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A Musical Adventure

February 19, 2009 - Phyllis Sigal
It just goes to show you that it is who you know in this world.

Two of my friends were lucky enough to go to the Grammy Awards show held earlier this month in Los Angeles, and they described it as an "experience of a lifetime" and a "once-in-a-lifetime" event.

Cheryl Riley and Anne Harman received tickets courtesy of Cheryl's best friend from law school who is senior vice president, associate general counsel at CBS Broadcasting in L.A. She just happened to have a couple of extras!

"It was absolutely wonderful. I couldn't believe we were there," Cheryl said. "Also, I found out that it was very difficult to get tickets, which made me really appreciate being there all the more!"

Anne said that she was "very excited and thrilled to have the experience. I don't need to do it again, but I do have a new respect for the event and all that goes into it. It was kind of funny to see the stars getting herded around so they'd be in the right seats at the right time."

Here's my Q&A with Anne and Cheryl:

P.S.: Was it fun?

Cheryl: The only way to describe it would be to say we had a blast! The performances were wonderful, but it was equally entertaining watching the performers set up and watching them move various nominees in and out of the first few rows. From our seats, we could actually see Paul McCartney setting up prior to his performance.

Anne: It's always fun to see how things work behind the scenes.

P.S.: Can you describe the scene?

Anne: We never even saw the red carpet. There appeared to be four levels of "importance" in entering the facility for the event. Red Carpet for stars, then the next area, which was for industry execs, then our entrance for premium seating, then a final entrance for "regular" seating. Lots of gowns and formal things on young (say early 20s) attendees, otherwise, a lot of cocktail attire. Honestly, the crowd looked like pretty normal people — not very glitzy.

Cheryl: The Staples Center is used for concerts and where the L.A. Kings (hockey team) play. It is quite large. We sat in a great location about halfway up and toward the stage, but not too close. To our right was a camera that was used to showcase specific performers (was on Justin Timberlake while he was playing). There were large TV screens where we could see what you would see on TV. The center stage was not very large, but there were stages to the left and right where the bands set up and played. In the middle of the floor (among the seats) was a small stage where a couple of the acts took place. (Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus performed there.) Cameras were hanging down from various locations.

P.S.: Was it more exciting seeing the awards presentations/acceptance speeches or the performances? 

Anne: The performances were much more interesting. When else do you have the opportunity to see such different musical types performing together, perhaps covering yet another performer's song, and really getting outside their usual comfort zone. 

Cheryl: Performances by far!

P.S.: Who did you see?

Cheryl: We saw everyone that you saw on TV plus a few extra stars. It was really fun watching the musicians (such as the Jonas Brothers, Paul McCartney and Coldplay, among others) enjoying the performances of other musicians.

Anne: Really didn't get up close or near anyone, but saw Robert Plant, Allison Krause, John Mayer, Paul McCartney (and new gal pal), Jo Bros, Coldplay, Nicole Kidman, Sean Puffy Combs, M.I.A., etc...  

P.S.: Who was your favorite performer? 

Cheryl: I loved most of the performers but I would say Coldplay and Paul McCartney were my favorites.

Anne: Robert Plant and Allison Krause. Also, KidRock and Coldplay were pretty great. 

P.S.: Was it what you expected? 

Anne: Not nearly as glamorous as I'd thought it would be. The facility, with folding chairs for the "stars" on the floor, made it feel more like a concert or a game, than an awards event, so that was a bit of a surprise.

Cheryl: Better than expected. Afterward we went next door to the L.A. Convention Center to the Grammy party. We had to have separate tickets to get into the party.

They didn't get any autographs ... the "regular" people don't get to get near the red carpet, Cheryl noted.

But it was worth the trip for their experience of a lifetime!

"I can't even describe how much fun we had!" Cheryl noted.


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