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February 11, 2008

A Fitting End to an Extraordinary Blogging Experience

Encased_grammy_2After a weekend of preparation and a summer of hopeful anticipation, the 2008 Grammys and with it, my mobile blogging experience, are officially in the books. Beyond hectic during pre-show, the excitement that was covering the Grammys during pre-show was not only a historic event, but something that I don’t think I ever would have thought I would have the opportunity to do.

So much of this day was about learning as you go. From wandering around for over an hour to try and check in, only to find that the check-in area no longer existed (which everyone found a little weird), to the red carpet turning into a near-free for all as soon as the biggest names started arriving, this was a day without instruction nor time-outs. Thankfully, I ended up finding some really nice journalists, cameramen, and photographers to hang out with on the red carpet, making all the confusion a little bit easier to handle collectively. As individuals, there was confusion. But as a whole, it was some frantic fun on a Sunday afternoon.

Carrie_underwood_backI don’t know how anyone or anything could accurately capture the speed at which all of the artists were arriving as the show time got closer. At the 4:45PM “Doors Close” time, the red carpet was just barely beginning to thin out and some of music’s biggest names were still trying to speed through the area. While Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Plain White T’s, Paramore, and others were able to make their way through the media circus earlier in the day, others like Chris Brown, Akon, Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, John Legend, and Beyonce’ all showed up within minutes of one another and the show! Most of us expected that it would happen as such, but I have a feeling this was a particularly hectic day based on the reactions of my peers. And honestly, I kind of enjoyed that this experience was as frantic as many had ever seen.

As I sprinted back to my car in hopes of making it to the show on time (failure), I realized that buried under all of this manageable insanity was just a really fun time. Normally, my Sundays are spent watching football or catching up on my DVR. Instead, I was straining to catch a glimpse of the side of Carrie Underwood’s face as she zoomed through the red carpet to get prepared for her early-on performance (which I missed, representing one of the only real bummers on the night).

Paul_wall_2 I got to say "hey" to the infamous Delilah, speak with Paramore, see some of my favorite American Idol alumni, and ask Paul Wall to give me a shot of him flashing his grill. While a lot of this was still pretty surreal, I realized that I felt completely comfortable in this environment. Nothing was anything close to intimidating. It made the whole day a lot more fun because I could just enjoy all of it, without being scared by any of it.

When I finally got to sit down after over six hours on my feet, it dawned on me that this night was the end of a priceless experience. From 19 concerts over the course of a couple months, music’s biggest award show was the culmination of this blogging journey. I was treated to some incredible performances by Josh Groban, Alicia Keys (and a little Stevie Wonder!), and a performance of “Rhapsody in Blue” that got the Staples Center applauding on its collective feet. Overall, my favorite performance on the night belongs to Kanye West, who seems to steal the show at any award shows he decides to attend.

His time on stage was truly electric in performance and execution, but it was the tribute to his late-mother that really made it memorable. Most of us have an idea about who Kanye is, since he clearly has no qualms about making that known, but he showed a more human side to the hip-hop Superman that he plays everyday. I really enjoyed that! I was hoping that Carrie Underwood would win an award or two, making up for the fact that I missed her performance, but then I realized that I was being ridiculous considering I had just been lucky enough to see her a few hours before. I did have a feeling that Amy Winehouse was going to walk away (via satellite) with a bunch of hardware and was right about that, but who could have predicted that it would be Herbie Hancock that would have beaten out Kanye West and Amy Winehouse for the night’s biggest award??

Natasha_bedingfieldEven after the show, I got to attend the official Grammy after party, where my newest crush, Natasha Bedingfield (who I think looks like Rachel McAdams in a way), performed for a huge, huge audience, followed up by Cyndi Lauper, who was just thrilled to still be on stage performing. And best of all, since I hadn’t eaten all day, the food was great! In our Grammy gift bag? Skin and hair care products. I don’t know if any gift could have possibly been more fitting for me to finish out this experience.

Being at this historic event, where the experience returned whatever you put in, was truly a fitting reward for a summer that will forever rival the best I’ve had in life. This was the opportunity of a lifetime with memories to match and I am forever grateful to those who made it happen and those who supported me along the way. I hope that you enjoyed coming along for this blog-filled journey! I have everyone to thank for making it happen.

We'll be putting up a boatload of my pictures in the Grammy blog photo gallery, so be sure to check them out! There will be some desktop background worthy shots in there. Thank you again to everyone taking the time out of your day to see how I've been spending mine. I'll miss everything that came with this experience, but it couldn't have ended on a better note.

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