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Joni Mitchell and Mary J. Blige made this pre-Grammy gala come alive

Joni Mitchell and Mary J. Blige made this pre-Grammy gala come alive

Emotions ran higher than usual Saturday night at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala, and not just because the stars in attendance were venting their frustrations with an unpopular new president.

The veteran record executive’s annual party at the Beverly Hilton is known as a marathon of music-business backslapping, with lengthy toasts by Davis and the Recording Academy’s Neil Portnow and performances that can seem arranged to remind everyone how smart Person X was to sign Artist Y to Label Z.

By the end of the night, you can forget that music is about more than leveraging valuable copyrights, to use one of Davis’ favorite words.

Yet this year, a wave of real feeling went...

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