My roommate, Keira Niemeyer, and I recently got the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the Grammy Awards’ salute to The Beach Boys. It took place just days after the Grammy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. It was an extraordinary show of musical and technical theater ability, and my first experience with the world of live TV.
After math class and a long drive, Keira and I arrived in Tinseltown. After a quick outfit change in the parking garage, we made our way to the venue. The adrenaline and excitement in the line to check in was palpable. Every attendant was dressed to the nines, buzzing about who they were most excited to see. Phrases like “I wonder if I’ll sit next to a celebrity,” “my high heels hurt” and “do you think we’ll be on TV” filled the space.
Once we finally got through the hullabaloo we were able to enter into the Dolby lobby, trying to sneak peaks through the grand doors into the theater. The usher motioned for us to follow and when he opened the door, it was like a portal into another dimension. Bright lights, stage crews and the noises of the band practicing hit us like a truck.
It was nothing short of surreal walking into the historic and iconic Dolby Theater. The theater is a massive five levels high and able to seat 3,400 guests. There were nearly one hundred stage crew members, ably shifting the layout of the stage, pushing giant crate boxes, drum sets and various instruments. Massive TV cameras were pushing on and off of the stage on giant, jointed cranes, ensuring they would be able to get the shots they needed when the time came. Every couple of seconds the lighting would change drastically, again just running last minute tests shifting from flood lights, to warm ambience, to rave-esque laser shows all in the course of a few minutes. Keira turned to me, shooting me an “I cannot believe we are here” look.
About 10 minutes after we were seated the voice of God boomed across the theater. “Five minutes to showtime. Clear the rows. Standby.” During what felt like the longest five minutes of my life, I heard an excited commotion in the crowd. Following the other guests I turned to look, and there, less than 100 yards from me, were the surviving Beach Boys. “This is getting real,” I thought to myself.
The theater went black and the God-like voice returned with a countdown. “Crowd stand. Start applause. Rolling in 5, 4, 3, 2.” The lights swept from bottom to top, ending in a dim light with emphasis on the stage. John Stamos sauntered on to the stage and introduced the event. I really don’t remember what he said because I blacked out. “No way I’m breathing the same air as JOHN STAMOS.” I think he said something about “thanks for being here,” “we love The Beach Boys,” nostalgia, summer, etc.
Over the next three-ish hours we saw Beck, John Legend, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, Charlie Puth, Pentatonix, Mumford and Sons, Foster the People, Lady A, Norah Jones, Andy Grammer, Brandy Carlile and many many others perform. In between each set was a commercial break, and the hundreds of stage hands dressed in all black were running full speed, completely changing the layout of the stage. Each artist performed a rendition of a classic Beach Boys song in their own style. At the end of each performance they would literally bow and applaud The Beach Boys, who returned with claps and nods of approval.
As amazing as it was, I can’t say I wasn’t exhausted. Stand. Smile. Clap. “Clap louder,” boomed the Grammy God. All of the performances were amazing, with a wide range in style and vibe. From the Fall Out Boy rock concert to John Legend’s powerful solo ballad, to Charlie Puth (in a bizarre sequined tank top) playing the piano. After many hours, the strangest most amazing concert I had ever been to, wrapped.
The show was live on CBS, but will be available to stream on Paramount+ at a later date.
Written By: Lilly Corcoran