So I went to the Grammy’s last weekend. That was pretty wild and frankly unexpected. The fact that I went at all was due to a last minute cancellation meaning that a dear friend was able to bring me out for an experience that was frankly unforgettable and in many ways eye opening. It’s the sort of event that you think is a once in a lifetime deal and which you need to treat as such. Even though there certainly are things to be avoided and a certain nihilism to the whole thing you need to appreciate it for what it is and realize that musics biggest night is a strangely fascinating look into a microcosm of society that is often deified beyond what any of them actually deserve or probably want. Still this is an event that I would highly recommend to just about anybody assuming that you can find your way in, pay the high ticket prices and then dive into what is pretty much guaranteed to be one of the weirdest and most unique things that you do all year.
First of all the sheer logistics of this entire thing are insane. When you consider the amount of money that the Grammy’s Foundation must make and the amount of money they also have to invest every year it simply boggles the mind. The Grammy’s are one of those things that are known for legendary performances and every year needs to one up the year before. That’s why I honestly was not surprised to see the Metallica mic issues happen or the Adele catastrophe. In all honesty I kind of assumed that those things had been happening for years and they had just been covering it with careful editing and a five minute delay. When you consider the sheer quality of the performances then and the constantly changing stage set it starts to become truly incredible that something like this could happen. Maybe it’s because I don’t normally go to pop shows, but even something like Katy Perry’s choreography left me in awe.
The Grammy’s take place in two event centers, the first is the actual awards ceremony itself. There are, as you may be aware, countless categories in the Grammy’s and they obviously don’t have time to present all of them in the main three hour telecast. So if you are so inclined then you can watch many smaller artists receive Grammy’s. This is actually one of my favorite parts, the room is rarely more than half filled but it allows you a chance to intimately see some of your favorite musicians getting the greatest honor that could possibly be foisted upon them. What’s especially cool is when one of the superstars featured later in the evening comes out to accept a Grammy personally, like when Sturgill Simpson came up and gave his own speech. It is shocking though how many people aren’t actually present to accept Grammy’s though. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but probably some combination of logistics of getting to LA and simply being too busy with industry events that could drive their careers further than a mere acceptance speech. I know that sounds insane, but at Grammy’s week in LA this can always be the case.
The telecast itself is truly special. Not just for the much vaunted collaborations, like the truly awesome mashup of Lady Gaga and Metallica, which was, despite technical difficulties, and the mediocrity of Metallica, still a highlight. I think one performance that really stunned me was a surprise appearance from Morris Day and The Time. The constant shift of the stages and the surprisingly fast pace of a three hour long show was stunning. That being said there certainly were a few strange hiccups that you think they would have planned around – IE Adele basically cleaning up with Chance the Rapper. That’s not a bad thing, but definitely not expected and definitely led to a slightly repetitive event. Beyond that I’ve often wondered why they don’t create backing bands of all stars for moments like when Bruno Mars covered Prince. Alas – these may just be fantastical ramblings, but while the event certainly is cool and over the top the music nerd in me constantly wants to make it more so.
Finally it was time for the true highlight of the evening – the afterparty. While many of the big names often go off to the more exclusive afterparties – understandably so – you still have a decent chance of meeting a few cool people here. Hell, I met Ron Jeremy and if that isn’t a life goal then I don’t know what is. You have to remember that Grammy’s week as a whole is about networking parties and by the time this evening rolls around everyone has been going out in their finest clothes for a week now. Which means that when you get to this party most people just want to take advantage of the open bar and chill. It’s an exciting experience though and it certainly was one of the most decadent parties I have ever attended. One thing that did throw me off though was how relatively conservative people were – as cool as it is to be in a room of exclusively music industry people it’s also a little surreal to see that some people are just sober executives to the core – certainly a far step from the heavy metal debauchery I’m so used to.
At the end of the day – the Grammy’s are a fun and often surreal event that is pretty much worth the $400 minimum it costs to get in. I know that sounds kind of confused but the Grammy’s in and of themselves area confusing thing. It’s an event that you’ll have a lot of fun at and see a lot of cool things at but also one that really contributes to your personal brand. Even if you make no substantial connections and just get drunk and look at the pretty performances and the weird installations in the afterparty and take enough selfies and walk the red carpet then folks will still think you’re a badass, so take advantage of that. Remember that this industry is all perception and if you can’t keep on grinding with that in mind you might as well not be grinding at all.
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