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Grammy Salute To The Beatles
By Nikki Denett

"The Night That Changed America: The Grammy Salute to The Beatles" on CBS 8 PM Eastern Time February 9, 2014 Check your local TV schedule.

I decided to take photos with each of The Beatles’ Walk of Fame stars by acting out my favorite parts of their personalities. So we have Paul’s attitude, Ringo’s determinism to have a world full of "peace and love”, George’s tranquility and John’s unwavering energy and rambunctiousness! hahahahaha Enjoy!

If you told me a week ago that I would be spending the weekend in Los Angeles to attend “The Night That Changes America: The Grammy Salute to the Beatles” I may not have called you crazy as much as I'd be jumping up and down screaming at the top of my lungs.

It all started the day it was announced that Paul and Ringo would both be performing, albeit separately, at the 56th Annual Grammy awards. Once the news reached my ears, “Operation: Get Into The Grammy's" was immediately put into action. After much research, I discovered the wonderful world of being a seat filler.

If you have no idea what a seat filler is, here is how it works. A seat filler's job is to fill all of the empty seats located in the camera section of the audience in an award show or televised special. This means that you will be sitting in the first 10-15 rows of the house. You are making sure that when they do camera shots of the audience throughout the telecast, that the camera does not see any empty seats.

I knew that this definitely had to be my way in. I found the organization that handled seat filling for the Grammy awards, and submitted a request to be chosen. Within a few days, I received an email, stating that while they were no longer accepting requests for the Grammy’s, they WERE accepting seat fillers for "The Night That Changed America: The Grammy Salute to The Beatles" event. Needing no further invitation, I submitted my request and hoped for the best.

Flash forward to a week later. I woke up Friday morning, January 24th, to the email I had been wishing so much for. I had been chosen to be a seat filler for “The Night That Changed America: The Grammy Salute to The Beatles!” Immediately (well, almost… I did a lot of jumping up and down on my bed in a fit of girlish squeals first! ) I booked my flight and hotel for the following afternoon for what would be my first EVER trip to Los Angeles! Crazy? Perhaps, but I learned a long time ago that when it comes to The Beatles, there is no plan too daring or outrageous. The Beatles have broken more than a few barriers on the normal scale and considering the countless ways that they’ve inspired my life, I figured it was only but a fitting tribute.

I arrived in Los Angeles the following evening, ready for an adventure, but not knowing at all what to expect.

Monday came quickly and I was super hyped! We showed up that afternoon to the designated meeting spot, which was a parking lot about a block or two away from the Convention Center. After checking in and receiving black wristbands (our “ticket to ride”) we were escorted into the Convention Center and put into a holding room, where we were given our instructions as seat fillers.

Once the event was set to begin, we were then escorted into the audience, where we were placed a few rows away from the front of the stage. Paul and Ringo were officially introduced to the crowd a couple of moments later (looking as handsome as ever!) and enjoyed a standing ovation as they took their seats, which happened to be only just a few rows behind us.

To say I was thrilled is the biggest understatement I could probably ever make.

The lights went out and the show began, as it only could, with footage of The Beatles first ever appearance on Ed Sullivan show, complete with Sullivan’s now-infamous introduction. Words cannot even describe how surreal it was to be watching that, then look to my left and see Paul and Ringo a few rows away from me watching their younger selves perform “All My Loving”. Ringo, at one point, even started imitating his own movements while watching it! I have to say, for a girl who was born a quarter of a century after this legendary performance, it was truly an honor to watch Paul and Ringo relive such an important moment of their career, and as a fan, I don’t think I have ever been more proud.

After we were treated to that trip down memory lane, the show kicked off with Maroon 5 performing their version of “All My Loving,” and “Ticket To Ride” and was followed by other great performances throughout the night, including Ed Sheeran’s cover of “In My Life,” Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne ROCKED "Hey, Bulldog,” Stevie Wonder performed “We Can Work it Out” and Gary Clarke Jr. and Joe Walsh’s CRAZY AMAZING version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

As for me, I spent much of the night in fangirl heaven, hopping from chair to chair. And I wasn’t complaining! With each chair move there was a chance to get closer to Paul and Ringo! There was even a moment (an inevitable one no doubt) where getting to my seat required me to actually walk along the first row where Paul and Ringo were sitting with their wives (with Tom Hanks and Joe Walsh on either side of them) YIKES! Did I play it cool? Not in the least. As only a fangirl would, I spend a frantic five seconds beforehand attempting to fix my hair and my dress before hurrying past them to get to my seat. Nerve-wracking? Nope, that doesn’t even BEGIN to describe those few seconds (or the subsequent ten minutes of mortification I endured because oh my God they totally just saw me in my stupid Forever 21 dress!)

I can say that the crowd really came alive once Ringo graced the stage, and he got everyone on their feet with “Matchbox,” “Boys,” and “Yellow Submarine”. By that point I had finagled my way up a seat in the second row on the right side of the stage and it was there that I witnessed Paul’s set, where he performed “Magical Mystery Tour,” “Birthday,” and “Get Back,” before launching into “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and then (naturally) “With A Little Help From My Friends,” with Ringo. Afterward, Ringo hopped on the drums before Paul led the crowd into the finale that was a rousing rendition of “Hey Jude,” (one that most likely had everyone there singing “Na na na’s” for days.) and was joined by members of the cast of The Beatles’ “LOVE” show in Las Vegas.

I left the Convention Center afterward with tears in my eyes, a handful of “Hey Jude” confetti and memories I’m going to have for the rest of my life. It was truly an unbelievably magical night that I was so honored to witness and it somehow did the impossible: it made me appreciate and love The Beatles even MORE.


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