When I left you, John and I had attended the Special Merit Awards and Nominees Reception on Saturday night and were getting ready for the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Fact: there are 86 Grammy awards and only 11 are televised. John was one of the awards given out earlier that day in what is called the Premiere Ceremony. I thought this would be at a hotel ballroom and we'd all be sitting around big tables. John Waters was going to there and I told everyone I was going to take so many secret pictures of him. Well, turns out, not at a hotel ballroom. No, our ceremony was next door to the Staples Center at the Nokia Theatre, which is what would happen if Ryman Auditorium and Bridgestone Arena had a baby. It was huge.
We sat down and read on the program that John's award was number 12, so we were going to know if he won real fast, like in the first 30 minutes fast. I looked around at the enormity of the event and the enormity of why we were there, and started crying. I tried to tell John that I was proud of him, but I couldn't talk and we both started laughing.
John is a mastering engineer and was nominated for his work on There's A Dream I've Been Saving: Lee Hazelwood Industries 1966 - 1971 (Deluxe Edition) in the category, Best Historical Album. John was nominated along with the box set's 3 producers: Matt Sullivan, Patrick McCarthy and Hunter Lea. This was great because it meant we went through the whole weekend as a group of 8, which was a lot of fun, and also, way less intimidating.
They really did get to John's award in the first 30 minutes. I couldn't believe how fast it all went. I started crying again as they read the list of nominees and I heard "John Baldwin, mastering engineer", but then they read another name as the winner. I was stunned for a minute while my brain processed what just happened. We had met the winner at the reception the night before and we were happy for her, and listened to her acceptance speech, and then we all just kind of looked at each other, shrugged and left. We walked outside, found the closest hotel bar and stayed there until it was time for the Grammys.
(From L to R: Alec Palao, Hunter Lea, Patrick McCarthy, Matt Sullivan, John Baldwin)
I had initially intended to walk the Grammys red carpet to A) see a red carpet in person, and B) see some crazy celebrities up close. But... mojitos. We lost track of time and barely made it into the Staples Center before they closed the doors. We sat down and the show started almost immediately. AC/DC started playing and it was so loud and so over-the-top. I started laughing and couldn't stop, and kind of started laugh-crying. It was just so ridiculous - the performance and the fact that we were there.
Seeing an awards show in person is really weird. Most of the stuff you see on television you don't see live because the host and most of the presenters are mic'd for television. So there are these screens that drop down and show old performances to keep the live audience entertained during all the transitions. It's bizarre. But we had great seats and the show was 80% fun.
After the awards show, we all walked next door to the Convention Center for the after-party, which John described on Twitter as, "Mary Poppins / Transcontinental Railroad themed". It was kind of like Bonnaroo, but in a convention center. There were all these different rooms, with different stages and different themed performers. Gloria Gaynor performed - ? None of it made sense. But hey, open bar! Honestly, it was a much needed opportunity for the guys to regroup, refocus and turn those frowns upside down, which we did. Until 2am.
John and I have joked about how we'll tell people about the Grammys because it's going to be so hard to do without sounding like assholes. It is hands-down one of the most important things that has happened to John's career, but the actual event was a total circus that kind of didn't mean much. We met a lot of people over the weekend who nodded knowingly upon hearing that it was our first time. I get it now. It's definitely something you do when you get nominated, but you only do it once. And I'm only talking about the televised Grammy Awards show, not all the other stuff. The weekend itself and all the nominee events that John went to are 100% worth the airfare, but the actual awards show? Yeah, once is probably enough.
Full Grammy photostream here.