One of my absolute favorite parts about our show, and working for the show, is when we have concerts.
Patti from Kalamazoo, MI wrote in this morning: "Who was the musical guest on Today on Friday???"
Today we had the band Augustana live in the studio, and I have to be honest, when I showed up this morning I wasn't sure I knew anything about this particular group. I am not incredibly hip to the music scene, but when the producer of the concert hummed a few bars of their hit song "Boston" I immediately recognized it. That is one reason I love the concerts here - I learn about so many artists I wouldn't have known about, and often find myself downloading songs as soon as I leave the studio.
Another reason I love concerts here is purely the spectacle of putting them on. I hope all of you reading this manage to make it here in the summer for one of our concerts on the plaza to see what I'm talking about. When the group arrives early in the morning they immediately have a rehearsal with the crew. That is the first time we get to hear them perform. Then the band hangs out in the greenroom and enjoys our array of snacks and beverages (for an example of our appetizing treats, see Al's first vlog). Later in the morning, during one of our station breaks, they have another rehearsal. The greenroom page has to make sure the band is onstage ready to go at least five minutes before we go to break, because we only have a limited amount of time for them to play through their song before we're back on air. We've had a few close calls with a band rehearsing as we come back live from break. So that is the second time the audience gets to hear the band perform. Then right before the segment they do a mic-check (which usually entails them playing the beginning of their song) that gets the crowd going and starts to build the excitement. Then we're on!
There's nothing quite like a live musical performance, even if I've never heard a song before, there's something about hearing it live that puts a smile on my face. This morning I popped into the studio for Augustana's performance and was one of many crowding our small studio to watch. I looked to my left and saw Meredith at the sofa area with some friends of hers, while to my right Ann Curry was in a corner swaying along with a stage manager. During the summer if you tune in for an outdoor concert, watch for shots of random people standing to the side of the crowd - they are often TODAY staffers getting caught in the act of singing along!