(This post doesn’t really fall in any category of what I might typically write about, but this was a cool experience that a lot of people were asking me about, so I thought I’d share more of it here. For more pics, videos and behind the scenes observations, check out my Instagram or Twitter)
My wife and I were fortunate to be able to attend the Grammys this past Sunday in Los Angeles. It was a bucket list item for us, so when the opportunity came up, we jumped at it (But how’d you get tickets? Keep reading… 🙂
It’s fascinating to be at big televised events like that and see so much of what goes on behind the scenes that you never see at home. Here are 10 things going on behind the scenes at the grammy’s you may have missed…
1. There are separate sets on each side of stage
The stage itself is massive. I think there were only 3 performances that took up the entire stage (AC/DC, Madonna, and John Legend/Common), but everything else was only on one half of the stage. Plus, they had the little circle stage in the middle. While one act would be performing, there would be literally 30-40 guys setting up the other half of the stage for the next act. And as you saw, these sets aren’t small little pieces. They really move a lot around to create each individual set for the upcoming performance.
2. You can hear the director
Before the show started, the executive producer and LL Cool J (the host…although he did very little it seemed) get on stage and give everyone instructions about what will happen when and what kind of reaction they need. For example, in the opening with LL Cool J introducing AC/DC, we couldn’t hear anything he was saying but they needed us to all be cheering like crazy people.
You could also hear the director call out 30 seconds and start a countdown when they were coming back from commercial. During the commercials, everyone in the floor seats are up chatting and meandering around, but when that countdown would start, everyone scatters back to their seats.
3. You can see most of the telecast
On the screens, they would show the telecast being played on CBS for most of the acts. But for several acts where lighting was a bigger part of the performance or when the performance was on the center round stage, they would turn the screens off.
4. They’re strict about no pictures, but nobody follows it
There are signs posted everywhere about no cameras or video allowed. I was told they’ll actually take cameras away. But in this modern world, everyone’s camera is their phone. So even though they tell you no pictures (executive director kept talking about it in the beginning too), everyone was taking pictures throughout the show.
5. During commercials, they show old Grammy moments
To fill the dead air during commercials, they would play classic performances from past Grammys. They were fun to watch.
6. You don’t see 90% of the awards they give out
A large majority of the awards are given out earlier in the day at what is called the Premiere Show. It is held at the Nokia Theater while the televised event is at the Staples Center (across the street). Your ticket to the televised event actually gets you into the Premiere Show as well which was first come, first serve seating. So we got right in and actually had 7th row seats which was pretty cool.
During the Premiere Show, they give out around 75 awards for music genres like Gospel, New Age, Folk, Rap, and Movies/TV (Frozen cleaned up all those). Just like in the main event, every winner would come on stage and accept their award and give their speech, so as you might imagine for ~75 awards, it was very long.
Even at the 3.5 hour televised event, it seemed like they only gave out 10 awards.
7. To make the arena look full, they use seat fillers
My wife knew about this, but it was news to me. A few minutes before the show starts, they have “seat fillers” (whose job is just like it sounds) take up all the empty seats on the floor to make it appear full.
Even when someone wins an award or is prepping for a performance and is gone from their seat, they have someone sit in their spot. So every time Sam Smith won something (which was often), someone would take his seat until he returned. Seemed like a cool gig.
8. The Grammys are very long
The Premiere Show started at 12.30pm PST (doors opened at noon) and went almost 3.5 hours (we left a little early to head to the Staples Center where the televised event was). Then the televised event also ran around 3.5 hours. But remember…a lot of that is filled with commercials, so there’s a lot of dead time waiting around for the next thing to start. It’s not like a concert where they just go from one song to the next.
9. Taylor Swift dances to everything like no one’s watching
She was just having the time of her life the entire nigh and was as much a fan as an artist. She was always one of the first to stand up before performances and for standing ovations. She was singing and dancing whether the cameras were on her or not. Every. Single. Song.
10. The Grammy’s After Party is pretty cool
After the telecast, there is an official Grammy’s After Party (which requires a different ticket) held across the street at the Convention Center (most of the big names aren’t there). There was a ton of free food and drink and a crap-load of people. It was an over-the-top gala filled with a lot of people trying to impress a lot of other people.
Overall, the entire day was a super cool once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Alright Grant…sounds sweet, but how did you get tickets???
I learned that the tickets are never actually sold to the general public, so you literally have to know someone. A few weeks before, I got an email from a podcast listener who happened to work for the Grammys. We emailed back and forth, but at the time she couldn’t get any more tickets.
Then about 3 weeks before the event, she emailed saying she had two tickets come available and needed to know ASAP if we wanted them. We had to figure out a bunch of details, but we were in. As a bonus, my brother (who works in NYC) happened to be flying in the same day as the event, so our contact was able to get him a ticket to the after party to go with us.
So what are the lessons here boys and girls?
1. Live In The Moment
Attending the Grammys is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people so when the opportunity came up, we knew we had a bunch of details to figure out (childcare, travel and most importantly, what to wear :), but we knew we could figure all of that out.
You never know who you’re going to meet in life and how those relationships will open doors to new opportunities. Don’t network with the intention of how they can help you but rather how you can help each other.
3. Start A Podcast
If I didn’t have our How Did You Get Into That podcast, we would have never met the super cool girl who got us into the Grammys. So start a podcast 🙂