Every rehearsal for the Academy of Country Music Awards starts out the same. The musicians for the band comes out and play around a little bit together until they have everything sounding how they would like it to. Then out comes singer.
During the Toby Keith warm ups they ran into a bit of trouble when the stand in did not know the words to the song well enough. So Richard Clark, Executive Producer for Dick Clark Productions, snatches up the mic owning that rehearsal as both the big kahuna in charge and the performing artist. That was so much fun that later after the Lady Antebellum rehearsal he asked the band if he could join them. He assured them that he was handy with the maracas. I raise my red solo cup and toast Rac!
After a beautiful set with intoxicating camera shots Lady Antebellum comes to the producers table to meet and talk about their rehearsal. “How was that?” they question Rac and their representatives. Let me assure you now that their performance will be a moving experience that will stir your emotions. The lighting of that particular set was so moody and perfect. The band is playing softly and they got the piano turned around after the first take. “You should be able to see him, but not focus on him.” Rac relays to the camera crew. This is a wonderful song and does remind me of girls from my past. In a past long ago. Their harmonies are so pretty and they will give us a food show.
In this case Carrie Underwood comes out after band and back up singer are ready for her. “All white. Who spray painted your instruments?” she asks her band about the brand new matching instruments that she has obviously not seen before. “I have to walk down that.” She jokes with the stage choreographer. Carrie Underwood is relaxed and having fun withe band and choreographer. After the first take Rac goes up on stage to give her some words of wisdom about what he is seeing on his monitors. The production team is sweating blood and tears to get this just right. No Literally. The stage manager cut his hand and everything came to a grinding halt. They wipe up that side of the stage before continuing with the last take. Carrie sings, “Why do they even bother to give her a microphone?” security says to me. True. Man has she got a set of lungs. In my opinion she has the most powerful and clear voice in the industry since the glory days of Whitney Houston in her prime. She commands the attention of the entire theater as she struts around the stage in her tiny shorts. Yes little itty bitty things. Be jealous guys. The stage is all lit up with graphics strobing to the music behind the band and I swear she looked over at me with my fedora rocking out. Mayhem says I have an over active imagination, but her and I know it happened.
Rascal Flatts were so damn good. I imagine. It was a closed rehearsal and we didn’t get to see it. However you could hear the echo of them out in the hall.
Keith Urban came out was the band was ready. He messes around with a Telecaster when he changes his mind. They hand him a Stratocaster that he wails away on for a minute before asking for Mr. Reliable when performing live. Gibson Les Paul. He jams out and everything sounds great. Ok he is ready to go. They change the light settings and roll the intro from commercial. The stage lights up and Keith Urban starts singing while playing the Telecastor. Man can he play guitar. Keith is rocking that stage and is in and out like the breeze. Straight up pro.
The Band Perry sounded great and I like that song. During the rehearsal was the first time I’d heard it. Behind them on the big screen is a timeless looking photo of Paris as Kimberly Perry plays to the cameras. She sure is cute. After a few rounds through the song they are done and everybody feels content with the way it went. The Band Perry exits and Rac calls it a wrap on the day.
Day 2 of rehearsals has come to a close and it has been a long day.
On the way out I chat it up with the in house sound board team. One guy does the music, bands, and singers. The other guy is in charge of announcers, promos, sound effects, and other random noise. They have to work together as a cohesive unit to produce the final tv broadcast on CBS this Sunday.
Stay tuned to see all the hard work pay off. Rehearsals aren’t just for the bands. It’s for the producers and all of the crew to line up shots. Cool to watch it going down. Dick Clark Productions is working hard to make this a tv spectacle of talent and it will be.
K.C. Murdock
Executive Producer