NEW YORK Lights? Check. House PA? Check. Monitors? Check. Band? ... Band? Where's the band?
Staind were a few minutes late for their scheduled 2 p.m. rehearsal at the Metropolitan Opera House on Wednesday, the day before the sophisticated venue would play host to the 2001 Video Music Awards.
A bit of tardiness is nothing new to the VMAs or any awards show and Staind's punctuality problem didn't hinder the final preparations and precautions producers and stagehands made to the elaborate set. While the stage looked mostly barren Tuesday, the first day of rehearsals, by Wednesday it more closely resembled its final form, complete with red and silver light fixtures adorning the balconies.
Marshall stacks flanked Jon Wysocki's drum riser, and industrial lighting rigs loomed overhead. During Staind's fourth and final practice run of the song they'll perform on Thursday (September 6), smoke machines belched fog into the air while singer Aaron Lewis' enlarged image was projected on the huge onstage video screen and cameramen decided which shots would work best for the broadcast.
Afterward, Mike Mushok made the hearts of anyone who was paying attention stop momentarily by mockingly jamming the neck of his guitar through an amplifier just his way of lightening the mood.
While the stage was taking shape, the audience was too sort of. The seats in the first 16 rows were filled by placards bearing the names and images of the musicians, actors and various other celebrities that would occupy them in a little more than 24 hours. The Dave Matthews Band will be next to comedian Andy Dick in the right aisle, and both will be looking at the back of P. Diddy's noggin a few rows ahead. Britney Spears, 'NSYNC, U2 and Limp Bizkit are positioned front and center, while Eminem, Fatboy Slim and Destiny's Child will all be down the left side.
Stagehands finished taping down loose cords, and technicians at the control board double-checked the video monitors for the umpteenth time and raised and lowered the partition that separates the performance space from the rest of the stage. The lights spot, house, stage and strobe all seemed to be able to withstand dozens of on-off toggles. Everything seemed to be in order.
As long as rehearsals by Jennifer Lopez, Ja Rule, U2 and Jay-Z didn't cause any catastrophes, the 18th annual Video Music Awards should go off without a hitch. Even if they don't, when you're in the middle of a live broadcast the show must go on, no matter what happens.
Catch all the sizzlin', star-packed VMA action direct from Miami on August 28. MTV News' preshow kicks things off at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT, followed by big show at 8 p.m.
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