School of Rock

Hall of Fame greats unite to make occasionally great music

Kevin Kane / WireImage / Getty

Bruce Springsteen, Bono and Patti Smith, from left, at the Hall of Fame concert in October.

Rock 'N' Roll has never excelled at math. "Two plus two always makes a five," says Radiohead, while Bono famously counts, "Uno, dos, tres, catorce." So why expect better from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Founded in 1983, the Hall celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 2009 with two all-star concerts at Madison Square Garden. An edited version will be televised on HBO on Nov. 29. Cutting shouldn't be a challenge.

The nominal idea of the concerts was to trace rock's journey by pairing up Hall inductees of different vintages and styles for performances that highlight influence. Or just...