If you’re following me on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter then you know my wife Natalie and I were fortunate enough to be guests of Hilton Hotels to experience the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday night. Hilton invited us to help spread the word about their Hilton@PLAY call to action, which is inspiring and encouraging people to seek out the unfamiliar and to learn from everyday experiences and travel moments.
One of Hilton’s recent surveys found that more than one in five Americans is not satisfied with the amount of time off they had for play in 2014, and that more than two in five Americans regret not making the most of the playtime they did have. In response to this discouraging data, Hilton now offers HHonors members the chance to easily bid on experiences that will let them take time to play via a new auction platform. A strategic marketing partnership with Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment provider, is a huge part of this, via access to Live Nation’s fully integrated global music platform that includes concerts, VIP access, digital media, ticketing, content, and performance venues.
In the end, Hilton HHonors points can now be used to bid on exclusive play experiences such as sound checks and “meet and greets” with popular artists—or trips to the GRAMMYS!
Interesting to me is the fact that the first GRAMMY Awards were held at the Beverly Hilton in 1959, and that’s where our day began. From 12-2 pm, Hilton hosted a pre-party brunch up on the hotel’s Penthouse, where we had access to incredible views of Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Downtown Los Angeles. Almost everyone was in black tie, and among the crowd were some of their executives, star travel agents, HHonors members, and even four Hilton employees who are also musicians that won a contest to help develop their skills. The contestants came from China, Hungary, New York, and San Francisco and were very grateful for the opportunity.
We then jumped in stretch limos to take us from the Beverly Hilton to the Staples Center, which is about a 30-minute ride. Security was tough for limo drivers as they needed a special pass to access the closed streets, and police had to check under the cars for bombs and peek inside to make sure we weren’t terrorists. Then we were dropped right off in front of the red carpet.
The red carpet was about two blocks long, and they had a special lane for the celebrities and their publicists so they could stop at the different news outlets for interviews.
The other lane ran parallel and they had security making sure that the general public didn’t stop to take pictures. We weren’t allowed cameras but everyone was snapping pics with their phones on the red carpet and in the show.
We then walked a block to the Staples Center, where we saw some of the lesser-known stars eating food from the concession stands. The doors to the GRAMMYS closed at 4:45 pm and the stars rolled in right after that.
It was a surreal experience because our seats were so close to the stars we felt like we were part of their crowd. We were ten rows from the stage and five rows up along the side. Actually, they were better seats than many of the celebrities had since we were on an incline and didn’t have any heads obstructing our views.
We were so close that when we got up to use the bathroom they had seat-fillers take our seats just like they do with the stars. (You would be hard-pressed to find an open seat in the crowd while watching the show).
Just before the GRAMMYS went live, the organizer told everyone to put the AC/DC devil horn lights on (they handed them out and a program when we entered) during the second act. And then LL Cool J said that he was going to open on the side aisle and so we wouldn’t be able to hear him, and asked us to please show our excitement anyway. The crowd didn’t disappoint.
When AC/DC went on it was so loud I had to grab a napkin and stuff part of it in my ears so I didn’t go deaf. I could also feel the flames from the stage against my face. It must’ve been HOT for the musicians.
The show lasted for three-and-a-half-hours, but the night was longer, as we had tickets to Hilton’s after party. I thought it was going to be some small event but it turned out to be everything but. I think the whole crowd was invited to walk across the street to the Convention Center, where they had tons of live acts, food stations, bars, more. There were thousands of people and yet you never had to wait more than a few minutes for food or drink. It was insane. I can’t imagine how much money they put into it. Even some of the stars stopped by (I think mostly to get interviewed by E! TV which had a set there. I saw Kanye West and Kim Kardashian but didn’t stick around to see who else was there since I was more interested in the food.
Natalie and I left early since we had a 6 am flight to catch to Minneapolis. To get a ride back to the Beverly Hilton, all we had to do was find the representative holding a Hilton sign and we were whisked us away in a golf cart to a waiting limo. We really felt like rock stars. If you have enough HHonors points you should definitely consider bidding on next year’s GRAMMYS experience, as it was a night we’ll never forget.
- They have teleprompters for all the stars to read their lines from. It would even play lyrics for some artists which made it the ultimate karaoke machine. When Taylor Swift went up to present an award, the teleprompter didn’t work so she had to wing it and gave a crazy face to the one in charge when she was done.
- Paul McCartney danced the most out of all of the stars and would keep going up to young stars like Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga to say hello, which I thought was cool—but I think they should’ve gone up to him.
If you go:
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Get something to eat before the show
- Buy water ($4) or sneak it in
Good to know:
- Live Nation hosts 23,000 concerts around the globe each year
- Hilton has more than 4,250 hotels in 93 countries and territories and 44 million members as part of their Hilton HHonors guest loyalty program