Watch my Grammy video moment
See the still photos.
I’ll cut to the chase, you know why I was there. Seatfiller, been there, done that. There is of course, a longer back story, but this thing is going to be long enough as it is, so I will refer you to the archives for that information.
February 23, 2003: Grammy Day
Cindy and I arrive at the Garden at 5:00 PM. The email says, arrive at 5PM, but tickets are given out “on a first come, first served basis.” Long story short, we tried to get there early, but we got there at about 5:05 PM. In my haste, I wisely grabbed my lightest jacket, no gloves, and no hat. Not sure if you were familiar with the temperature Sunday night in NYC, (my bald head sure was), but it had to be in the teens with the wind chill. Needless to say, I was slightly underdressed. Cindy, (my better half for those of you don’t know her), wisely, brought a second pair of shoes for standing, (my suggestion actually ladies). The email said we would be standing in an area, “shielded from inclement weather.” Thankfully, it wasn’t raining because when we got there because the line was so long it already extended out the taxi stand on 7th avenue.
5:30 PM So, we’re standing and freezing, I decide to scout the line to see if I know someone who’s further along than we are. Rumor has it only 300 people are getting in, so our prospects don’t look good right now. We got be behind at least 500 people I’m guessing. I’m getting a little nervous since Cindy has gone to get her hair and makeup done for the show and if we don’t get in… well, let’s just say I felt motivated to improve our chances through whatever means necessary. I scout the line again and I see a girl who was standing beside at the back when we arrived but now she has mysteriously moved to the front. I ask her how she got there and she tells me that she has a seatfiller connection so she got bumped up. I asked her if she would mind if we got bumped up with her and she said OK, but as you might suspect, there were some grumbles from the folks behind her. So, I went back to our spot which hadn’t really moved up, but had rather bunched a little closer together.
5:45 PM Cindy is freezing so I tell her to go talk to the girl at the front (it’s much warmer under the overhang). After about 15 minutes (6:00 PM), she comes back to get me, we’ve decided to do what every good New Yorker would do in this situation, cut the line. Now I know you’re thinking, bad karma, bad karma, but it’s OK you know how the story ends already. We’ll save my karmic reversal for another day. (As a footnote, I later found out that all the seatfillers were admitted, even those at the very end of the line).
6:00 – 6:30 We’re standing under the overhang now,(thankfully), and the line is moving. By 6:30 we’re through security and inside the mighty gates.
6:30 PM They shephard us in and up the stairs and give us green ribbons. No, it’s not Earth Day, it’s your seatfiller badge (which must be visible at all times). If you go back and look at the tapes, I’m sure you will spot more than one of those green ribbons during the ovations. Once we’re in we go up the 100(?) level and basically stand against a wall for oh… about an hour and a half. During this time, various celebs, non-celebs, and pseudo-celebs pass us by.
6:30 – 7:55 PM – Star Spotting
Bowling For Soup – 4 guys in some ill advised powder blue tuxedo jackets with shorts. I never heard of ’em before tonight and probably never will again.
Rumors of Sheryl Crow float by, but I don’t see her personally. Rumors of Fred Durst also cross my ears, but I don’t see him either.
Steve Case, now we’re talking. I’m sure he went rather unnoticed by everyone else.
Tommy Motolla with some very young looking woman, who looked a lot like… (surprise) Mariah Carey.
Slash passes by in a blue velvet top hat. I see Dave Grohl in the men’s room.
7:55 PM Umm, can we go in now? We’re getting closer to the door, but they’re really letting us sweat it out. I thought they would let us in a little before hand to kind of direct us, but by the time we set foot inside the theater, I hear the announcer saying “30 seconds”. Quick, better find seats– an ecstasy of fumbling. But where do we sit, there’s no one to tell us where to go. We stumble into some empty spots about 20 rows back from the stage, Dutin Hoffman introduces S&G and they kick off the show. Wow, Art still has bad hair after all these years, looks like Paul finally decided to dump the rug, good for him. Oh yeah, the song was pretty cool too, but I’m too busy taking notes to enjoy it. I notice Chevy Chase to my left.
The First Commercial Break
We decide to get up and move into slightly better seats. No Doubt performs, eeech, what an awful song, sadly they win for it. Just in case I forgot where I was, I am now reminded that I am at the GRAMMY awards.
The Second Commercial Break
Our new seats are not so much better, some guy sort of hollers from the other side that those are his seats, and then some people come to sit down in them and we move along. We decide to move to the right of theatre for some reason. We strike out for seats and spend the next part of the show standing at the sidelines.
The Next Commercial Break
We decide to move up to the very front. Ah, here’s where we get some action. Yoko Ono, Dustin Hoffman, and Jesse Harris. I shake his hand and offer congrats (by that time Norah Jones has alredy won for something). We don’t get anything right at the front, so we move back and take 2 seats about 20-30 rows from the stage. We sit here for a couple of performances, get the boot and then move one row ahead. From here we see The Boss and Avril Lavigne. I find both performances somewhat lacklustre. The kids for the Avril Lavigne set run right past us to the front of the stage to “mosh”. We also see Coldplay from here, that was one of the highlights of the night, without a doubt. So right now, I’m scheming, got to get a better seat, but how? Jesse Harris takes the next award for Song of the Year. I tell Cindy I’m going to fill his seat, I don’t come back. I go up to his spot (I remembered it from the handshake), eye it, and then all of the sudden, somebody tells me to sit down behind him in another empty seats. Row 6, sounds pretty good to me. Here I will remain for the rest of the show, two rows behind Norah Jones, one row behind Jesse Harris and Yo Yo Ma, one row in front of Usher, and two rows ahead of Harry Smith (the A&E guy).
The Rest of the Show
Well, the rest of the story is not so detailed, Norah Jones won three more awards and I am pretty visible on each of them, Record of the Year, Best New Artist, and Album of the Year. I did a couple standing O’s so you can see me pretty well (look for the handsome fellow with glasses). When I got up to take Jesse Harris’ seat, I told Cindy to take Norah Jones’ seat when she won her next award. So, the next time Norah won, Cindy took the seat, she talked to Lee Alexander (NJ’s boyfriend and bass player) until she had to vacate so Norah could accept the next award. After that, Cindy took another good seat behind me.
So, now I’m up at the front and I get to see NSYNC and Eminem up close. I gotta tell ya folks, I think Eminem probably delivered one the best, if not the best performance of the evening. It was pretty electric. The Clash tribute was definitely cool, but it wasn’t on my side of the stage unfortunately. I don’t know if you could tell, but it was lit differently from most of the other songs and the lights really shot straight into my eyes so it was hard to see the guys at all. One thing I did notice at the show and on the broadcast was that they cut away to preening Little Steven when The Little Hands of Concrete himself was really grinding the axe. If you watch the tape again, EC kind of gets down and swings the guitar out to his side, then they cut to Steven, Springsteen loving bastards at CBS. Then the next cut back to EC he is up and singing again, a shame really. I gotta tell you, I also thought NSYNC did a good job, (never thought I would say that), but the medley was pretty good (after all, it wasn’t their music, of course, they don’t actually have any of their own music, but that’s another story).
After Party You Say? Did we go to an after party? No. Did we try really hard? Not really. Some girl found Dustin Hoffman’s ticket, which had an after party ticket attached and I asked her for it. She said no, but she wasn’t going either.
What’s Left To Say? Well, not that much except for what happened to me tonight (mon). I can’t write anymore now, but let’s just say the Cedar Tavern with Pollock and de Kooning. Until then, I bid you good night.
Hope you read it all, hope you enjoyed it, hope it makes sense.