Two weeks ago, a friend asked me if I wanted to work at this year’s Echo award show. The Echo is the most important German music award, and this year’s artist line-up was impressive: Rihanna, Depeche Mode, Gossip, and the list goes on. In charge of the backstage area, I coordinated when the artists go on stage for their performance. I had a 16-hour day ahead of me that was planned by the minute. Here are the most important moments of the Echo 2010:
8 AM: Arrival at the Messe in Berlin, this year’s location for the Echo. Even though the Award Show only starts at 8 PM, my work-day begins 12 hours earlier.
8.30 AM: I met my wonderful colleague Yasmina. The two of us are designated as the head of the backstage area. With my “All Area“-pass and my headset I was allowed to enter everywhere at anytime. I am ready for the big day!
From 8 AM til 6 PM: First, we get familiarized with the location and the stage. On my roundtrip I stand on stage with the band Gossip who were doing a soundcheck for their number-one smash-hit “Heavy Cross“. It was cool! Later, we show the background dancers to their dressing rooms. They get prepared, warm up at the location and practice for their performance.
6.20 PM: Rihanna enters the location through a secret entry way. Accompanied by her bodyguard and a friend, she wears sunglasses and a hooded jacket. She barely smiles and rushes into her dressing room where she stays for the next two hours.
6.40 PM: Robbie Williams enters the location. Only when I saw him, I understood how serious this event really is – my knees got all jiggley even though I’m not even such a big fan…
6.45 PM: Sade’s Crew enters – without Sade. Where is she?
6.50 PM: Depeche Mode is in the house!
6.51 PM: A spokesperson of Depeche Mode asks me where the band can sit – “It needs to be a fairly private spot, not where all the other artists are.“ Immediately I go on a mission to find them a more isolate spot. Mission accomplished, couch and chairs are being rearranged, spokesperson loves it and asks me for my name.
6.55 PM: Through my headset I hear that Xavier Naidoo is going to be 20 minutes late. Typical!
6.57 PM: German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn just entered the Messe Berlin. He is one of the presenters of the evening’s nominations.
7.02 PM: On my quick snack-break I hear someone asking for me over the walkie-talkie: “Tina for Yolanda, there is a man here who has something for you“. No idea what she means with that, but I run back to the entrance hall and see a man holding two bags and a T-shirt in his hands. “Are you Yolanda? Here are two bottles of champagne and a T-shirt from Depeche Mode. They say thank you for the table.“ Wow! That was an unexpected surprise.
7.15 PM: We start sending the artists and the stars to the red carpet. Sade is still not there and no one can get a hold of her.
7.33 PM: Infront of Rihanna’s dressing room, her bodyguard tells me that she wont walk down the red carpet. Over my headset I inform my colleagues that “Rihanna is not walking down the red carpet because she doesn’t want to catch a cold.“ (FYI: The red carpet was indoors, and it would have been a 30second ride in her limousine to get there.)
7.35 PM: Finally, Sade enters the location. She is so beautiful and does not look a day older than 35. I can’t believe this incredible woman is 50.
8 PM: Yasmina and I make a check up: Everyone is ready, so we can start the show!
8.15 PM: The award show is on air! Three hours of live television without commercial breaks, which means that everything has to go as planned.
8.32 PM: Sade performs “Soldier of Love“: Simply perfect! The host congratulates her on her performance and her new album, but commits a faux-pas by pulling her hair, asking her what products she recommends in order for his hair to grow like hers. My headset was on fire because all the colleagues were outraged by this. There was nothing we could do about it though, the show must go on!
8.45 PM: Beth Ditto enters the stage with her band. Meanwhile, I have to take care of the background dancers for the Michael Jackson Tribute.
9.22 PM: Suddenly, Robbie Williams does not want to perform. I wonder what his problem is, and we kindly ask him to please go on stage and perform. Because of Robbie’s diva-like behaviour, we’re in delay. The Michael Jackson Tribute is pushed back 20 minutes.
9.45 PM: With more than 140 dancers on stage, the tribute for Michael Jackson is a full success. The dance to “Bad” looks good, really good!
10.20 PM: Ke$ha’s performance rocks the entire audience. But the best is still to come.
10.45 PM: Because of the trouble with Robbie Williams, Rihanna’s performance is later. Suddenly everyone is stressed, because her performance is in 3 minutes and she isn’t even backstage yet! Calmly we tell her that she needs to hurry it up!
10.48 PM: Rihanna makes it on time and performs “Rude Boy“, leaving the audience in awe. This was the highlight of the evening!
11.10 PM: All the artists have performed, everything went smoothly and I am almost done with my job.
11.15 PM: The show is over and everyone is happy!!
All in all, the Echo award show was a full success with stunning performances. Being part of such a big production made me realize how much work and effort is put into a show like this. Working backstage with so many artists was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and though it was stressfull, I feel like a dream has come true. It truly was an amazing experience.