It was the stuff of rock and roll dreams, with a dash, in honor of shock rocker Alice Cooper's inclusion, of surreal nightmare.
Around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, about five hours into this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Leon Russell kicked off the classic "Da Doo Ron Ron" with the same piano riff he used in the original. Neil Diamond, who had just led the crowd through not one, but two rounds of a "Sweet Caroline" sing-along -- handled a few lines of lead vocals. Cooper, who had scrubbed the extra mascara from his eyes and put to bed the pet boa constrictor he brought onstage earlier, handled a few more. Then, Darlene Love, who sang backup on the original, and her pal and inductor Bette Midler, traded off on lines into the chorus. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Elton John, who had inducted Russell earlier, played piano before coming in on the second verse, as did inductee Dr. John.
The only performing inductee from this year who did not take part in the "Da Doo Ron Ron" spectacle was Tom Waits, though his stunning set shortly before the finale had left enough of an impression on its own. Waits delivered one of the best sets in Rock Hall history -- passionate versions of "Make It Rain," "Rain Dogs" and "House Where Nobody Lives" and "Get Behind the Mule." (Dear Fuse editors, please run this set in its entirety when you televise the event this Sunday. Please.)