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The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards and Afterparty @ The Staples Center, 2/13/11

February 20, 2011

We had approximately 30 minutes between the Pre-Tel and the Telecast to run to the Social Media suite and recharge our phones/iPads and ourselves. This happened to be one of the only moments where all of us were in the same room- and here we are!

We were warned that we had to be in our seats at 5:00 sharp or else we would be locked out until after the first performance, which was 10 minutes long. We were running through the cavernous Staples Center backstage, sweet talking our way through every security person we encountered, passing this one area with nice purple lighting and white linens and couches and mosquito netting, giving its calm ambiance a longing glance as we trekked on. Once on the third tier, we turned the wrong way and ended up making a circle around the entire place before finding our seats seconds before it began.

The show was kicked off by LL Cool J introducing the tribute to Aretha Franklin. It was a nice performance by five beautiful lady vocalists, followed by a video from Ms. Franklin herself. However, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with emotion during this because Franklin had successful surgery to remove Pancreatic cancer, which is what my mom passed away from in September.

I was able to watch MUSE rehearse for their performance, so I knew what to expect. Being able to watch rehearsals is one of the ultimate perks of being a GRAMMY blogger. When the people around me started nervously asking about the people infiltrating the stage…I knew it was part of the act. MUSE also gave us the first bit of pyro of the evening.

Speaking of pyro- it seemed to be the theme of the evening….first with MUSE…then with Justin Bieber…..then Rihanna and Drake. The other theme of the evening was that it was all about the underdogs: MUSE took home Best Rock Album, Esperanza Spaulding won Best New Artist, and Arcade First won Album of the Year.

Other highlights for me was seeing Bob Dylan perform ‘Maggie’s Farm’ with Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers. I thought Mick Jagger’s performance was amazing even though I watched it from a screen backstage- he performed ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ as a tribute to Solomon Burke…who passed away last year. Luckily I got to see him perform at one of the GRAMMY events last year.

After the show, we made our way to the official GRAMMY afterparty. The Roots were already rocking the stage when we got there. The last time I saw them was about 14 years ago opening for Rage Against the Machine when Wu-Tang Clan had to cancel their opening slot.

Wandering around the afterparty means meeting interesting people. I met the couple who got engaged on the red carpet:

And then I met the person from The Recording Academy who is launching this beautiful campaign: Be Part of the Heart. I encourage you to go and donate!

My GRAMMY experience didn’t quite end until the following day, when I went to check into my 5th hotel in 10 days in West Hollywood. A very tired but happy looking Arcade Fire were checking out at the same time!

It was great to read the news over the next couple days and see what a large scale impact the GRAMMYs had: Esperanza was apparently sold out in many stores, and Mumford went to #1 on iTunes. Arcade Fire’s win inspired a special Tumblr. And this year’s GRAMMY telecast was the highest rated in 10 years…something that was attributed to social media efforts. Even Bob Lefsetz acknowledged it!

Special thanks to Delta and Hilton for sponsoring the Community Blogger team this year. And check out the other blogger’s sites here.


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