (when the crowd howled with laughter, she responded, "You guys are so bad"). She concluded by playing a recording her late husband had made while scat-singing in the car, a touching final word from a towering presence.