The Grammy Awards’ Move to Las Vegas Draws Mixed Reviews

“We’re all gonna get COVID.”

That was the prevailing sentiment among new music business attendees who produced the vacation to Las Vegas for the 64th once-a-year Grammy Awards.

Immediately after two yrs of lockdown and the quit-starts off of the 2022 version of the exhibit, it appeared lots of had been prepared to brave the recycled air and unmasked masses on the on line casino floor, not to point out the shut talkers battling deafening decibels at the city’s lots of VIP golf equipment.

And for the most section, the reunion component of the Grammys was a welcome 1, as colleagues and collaborators earlier and present mingled excitedly in the flesh. (See: hitmakers and Grammy nominees Benny Blanco and Blake Slatkin, underneath.)

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at the 64th Once-a-year Grammy Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3rd, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Brian Friedman for Variety

Nonetheless, it is truthful to say that the mind-boggling consensus on Las Vegas as a locale for Music’s Most important Night time is a resounding thumbs-down.

Before we dig in, it will have to be pressured that no a single desired the Grammys to be in Las Vegas — which include the Recording Academy, which levels the ceremony with broadcast lover CBS. They had been transferring whole-velocity toward holding the display at the normal property of Arena (formerly Staples Centre) in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, when the Omicron spike late last calendar year pressured a postponement.

Because the clearly show requires a approximately two-7 days lockout on the arena internet hosting it — and ordinarily attracts upward of 20,000 individuals to the event — their options had been constrained: Every single acceptable location in Los Angeles, as perfectly as appropriate songs-helpful towns this kind of as New York, Nashville, Miami, Atlanta and Chicago — have been booked until properly into June by sports activities occasions and acts hurrying to get back on tour after lockdown. Holding an once-a-year occasion these types of as the Grammys just a several months in advance of its common late January-early February day, which has been pushed six to 8 weeks later on in the previous two many years, is logistically and financially undesirable for any number of explanations. Resources say Las Vegas and the MGM Grand Yard Arena were being the best option owing to its proximity to the Grammys’ Los Angeles residence foundation, the simple fact that it is the standard venue for the Latin Grammys, and, not least, simply because it was accessible: The city’s new T-Mobile Arena has lured away lots of appropriate headlining music functions.

Although a lot of attendees acknowledged the tricky instances in which Grammy organizers observed by themselves, they have been unsparing in detailing the drawbacks of Vegas, which, while an amusement city as a result of and by way of, appeared to lack the sparkle and glamor a person would assume to find on music’s largest night.

Nowhere was this additional apparent than at the Spotify Greatest New Artist occasion on Saturday at the Encore Beach Club. The occasion has traditionally highlighted performances by all the nominees in the classification. But with 10 to pick out from, a person of whom was not old ample to even get into the dayclub, the streamer opted to forego the are living aspect. As an alternative, the likes of Jimmie Allen and Arooj Aftab appeared with confusion further than the velvet rope to a packed pool of bachelorette and birthday revelers all burning to a crisp in the scarcely shaded grotto.

The Grammys’ chosen household of the MGM Grand also proved problematic for some. Positive, lots of awards exhibits are held at its Grand Garden Arena, which seats 17,000, marginally less than Los Angeles’ arena (formerly regarded as Staples Heart), at which pretzels and nachos are a high-quality nosh, but for the Grammys to offer you sugary cocktail mixes and roasted nuts as the only nourishment was a major criticism of the night time — not to mention, ticket holders couldn’t bring any foods or drink to their seats. It made for some sensitive exchanges with the venue’s ushers, who have been instructed to maintain people today at bay though not in commercial crack.

The VIP tables down in the entrance of the arena ended up a good touch, and perhaps a mainstay at upcoming awards demonstrates. The intent was a sense of intimacy. And judging by the commonly circulated photos of the stars mingling and roaming, it was mission attained. Social distancing was not to be had, but that closeness designed for a superior viewing expertise for people at household.

But generating issues worse, the Grammys joined a occupied early-spring weekend crammed with traditionally boisterous Vegas revelers — together with belated spring breakers — and the arena is found inside of a sprawling elaborate that combines a lodge, an great on line casino, a procuring shopping mall and far more, generating for a surreal scene exterior the arena just before the clearly show, as individuals in relaxed or swimming clothing put together with the glittering Grammy attendees the scene outside the venue just before the present was crowded and not a tiny chaotic.

But arguably the major grievance was the amount of trouble in getting all over Las Vegas to the battery of Grammy 7 days events having position, which ended up mainly crammed into the weekend. The gatherings took place in an region of just a several square miles about the Vegas strip, but it is jammed with targeted visitors on weekends and the range of website visitors from out of town meant that taxi and vehicle-company traces were being dozens deep for a great deal of the weekend it commonly took a lot more than an hour to vacation less than a mile. Included to that, Las Vegas’ sprawling resort complexes, dense crowds and (presumably intentional) absence of apparent signage imply that it can choose 20 minutes or for a longer time even to uncover an exit, let by yourself the taxi stand or Uber pickup.

Not that the executives experienced to trouble them selves with these types of trivial issues of logistics as numerous hired individual motorists at their beck and phone. To wit: one particular chairman of a main audio company left his cell phone at the Grand Back garden Arena, and an SUV was instantly dispatched to find and return it. All was not misplaced, which includes the mobile figures of some of the most significant music stars on earth. As it frequently goes in the tunes market, your next strike is but a call absent.

Karen J. Simmons

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