So the first thing you probably noticed, is John isn’t wearing a grey suit. After trying on the tuxes, he decided it might be nice to take it up a notch and wear a black suit and tie (the same Calvin Klein shirt and Michael Kors tie!). Honestly, HE decided. Not that I wasn’t happy about it! I just rolled with it. Personally, I thought it rocked.
The Atlanta VIP event was soooo fun. Not terribly different from the Georgia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremonies I’ve been to when REM (2006) and Widespread Panic (2008) were inducted, with one small exception: this time John is one of the honorees. So that makes it all different.
The VIP red carpet arrivals were from 7:30 to 8:00. We arrive a few minutes early. But, we are just early enough for someone in the lobby to ask if we are press for the Grammy event. I reply, “No, but you have the right event.” Up we go to the fourth floor.
When we arrive, plenty of people are buzzing around. "You have to sign in." John obliges and pulls out his ID. The lady smiles and says, “Oh no, you don’t need that: I’ll take your word for it.” She checks off his name, and someone passes him a small, gold-colored Grammy lapel pin. I affix it to his shirt because the tux material is so thick.
Then we are herded through to the VIP Red Carpet area. Just like in the Devil wears Prada, everyone seems to know all of the nominees names. “John, do you want to walk the Red Carpet?” I’m thinking, who says “no” to that? John replies, “Yes.” And we are on the carpet. Lots of local TV stations with microphones, video cameras, still shot cameras. Each one asks John something different. “Why do you think you were nominated?” “Tell us what you think the nomination means to the state of Georgia?” “Who is your Super Bowl pick?” To the last one, he says, “I’ll defer to my wife for that one.” Stunned, in a deer-in-head-lights kind of way, I respond, “We aren’t football people, though we live in Athens.” So much for the icebreaker question, I suppose. The line passes quickly. I’m thinking that the obvious thing to do to prepare for an event like this is to have a clue what is going on in the world around you… like who’s playing in the Super Bowl that takes place in ten days.
Then it’s inside the banquet room: lots of round tables, a stage with a podium, and buffets lining either wall. The buffet is red snapper with an Asian sauce, sirloin, cold shrimp, asparagus, breads, chocolate mousse. Not too shabby. Must have been an open bar: no one asked for cash.
We’re told certain tables are for the nominees, others for the NARAS (National Academy of Recording Artists Sciences) guests, and one in the center—the governor’s table. I thought they meant like, the Board of Governor’s for NARAS or something. It was for Governor Nathan Deal and his party. Of course, Bruce Burch is seated at that table. He co-wrote the inaugural song along with the Governor’s daughter. Also seated at the table, is Bobbie Bailey, THE Bobbie Bailey of the Bobbie Bailey Foundation -- the undisputed advocate and guardian angel of the music industry.
|Left to right: John with Bruce Burch, Director, Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program Kennesaw State University-- Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Dr. Bobbie Bailey|
Things I learned: Georgia Nominees are in 34 different categories, including the top four big ones. This is the year with the largest Georgia contingent. Amongst the sponsors for the Atlanta Chapter of NARAS are: SunTrust, the Official Bank of Music (who knew), the Georgia Lottery (and I have complimentary scratch off card to prove it), and (not surprisingly) the W Hotel.