Reporting from the Junos

Reporting from the Junos
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From the cheap seats at The Junos
BY BARB HESTERMAN

Standing outside in a wee little dress in below zero temperatures was somehow not what I imagined my experience at the Junos would be.

The organizers told us to be at Gate Two for 5 p.m. So we got there at 4:30 p.m. Big deal, we thought, we’ll just wait inside. Not likely.

The only doors that were open were the ones to the gift shop. Since my roommate, Michelle Ford, and myself were dressed inappropriately for the weather, we waited inside and pretended to be fascinated by Blue Jays memorabilia for half an hour.

I had signed my boyfriend and I up as seat-fillers.

After standing around with about 70 other frozen people to get wristbands we were finally allowed inside. We were ushered into a room that looked out on to where the Junos would be held. We could see the trucks and trailers backstage and people milling around getting ready. At this point I started getting excited. We were at the Junos! I was ready to be a seat-filler!

The ‘seat-filling supervisors’ told us that we would all be seated at 6:30 and in the meantime we would be given a crash course on how to sit.

There were rules to this? We were taken into a small auditorium-like room that made outdoors seem like July in the Bahamas. Our instructions were that we would get a seat and then when the commercials came on wc were to stand up and put up our hands up so that we could be moved. She had to be kidding! We had to stand up in a crowd of 20,000 people and wave our hands around like a bunch of dorks? Then a talent scout in our group gave the three of us a tip. He had been seat filling for nine years, he was a professional. Hide your wristband, he told us, and pretend you’re one of the crowds. You won’t have to move. Well that sounded good to us; we’d find good seats and keep them. We were getting good seats for free!

They sent us backstage. We were in the first group so we would be seated first. While we waited an entourage of stars walked passed us. First it was McMaster and James, then members of Len, Chris Sheppard and finally Alanis Morrisette. I knew she was short but if Bill hadn’t pointed her out T would have missed her! As she walked passed our line it became like a game of telephone within our group as muffled whispers and mumbling could be heard.

‘Is that Alanis Morrisette? I think that was Alanis Morrisette. Alanis Morrisette! Alanis Morrisette!’
Then, finally, we were seated but we were split up. Bill was seated first then Michelle and 1 were seated in the section in front of him. We were about 10 rows from the stage, we had the perfect view. There was no way we were giving up these seats!

It was an amazing show, the Barenaked Ladies opened the show and after each award was given out someone would perform. Performers included Prozzak, Choclair, an incredible performance by Amanda Marshall, Our Lady Peace, the Moffats (who also hosted) and Diana Krall.

Each time the commercials came on our stomachs would do a little flip and we’d quickly hide our wristbands as the people came around to move us all. Miraculously we were never found out.

I’m still debating whether the whole experience was worth it. I did save myself $75 and it was a good show but considering the hassle T think nest time I’ll spend the money and rent a limousine.

Behind the scenes at The Junos
BY MARC SKULNICK

While it’ll never be mistaken for the Grammys, Canada’s annual night of toques and trophies wasn’t half bad, ‘Juno’ what I mean?

As an aspiring music journalisl attending my inaugural Juno Awards, I’ll admit to being a little intimidated. I was, after all, rubbing elbows with the ‘who’s who’of Canadian music, backstage at our proud nation’s most prestigious music awards show.

Of course, backstage wasn’t really backstage at all. We were packed in to the media lounge on the 2ND floor of the Skydome hotel, watching the painfully slow awards process unfold before us on big screen TVs. However, with a full buffet and free drinks, there are worse places I could have been. Like in the audience, for example, it was evident that many of the teenaged girls took the show part a bit too seriously, and thought that full-length ball gowns were in order. I digress.

The monotony of the first half-hour was quickly forgotten when the media lounge emcee breathlessly announced that AJ and Howie (of the Backstreet Boys) would be up momentarily to speak to the press. Like a crazed herd, 200 music journalists ran to take their strate-gic positions.

The Backstreet Boys, of course, won a Juno for Best Selling Album (apparently 6 million Canadians have no taste). You’ll be pleased to know that the boys have a soft spot in their hearts for Canada (Quebec especially) since they were the first to “really embrace them.” Damn you Quebec!

Oh yeah, AJ claimed to be heavily influenced by punk music, and cited Lynard Skynard as his favourite punk band (and you thought the Sex Pistols were punk). Of course, this punk influence is apparent in the Backstreet Boys music; I love the hard, punk feel of “I Want It That Way”!

Alternating between the bar and the press conference, I managed to catch a glimpse of a many Canadian stars. 1 think 1 even saw Diana Krall smile (might have been a snarl, I’m not sure though). Former teen dance queen, Alanis Morrisette (one Sun journalist quipped she looked like Cousin It from the Addams Family) was particularly charming, even beneath all the hair. I also bumped into a balding and bloated Mike Reno from Loverboy, who, you’ll be pleased to know, are working on a new album (let’s see him try to fit into those red leather pants now!). The lovely Chantal Kreviazuk, who won a Juno for Best Female Artist, is even sexier in person. All I can say is that Raine’s a lucky, lucky man!

With the evening drawing to a close, the emcee assured the assembled media throng “not to worry”; the Moffatts would be up to answer questions as soon as the show was over. Moffatt-mania soon ensued, and nary a note-worthy quote was heard. Those of you, however; who are anxiously awaiting the Moffatt-movie, will be devastated to learn that they’ve shelved any plans for a feature film (for now, at least).

Truth be told, I must admit that I was somewhat impressed with the job the Moffatts did hosting the Junos, as were the 15,000-screaming girls in attendance.

All in all, I’d have to say that, cynicism aside, the production quality was excellent, and with a gaggle of international stars in tow, the Junos just might have exor-cised the demons of “Who-knows” past. Glass Tiger, Alannah Myles, and Haywire be gone!

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