Archive for April, 2011

GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT: COUNTDOWN TO THE SHOW!

April 4, 2011

Today rehearsals for tonight’s “Girls’ Night Out” show began at 10:30 AM, with Vince Gill working up his rendition of “Jesus Take The Wheel” with the house band in a rehearsal room. I’m a longtime Vince Gill fan (he was at his peak of popularity about the time I got into country music and his songs of heartache matched my state of mind perfectly back then), so I was very glad he finally participated in the ACMA festivities, as he hadn’t attended since I started working on the show.

In “American Idol” parlance, Vince “made the song his own,” and I realized how important his guitar sound is to his music.

After running through the song a few times, Carrie Underwood arrived and they worked on their duet (from this point on, I won’t mention the songs, as I see the spoilers have been picked up here and there on the web). Around this time, the performers who were scheduled for rehearsal afterward all started to arrive, with Reba, Rascal Flatts, Jennifer Nettles and Ronnie Dunn all adding to the star power and hanging out in the room at the same time. One thing about country music: everyone knows everyone else and they all get along, with the singers not rehearsing all bobbing their heads to the music and singing along. They were especially impressed by Carrie’s singing on her duet with Vince, with everyone clapping at the end.

As the other acts ran through their songs together, I was busy watching for my chance to get Vince’s autograph, but he was busy conversing with the various musicians hanging around. I thought I had lost my chance because I thought he’d left, only to see him a few minutes later sitting in a chair alone in the public hallway, listening to Carrie’s version of “Jesus Take The Wheel” on his phone, still working on his performance. I took my shot and Vince was more than happy to sign a few CD covers I had brought to Las Vegas. I told him how he was one of the artists that got me into country music and he joked how he ruined me for life and thanked me. As super nice as expected, and surprisingly tall. Taller that me anyway!

Rehearsals have now moved to the big stage in the arena. Time to take a look!

BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE ACMA’s 2011: SHOWTIME!

April 3, 2011

So I haven’t had any time to write a post until now, just two hours before showtime. The dress rehearsal looked great, at least what I could see on the monitor in the production office. I’m looking forward to finding out the identity of Carrie Underwood’s surprise guest for her performance. Many people online were guessing Steven Tyler. I was thinking it might be Celine Dion, at least until I read Britney Spears was seen in Las Vegas this weekend. That’s who I would put my money on, but we’ll see!

Most of my duties have been preparing for the show they’re taping tomorrow, “Girls’ Night Out,” which will be broadcast on April 22nd on CBS. The reason I’ve been so busy is we keep changing things on the show to make them better, right up until the last possible minute. Mostly we’ve been improving the tribute packages, which are a glimpse into the early lives of our honorees. I’ve been asked to find photos of their hometowns, their families, and their early performances. Some of my favorite material came from Carrie Underwood’s management, who sent us footage of Carrie performing in a school assembly and even on a Tulsa Oklahoma TV station when she was in the seventh grade. Turns out she was a seasoned performer even then!

My favorite moments so far occurred at the rehearsals for the “Girls’ Night Out” show. As always on the second show, the house band sets up in a small room and the artists drop by to work on their songs. The great John Fogerty is performing two songs, including a duet with Wynonna Judd on one of his Creedence classics. Yesterday, John spent some time rehearsing his performance of a Judds song, followed by a run-through of “Proud Mary.” First the band did it like the original record, which sounded great. But then John announced that was the first time he’d played it that way in 40 years and that he’d taken a tip from the Tina Turner version and sped it up a bit, so they played it that way and that’s the way you’ll hear it on the show. And did I mention that John spoke to me? Sure, it was only to thank me when I got him a bottle of water, but still! Just observing him, you could see he was the nicest, most humble rock star you would ever want to meet.

Enjoy the show!