Some of this is repetitive, but I like to entire story told. Also, a reminder, this was a non-Kandi activity.
Yes, this is completely true (and I have witnesses).
This recounting of my recent experience as a Talent Escort at the 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is mostly based in truth, or at least my best recollection. Without the ability (and quite frankly the time) to take any pictures, I hope my memory of these events is accurate and I hope to never forget them. I’ll try and do this chronologically.
My duties started with the required COVID test on Thursday. I had a wicked cold and was worried as anything could go wrong. Test positive, falsely or not and I would be out. After a three or so hour wait, I tested negative!
My call time on Friday was 3:00, the latest time. I had a long talk with the person running the show. He does this also for the Super Bowl Halftime show, the Tonys, The MTV VMAs and many other shows. After some time of schmoozing, he goes on to tell me he cannot remember names. Great…..
With the exception of me and one other, everyone reporting at that time simply had to attend the initial meeting. I had talent arriving that afternoon. There I got my assignment, along with someone else, Brandi Carlile. I had heard of her, but knew very little about her. She had just performed the previous Saturday on Saturday Night Live and her next stop after this was Carnegie Hall.
I walked the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse to get the lay of the land, a necessity for our duties. Brandi, her wife, tour manager and one other manager showed up and we walked them to the lounge while rehearsals were going on. In there were a number of other performers and Brandi got prepared for her performance of the finale by singing the song a few times. While this was going on I took the opportunity to watch the Foo Fighters rehearse their set, literally a few feet from the stage. That was a thrill!
Then it came time to work on the finale. Involved were the Foo Fighters, The Go-Go’s, Brandi, Mickey Guyton, H.E.R. and Jennifer Hudson. They worked out a terrific version of “Tumbling Dice” in tribute to the late Charlie Watts. Sadly for the general public, the show ran long and the finale cancelled.
During Friday rehearsals on the finale, the first ever meeting of the Carlisles (Brandi and Belinda) occurred! If the camera panned slightly to the right of Jane Wiedlin, you would see yours truly. Brandi and Belinda are apparently often confused for each other or people think they are related.
When the day ended, a friend and I took the opportunity to use our All-Access passes to get into The Westin for a few drinks. The Westin had been taken over completely by the Foos and the production staff. A great day.
The next day was show day and we reported at noon. We took the opportunity to eat lunch before Brandi and her entourage arrived. Now we had ten people to mamage. Her other manager introduced herself to me, Carolyn. So, thirty seconds later I referred to her as Susan. From that moment forward, a great vibe between the two of us occurred and she was Susan to me all night. I walked her around and showed her where everything was while Brandi rehearsed her Everly Brothers tribute.
After all of that, everyone went into the dressing room (our dressing room held her, Mickey, Taylor Swift, Dave Chapelle and JayZ, among others coming and going. Jennifer Hudson was across the hall, along with the Go-Go’s and the Foos. Throughout the day, I was in close contact with Brandi, the Foos, the Go-Go’s, Paul McCartney, Dave Chapelle, LL Cool J, JayZ, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Lionel Richie, JLo, Mickey Guyton, H.E.R., John Sykes (Rock Hall Chairman), Greg Harris (Rock Hall President), Gary Clark, Jr., Angela Bassett, Questlove, among others.
I then ran Brandi to the Red Carpet and through press row. During this time, a manager asked if Brandi could meet Carole King. More on that in a bit.
A number of great moments occurred. Mickey was in the hallway with her one year old son (and nanny). Sir Paul comes down the hall and she introduces herself and asks if he’ll take a picture with her son. He does and everyone not an escort was taking photos (we are not allowed to do so). Later Mickey asks Brandi to do the same and when she holds him, he starts crying. Of course, I had to tell Brandi that he only likes Beatles!
Chapelle is one very funny person. He was basically in the hallway doing bits and was hilarious. After he did his speech he came back and looked directly at me and asked how he did. I did not see the speech, but of course, told him he was great. I got a fist bump for that. Then LL Cool J comes down the hall. I am standing up against the wall when he and Chapelle go into a bear hug, almost pulling me into it. LL is dressed all in sliver, from head-to-toe and Chapelle tells him he looks like an Oscar! That was so funny, I wanted to correct him though to tell him Oscar is gold, but I kept my mouth shut, no small task for me.
Carole King is an inspiration to just about every female singer-songwriter. Brandi wanted to meet her so I said I would see what I could do. Unfortunately she made this request at about 7:40PM. The show started at 8:00PM and Carole was the first inductee. This made the task difficult.
Fast forward about an hour and a half and Ms. King is inducted, finished performing and done running the press circuit. She is then getting ready to head out. I send someone to pull Brandi from her table (she sat with, among others Paul McCartney, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman). While that is happening, I ask Ms. King’s Escort to tell her Brandi is coming and ask her to stay a bit. Well, I did it! Brandi went into her dressing room and this photo is proof! I made that possible, just sayin’
At the end of a very long evening (the show ran four and a half hours), we’re all in the dressing room and I am helping everyone, including Brandi get to their limo. I ask her how the meeting went and she pulled out her phone and showed me the picture. Pretty special!
At the limo I was doing my best (without expressly saying so) to get myself invited to the after-party (jam session with the Foos). No luck, but “Susan” did give me a hug. I’ve done this now three times, two times dealing with female managers and ended my night with a hug from each.
The cherry on top was that as I walked back into the building, Sir Paul came out and I gave him a little salute and he gave me a wink. Great evening and I actually got paid for it.