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Road trip report – Los Angeles for 54th The GRAMMY Rehearsals

Grammys Pass for Thursday

Sometimes my job is a lot of fun and despite the stress that accompanies some of the events I go to, I ultimately enjoy it. For the second year in a row, I attended several days of the GRAMMY rehearsals in Los Angeles.

Attending rehearsals is not attending the show and I will be sitting in front of the television just like everyone else watching the show tonight! But I will tune in and that is unusual for me as I don't watch television for the most part. I watch certain TV series via iTunes, but our television is rarely turned on except to watch the French news for 30 minutes daily.

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However, when you see what it takes to put the show together, you are excited to see how it comes off. This live broadcast is nothing short of amazing.

I should also say I was back on Friday night which was before the devastating news of the loss of Whitney Houston. I have no doubt that this news seriously impacted the vibe of the whole show. Kind of a bummer because so many people put their heart and soul into the broadcast and in the end it will be overshadowed by death.

I was on site Wednesday through Friday. This year was far better professionally as I was able to get great content for Dolby's social media channels. I worked with a great videographer who knows the people in the mixing world and this resulted in more content than I hoped for. But personally, it wasn't as “fun” this year as last as I didn't get to see very much of the actual rehearsals. I did get to see Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood perform as well as LL Cool J rehearsing some of his hosting duties, and part of Katy Perry's production set-up, but that was it.

Most disappointing to me was missing the Bruce Springsteen rehearsal by about 10 minutes, as a huge fan, I had hoped to catch a glimpse. Instead, I got to see his amp and only captured a blurry picture as well as seeing his equipment list for his rehearsal.

Bruce Sprinsteen Call Sheet

Along the same lines, equally unimpressive to those seeking celebrity sightings, was seeing part of Bruno Mars's set being touched up:

Bruno Mars set

And two things from Katy Perry's performance, a riser with her keyboard player's equipment:

Katy Perry riser

And the practice ice sculpture for her performance that includes both ice and fire (pyrotechnics).

Katy Perry Ice Sculpture

But I was not there to celebrity stalk, I had real work to do and I spent most of my time in the mixing area outside the Staples Center.

Andi and the mixing trucks

Let me tell you the work that the music mixers do to make the live broadcast sound like you are there is awe-inspiring. Besides having the opportunity to interview the two main music mixers, multi-award-winning John Harris and Eric Schilling, I met and had brief conversations with Phil Ramone and the mixer for Paul McCartney who has been working with him since the Beatles!

The work that the mixers do is not stress-free but all the mixing and sound team members are consummate professionals and such humble people. They are supremely talented but are cordial and open to interrupting their work to share their experiences and teach others as well (see their advice for people getting into the field in this video). Here is another video we did talking about how the show comes together.

I will likely write another Tumblr post on how the mixing process works during the rehearsals, if that doesn't happen I will write about it here because it is a really cool process. (You can take a peek at my other Tumblr post on the technical tour I went on and what went into making the Staples Center ready to host the biggest live music event each year).

I felt a little cool when one of the technical tours I went on included two reporters from the Huffington Post! Here I am as a “serious” reporting recording the details of the tour from tour host, Doug Mountain.

Andi with Doug Mountain and Huffington Post reporters

Cameras are severely limited in the “bowl” but I do have a few photos that I will share here since the live show has already begun on the East Coast. I can't tell you how cool the vibe is in there, I want to see the actual show someday in the Staples Center!

Here is the GRAMMY's stage viewed from the front-of-house area where they mix for the stage and people attending the show. Any images of the stage are absolutely off-limits to share prior to the broadcast as it is a closely guarded secret every year.

Grammys stage

Looking down on the Staples Center from the upper right corner, the placards in the chairs are there to mark where celebrities will sit so they can plan camera panning.

Looking down on the Staples Center from the upper right corner

View of the bowl from the upper deck seats, the view may not be the best from any seat, but I can tell you the sound is!

View of the bowl from the upper deck seats

It is hard work with lots of running and stress, but I am looking forward to watching the fruit of everyone's labor tonight on television!

How about you? Are you a fan of the GRAMMYs? Is there someone in particular you are looking forward to seeing or if the show has already aired for you a performance you liked?

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  1. Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) says:

    Wow, this is really “behind-the-scenes” and captures what a lot of WORK and (hu)man-power goes into such a production. Interesting stuff! I cracked up at the photos with the odds-and-ends of the things for the show. I think the ones that made me giggle the most were Katy Perry’s keyboardist’s riser and the “practice ice sculpture.” Even typing that made me giggle!! 😀

    Being where I am, I did not watch the GRAMMYs — not even streaming (which I am not sure was even possible without something like a VPN). I have read a few posts about the fashions, and I am totally excited about Bon Iver’s wins (love them — plus they were named after an episode of one of my favorite episode of one of my all-time favorite shows, Northern Exposure). And Adele, of course. Who could not be excited for her and for her career, eh?

    Now I need to go check out Tumblr to see what’s there and also the videos.

    Thanks for sharing this peek into another universe, Andi!

    1. @Karin, glad you enjoyed it. It is pretty funny to see the pieces and it is a special kind of ballet to make sure they all come together and without a hitch. Had not heard of Bon Iver until 2 years ago when I was attending a social media conference in Chicago and a bartender at an event shared one of their songs from his phone, I like them a lot too and thrilled they won!

  2. Lady Jennie says:

    Wow – what fun to get a behind the scenes look! I need to tweet this so others can see it.

  3. Barbara Stenby says:

    You have an amazing life! You do some awesome things I mean the Grammys! OMG! I have just recently found your blog and I have to say I truly enjoy reading it! Thanks! I can’t wait to read another post!

    1. @Barbara, why thank you. I am pretty blessed but don’t take it for granted. I am really excited about the potential opportunity to also go to the Oscars coming up in February – keep your fingers crossed for me! I hope you come back and visit more!