Another Grammy Awards show has come and gone and it still has me thinking about my time doing security for such events.

Last week I brought you a story about the final Grammy Awards I worked, so this week I’ll share some more experiences from other years at the acclaimed day of music.

As explained last week, my security company would have us working at the Grammys' site at the Convention Center and the Staples Center for the week leading up to the event. We would oversee the preparations and see the whole place transform into a huge party before the day of the show.

The first Grammy Awards I worked I was placed as one of the only security guards in the walkway between the Staples Center, where the show was held, and the Convention Center, where the dressing rooms were and where the official after party would be held.

This was 2007 and Ellen DeGeneres was the host. This was a highly anticipated Grammy night, as The Police were to stage an epic comeback.

My post started off pretty boring; not a lot of people were milling through the pathway. When people started to come through my area, I was approached by a young woman wearing an extremely fancy dress. She had a little boy with her, and asked if I could watch him for a minute. I awkwardly said I would, then found out the boy was Beyoncé’s nephew. I had never been a fan of hers, so I wasn’t quite impressed, but I knew it would make an interesting anecdote later in life.


Beyonce performs at the MTV Video Music Awards, in Los Angeles. She will perform during the upcoming inaugural festivities, which also includes Beyonce, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry and dozens of others.

By the time most of the people had made it into the Staples Center, I noticed a large man with sunglasses and long, braided hair. I recognized Stevie Wonder right away. I had met him not long before at the premiere of “The Last King of Scotland.” I didn’t want to bother him, so I didn’t say anything…I know he wouldn’t have recognized me anyway.

Stevie Wonder


During the show, or maybe right at the end (when you aren’t watching the show, you have no frame of reference), out came The Police with Ellen DeGeneres on top of Sting and Stewart Copeland’s shoulders. They walked right past me, within arm’s reach and headed into the Convention Center.

TV Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres is known for keeping her comedy on the nice side. But she lets her inner meanie out for "Ellen's Game of Games." That’s NBC's new prime-time game show, which is beginning its regular run Jan. 2 after a December sneak peek. The hour-long show subjects its contestants to minor-league torments that, it turns out, delight host DeGeneres.

I made my way to the party at the end of the night to push the stragglers out the door. Some people wanted to soak in all the fun and Grammy energy they could. During this process, one of the party guests started talking to me. I asked if he was a musician. He said he was, and that he also produced. He introduced himself as Pharrell.

Another short one from a different year at the Grammy Awards brings a little more Sioux City to the mix. During my sophomore year of high school, the guitar player in my jazz band was Grant Mickelson. After graduating high school, Mickelson worked extremely hard at his guitar playing and eventually became Taylor Swift’s guitarist…he’s even in some of her videos from when she used to include her band in stuff.

Grant Mickelson

As a guitarist for Taylor Swift, Sioux City native Grant Mickelson has also back such artists as Stevie Nicks, Usher and James Taylor. "I honestly have to pinch myself every morning," he said, "just to be sure I'm not dreaming."

I was working the metal detector for the line where all the guests were coming into the Convention Center, and, lo and behold, there was Mickelson. He went through the metal detector and noticed me, then came over for a handshake and a hug. We caught up for a few minutes, but then he had to get ready for a performance with Swift.

While it may not have been a glamorous job, this security gig and the experiences I had with it are missed.

But guess what, folks? You don’t have to attend the Grammys to see Grammy winners; many of this year's winners (and people in the In Memoriam section)  made appearances in Sioux City including:

Saturday in the Park

Kacey Musgraves performs at Saturday in the park at Grandview Park in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday, July 2, 2016. (Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal)

• Album of the Year winner Kacey Musgraves played Saturday in the Park and the Tyson Events Center.

• Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album winnerWillie Nelson has played Battery Park, the Orpheum Theatre and the auditorium.

Chris Cornell (Weekender)

Chris Cornell, late singer of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave. 

• Best Rock Performance winner Chris Cornell played the Orpheum Theatre.

• Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package winner Weird Al Yankovic played the Orpheum, too.

• Best Traditional Blues Album winner Buddy Guy played Saturday in the Park.

• Best Contemporary Blues Album winner Fantastic Negrito played the Orpheum Theatre.

• Best Spoken Word Album winner Jimmy Carter campaigned in Sioux City.

• In Memoriam member and Queen of Soul  Aretha Franklin played Saturday in the Park.

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