2/8/2013 6:48 PM
It’s already been a busy Grammy week, and the many professionals who put the Grammy Award’s technical engine into high gear are at full throttle, pointing the production straight towards Sunday night’s airtime. This year’s extensive and eclectic lineup is going to have some great surprises and commanding performances, as evidenced in the excitement around the splendor of today's rehearsals that included Justin Timberlake, true American musical icons Dr. John and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing with the Black Keys, and a sublime duet performed by Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert. If you were lucky enough be present today in the Staples Center, you’ve been sworn to secrecy about the details of the performances. What’s not a secret, but truly understood only if you’ve seen how it’s put together, is the true technical genius that brings each annual show to millions of music fans across this third stone from the sun.
The term “it’s not rocket science” does not apply here, because when touring behind the scenes, it feels like you’re standing in the middle of a NASA expedition to Mars. It’s only the vast collection of musical instruments, seeing the stars prepping, and that bass thump from above your head on the stage that brings you back to realizing this is show business and not a thrust into another galaxy. Some of the most talented musicians in the world are certainly going to take their performances to the maximum, no doubt about it. However it’s the amazing crew support such as audio pros Joel Singer, John Harris, Eric Schilling and their dedicated hard-working staff that are making sure that those growling riffs, soaring vocal arpeggios, and the percussion that kicks your aural imagination into overdrive reaches those at home with the same level of quality and excitement as it is experienced by those who have a front row seat in The Staples Center. It’s no easy task, and it’s produced on a level beyond even stellar professionalism. It’s carried out with the thrill of a life and heart dedicated to music and production from behind the consoles, under the stage and on the catwalks above.
There are literally mountains of gear to manage, from racks of compressors, hundreds of microphones, splitters, miles of cabling, and a massive communication setup for the crews to coordinate all of the mind-boggling staging and timing, all of it live with no room for error. While new announcements and details are reported every day this week about the upcoming performances, there works an army of audio and video pros who painstakingly rehearse and check every performance detail and each piece of gear over and over, spending several hours after each rehearsal slot using the just captured rehearsal recordings to review and make sure that the live performance and mix comes off exactly as desired by the artists. The best gear in the world is here, in use to full extent and pushed to the limits. Onstage will be those marvelous guitars and amps, exquisitely tuned drums, perfectly intonated pianos and beautiful voices belonging to music’s boldest and brightest stars. All of that is great, and makes The Grammy Awards what it is, “Music’s Biggest Night.” As you’re enjoying this amazing spectacle Sunday night, and being dazzled by the talent you’ll see and hear, think of those hard working people behind the scenes who are making this all come to your ears and eyes at home, or in person if you’re lucky enough to have a ticket. From microphone and camera, to satellite then screen, it’s delivered to you in an awesome pristine package. Just remember, all the gear and talent in the world is worthless without the imagination, genius and love of music that The Grammys' technical crew brings to the countdown and final launch.