Amazon.com threw a party to celebrate its 10th anniversary last night in Benaroya Hall and, befitting its status as the Internet's top retailer...
Amazon.com threw a party to celebrate its 10th anniversary last night in Benaroya Hall and, befitting its status as the Internet’s top retailer, the event was streamed live on its Web site.
The Seattle-based company is “finally making some money,” comedian/host Bill Maher joked. That was reflected in the stellar lineup, featuring rock legend Bob Dylan and newer singing sensation Norah Jones, two of Amazon’s top-selling recording artists.
Amazon began as an online bookstore, so three best-selling authors — James Patterson, Jim Collins and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snickett) — were featured, as was screenwriter/director/producer Lawrence Kasdan, best known for his screenplays for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
To honor Amazon’s three best-selling DVDs, the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, behind-the-scenes footage was shown for the first time, with narration from stars of the movies.
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Dylan concentrated on some of his most-familiar songs, including a rocking version of “Maggie’s Farm,” a scratchy-voiced “Tell Me That It Isn’t True” and a lusty “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.” He and his outstanding five-piece band also did “Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine” and “Watching the River Flow.” A sweet, most-charming moment came when Dylan and Jones sang a duet of “I Shall Be Released.”
“Dylan live on your computer,” Maher said. “I remember it was a big deal when he went electric.”
The strikingly beautiful Jones played earlier, backed by her impressive five-piece, The Handsome Band. Accompanying herself on grand and electric piano, she sang her signature hits “Don’t Know Why” and “Come Away With Me,” as well as Tom Waits’ “The Long Way Home” and The Band’s “Life Is A Carnival.” The audience of 2,500 Amazon employees and guests gave her a standing ovation.
Maher coyly asked the prolific Patterson, who has already had four No. 1 selling books on Amazon this year, the difference between high- and low-brow literature. Patterson (“Lifeguard,” “4th of July”) answered that his stories move faster than classics, but readers dabble in both.
Handler apologized that Lemony Snickett could not be present, then accompanied himself on accordion in a song about Count Orloff, the main character in the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” series. Audience participation included stomping on the floor and playing dead. Handler will play Bumbershoot in September.
Kasdan and Maher traded movie-industry jokes, mostly about the dumbing-down of films, but Kasdan pointed out that the greatest movies of all time are available on DVD, just a click away on Amazon.com.
Maher joked about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, getting a big laugh when he mentioned his “annoying laugh.” The comedian also pointed out that throwing a party featuring Dylan and Jones showed that “computer people are the hottest people in the world.”
Patrick MacDonald: 206-464-2312, email@example.com