For an attraction located in Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sure throws some cool parties in New York. This time, ordinary folk got to watch, including the fabled jam session that closes each session.

And as in previous years, some folks made headlines by attending and others made them by staying away. Bill Berry rejoined his REM bandmates for the first time in a decade after the group was inducted by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. Another group with a cult following, Van Halen, showed up in disarray with David Lee Roth reportedly refusing to attend after plans for a summer reunion tour were canceled and mainstay Eddie Van Halen entering rehab for substance abuse issues last week. The band was represented by first replacement singer Sammy Hagar and fired bassist Bill Berry, who the Van Halen brothers replaced last year with Eddie’s teenage son. (A side note to Bill Berry on class: being an international rock star for 20 years only to be fired and replaced by the boss’ teenage kid sucks. Showing up as the only original band member with enough class to honor the award – shows class and style).

Jay-Z was on hand because music events don’t “happen” without Jay-Z on hand. He inducted Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five while Zack De La Rocha from Rage Against The Machine inducted Patti Smith. And if you told someone at the start of her career that Patti Smith would be inducted, they would have laughed at you. Perhaps laughing loudest would have been her. Finally, Rolling Stone Keith Richards inducted The Ronettes (sans creator Phil Spector who stil has that nasty murder thing going on a couple of thousand miles away).

No more bootleg videos. No more slice and dice for television bits and pieces. The Rock Hall finally became accessible to fans all over with this year’s broadcast, albeit on a borderline cable station. It’s a start.

Tune in next year to see who shows up and who doesn’t. And speaking of showing up, was that really Stephen Stills on guitar?