…That’s what you hear as the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards go live to air in the packed to capacity Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. However, before all of the applause and packed seats of onlookers, the GRAMMYs go through a rigorous schedule of rehearsal and timed perfection. What you at home see on TV is the result of A LOT of hard work. The madness that is GRAMMY week is bigger than any single concert you’ve been to, and it is where we spent most of last week as things began to take shape for music’s biggest night.
Prior to entering the bowels of the Staples Center, Shure once again sponsored the Producers & Engineers Wing GRAMMY Week Celebration honoring Quincy Jones & Al Schmitt. Hang on… prior to that, we made a stop to In-N-Out Burger in honor of Mr. Mike Lohman, who could not be with us on this trip. It was worth the wait. It was delicious. Why don’t we have this in Chicago? Back to the GRAMMY stuff…
Making our temporary home in Studio B of The Village Recording Complex, Shure served up some fresh seafood and the latest in wired mics and headphones. It was amazing to hear so many stories about Shure mics being used on classic recordings from the engineers and producers in attendance. The Super 55 tree, as we have dubbed it, was a bit of a challenge to construct, but I’m happy to say that it made through the entire evening without incident! Aside from being in such esteemed company, the highlight of the night for me was watching a few very critical ears try on the Shure SRH940 and SRH1840 headphones and be completely blown away! That and the countless offers that were made to purchase the SM7B on site or the questions about it being included in some sort of raffle. Most visitors to Studio B had something positive to say about the sleeper hit that is the SM7B.
Okay, so breakfast at the hotel was not that good and VERY expensive, not doing that again. Never mind that, we were making our way to the tunnel into the madness I referenced (there it is on the left) to join in the fun of rehearsals, day one. By the way, the “we” in question is Ryan Smith, Artist Relations Nashville and Jenn Liang-Chaboud, Market Development Senior Specialist. There is so much that goes into this show and everything is in the same place every year… good thing, as I’m just starting to get this whole thing down. As we arrived to the backstage area, we were called into a meeting with production who were concerned about how much “fun” the band fun. was going to be having on GRAMMY night. The “fun” in question was the rain curtain you all undoubtedly witnessed, where the band, all of their instruments and microphones were all drenched in a rain storm. Of course there was concern that the mics may fail if exposed to that level of water, but we were never all that concerned… that’s how we test this stuff! Aware of production’s concern, we immediately put a few phone calls in to the home office in Chicago to have back up transmitters and capsules sent out the next day (thanks to all of the Shure people who came through in the clutch)! Needless to say, we never needed back ups. Those mics you saw on Sunday night were the same mics from rehearsal and dress rehearsal… that’s multiple rain storms!
Making our way around the arena, we found some familiar faces in Mike Parker and Tom Pisa working stage left and stage right respectively. We were also happy to see some familiar product in place as the exclusive in ear monitor system for all artists performing at the GRAMMYs. Twenty-four channels of Shure’s PSM 1000 was once again the preferred choice by production and most of the artists that performed this year. Rehearsals did not begin until about 1:30 pm on day one, so it gave us some time to catch up with everyone and provide them a little Shure swag in the meantime. It actually got cold there in California… nothing like what Chicago was going through, but even a hooded sweatshirt (this year’s swag item) struggled to keep me warm. I did refuse to opt for the winter coat stashed back at the hotel… I’m from the midwest and way too many people would be a little upset and quite possibly revoke my man card if I was discovered wearing a winter coat in California.
So anyway, as the rehearsals moved into full swing, lots of Shure mics were in some pretty important positions on stage. It was nice to see the KSM313 on the guitar amps of the Lumineers and Jack White, that’s quickly becoming everyone’s favorite mic for guitar amp… it looks pretty sweet, too! On vocals you saw Taylor Swift on an Axient Wireless System with a Beta 58, fun. on UHF-R Wireless with Beta 58s, Mumford & Sons on Beta 58As, Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z on UHF-R Wireless with SM58s… a last minute vocal mic change put Justin on a Shure mic for the evening and I thought he sounded pretty damn good on it too! Adam Levine from Maroon 5 was on a UHF-R with a Beta 58 when he joined Alicia Keys onstage, The Black Keys rocked on their SM58s. Kelly Clarkson brought the house down on an SM58! The Lumineers had everyone singing along on SM58s. Jack White tore up the stage while on an SM58. The Levon Helm tribute featured amongst others, Mavis Staples on a UHF-R SM58, Brittany Howard on a UHF-R SM58 and Mumford & Sons on UHF-R SM58s. Juanes sounded amazing on a UHF-R KSM9 and Frank Ocean debuted a new track on a UHF-R SM58. The night ended with two hip-hop icons blazing up the stage as LL Cool J and Chuck D performed on UHF-R SM58s.
All in all, a pretty good selection of Shure mics helped to provide the audio on music’s biggest night! I would also like to mention the big win by Shure endorsers Mumford & Sons for Album of the Year, fun. for Best New Artist and Song of the Year, and The Black Keys for Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album and Best Rock Performance.
So, things are kind of normal around here now, but I would be lying to you if I said I haven’t started thinking about next year!