The whole show was wonderful for all the music and humor it entailed – Will Smith getting a vintage “Smiths” shirt but with his family’s faces instead of Morrisey’s, and U2’s performance on top of the 30 Rock center surrounded by the NYC skyline – but the highlight for me was the acoustic version of “Ordinary Love” that Bono and the Edge threw down.
First came a hilariously well-timed practical joke by the Edge (see for yourself) and then came Bono’s INCREDIBLE voice. I guess I thought that his voice was done-up to sound more silky in the studio or something, but no. He has mad skills. Obviously this whole thing was staged to seem off-the-cuff (about which Bono makes a wry tongue-in-cheek reference) but it was still live, still Bono just doing his thing, and it was awesome. By the end of it he worked in a Questlove reference and the legendary Roots crew joined for the final chorus before commercial.
I’m excited that the show has gone in a younger direction. I think it was a really good opening, worthy of what the Tonight Show used to be/could be again. I agree with some commenters that all of late night TV in this decade basically exists to create web-viral-worthy moments to view on YouTube and blogs, and very few 20s and 30s will consistently watch the show in real time to see celebrities and musicians.
Even so, this was great TV, great music, and I’m excited to see what happens next.