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

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Grammys Pass for ThursdaySometimes 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 every one 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.

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 set being touched up:

Bruno Mars setAnd 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 to 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 the 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 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 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 some day 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 stageLooking 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 cornerView 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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