Music has always been an important part of my life, and as I hopped into my Honda Civic in the San Fernando Valley in LA, I thought of my destination I was driving to on the other side of the hills - the Grammys.
I’ve spent many Grammy nights between the Convention Center and the Staples Center. It was usually a job that lasted multiple days. We would be there for the whole setup, and then stay through the official after party.
As I arrived this year for Grammys prep (2012) at the parking ramp across the street from the Convention Center, I pulled in and put my parking credentials in my windshield.
I walked in to the massive building and signed in. I had been working the gig for a few days already, but this was the day before the biggest music awards night. I had seen the Convention Center go from a state of being empty to a state of being full of silent auction items and decorations.
This year the Grammy MusiCares event was honoring Paul McCartney of The Beatles, and this day I was guarding the room where the silent auction would take place. In the room were countless items, most of which were Beatles memorabilia. There was even a piano painted in vivid colors by the members of the band. My job that day was to make sure nobody went into the room and messed with any of the silent auction items.
Let me tell you, when there is nobody around and you are guarding a room in a large building, things can get extremely boring. Sometimes playing games on your phone during these times is the only way to get by and not face the boredom. But there were Beatles items I was guarding, so this was a different story. I had been a Beatles fan since I can remember, and I was tasked with guarding memorabilia from the band. I was happy and intrigued.
The morning ran into the afternoon and things started picking up around the Convention Center. People started coming in to get their tickets to the Grammys.
I was standing in front of the room housing the silent auction when I saw a familiar face walk into the Convention Center. Whitney Houston walked into the building and headed up the stairs to get her tickets. After procuring the tickets, she walked out and headed on her merry way. Little did I know that I would be one of the last people to see this star alive. Later that evening, she passed away in the bathtub of her suite in the Beverly Hilton.
A couple boring hours passed and then a short brunette woman approached me, asking to go into the silent auction area. I had been expressly told not to let anyone into the area, so I refused the woman entry into the room.
Another person then approached me and told me it was OK if I let Norah into the silent auction. That’s right, I was ignorant and didn’t recognize Norah Jones (the music superstar and daughter of Ravi Shankar) when she asked me if she could check out the silent auction items. I then went to Jones to apologize and let her in.
“Norah, I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you,” I said. “We have a connection, though. My jazz band director’s son used to play with you - Justin Kisor.”
“I remember Kisor,” said Jones. “He was an amazing trumpet player!”
I let Jones into the room, and she perused the legendary items.
Later on, a group of men walked into the Convention Center and walked toward me. As soon as I recognized the guys, I put my right hand up in a peace sign.
“HEY BUDDY,” shouted Dave Grohl.
At that point, my day was made. The Foo Fighters walked by, and entered the performance room.
From that same room, I heard a young man singing "Rockin’ Robin," and I peeked in to see who was singing - it was, unfortunately, Justin Bieber. He was warming up and getting ready to sing in honor of Paul McCartney.
After Bieber finished his warm-up, the Foo Fighters took the stage to prepare for the concert. This was more my style. The band played "Best of You" and promptly left the stage.
What came next was legendary.
I heard a voice coming from the performance area that I recognized from childhood. My heart skipped a few beats before I could get myself to look into the room. Paul McCartney was standing on stage and singing, preparing to be honored later that night. A dream of mine had been fulfilled; I got to see one of The Beatles live in concert - and barely anybody else was in the room to ruin the experience. Just the Foo Fighters and Justin Bieber, looking at the stage in wonder.