Enjoyed ‘Nashville: On the Record 2 ? Downloaded the album on itunes? Then here’s something extra to complete the experience and get us ready for an ALL-NEW Nashville episode this Wednesday, April 1 (see the promo HERE). Lee Newton, a fan of the show from Franklin, alongside some other very lucky fans, went to the taping of ‘On the Record 2’. Here he shares with us his experience from a great night of music and some of the things that goes into the making of a TV show.
One of the many perks of living in Nashville is seeing first-hand how life imitates art and so when I found out about the taping of “Nashville: On the Record 2” I knew I had to be there.
The taping took place at the new Opry house which is a very nice venue with big stage, great acoustics and padded seats, but truth be told, I much prefer the warmth and intimacy of the Ryman, which is where the first “On The Record” was filmed.
I went early to avoid as much traffic as possible, and had dinner at Macaroni Grille. I settled into my seat, which conveniently had a flat railing on my right hand side, perfect for taking notes for the Nashville Forever blog.
The stage was nicely decorated and the Opry barn was nowhere to be seen. There were about 15 tall ‘stage lights’, a boom camera over to the left, and lots of stage hands all dressed in black. The guys in the band were also all dressed in black, except for Buddy Miller who wore a maroon jacket and his trademark hat. There were some camera guys in the empty space on the floor in front of the stage with big hand held (well, shoulder held) cameras with gyroscopes so as not to shake. Some of the seats in about the 4th row had been removed, also for a set camera. One of the ushers said they had rehearsed all day Friday.
The producer made an announcement telling everyone to PLEASE come take their seats since they can’t start until everyone is seated.
7:25 Again, the produce/director guy in charge gets on his mic and tells no one in particular that ‘we need to fill up the front rows”. I can see people being moved from the back of the first floor into empty seats in the 3rd and 4throw. HEY! PICK ME!!!
7:30 There is a ‘host’ whose name I never got (Think Ryan Seacrest but more nervous) reads a disclaimer saying by buying the tickets we have all agreed to be filmed, that photos are OK but no audio or video and that we should mark your calendars for March 25th as that is the date this episode will be aired. A request is also made for as little movement from the audience as possible during the actual filming.
The songwriters are all seated together, as is the crew from the show, and two school groups – one is kids from the Kenrose Elementary School in Brentwood – a 2014 Blue Ribbon School. There’s also another group of students from the Nashville School of the Arts. Chip Esten visited the school on January 27th and his visit was filmed for inclusion in the On The Record 2 episode.
The host tells us that the tickets for the filming sold out in 46 minutes!
7:40 The host is telling some lame jokes. People on the main floor are still being moved.
For our part, the entire audience is told to do 5 different versions of clapping so they can get the audio and video to splice into the footage. So we clap politely, then we clap with more enthusiasm, then we do a “happy but not standing” clap, and THEN the Standing Ovation clap!
My hands hurt.
7:55 Sam Palladio, Clare Bowen and Jonathan Jackson are introduced. We are told it’s OK to clap. They sing “Borrow My Heart” which “not still ZAG” sang the night Chaley Rose left the show. I later read Chaley’s Twitter page and she had flown in from LA for the event. Must have been hard for her not to be a part of the concert.
There are 2nd takes for all the songs. Amazing to me that they start out the song a capella but somehow all 3 manage to find their notes. The stage lights get brighter on the downbeats. The band has 4 guitarists, a banjo, drum set and a keyboard. There’s a roving camera on stage which occasionally walks in front of the trio. At the end of them singing the song the 2nd time, we are told not to clap.
Very quiet. Silence. It’s weird not to react. And the 3 of them just stand there a bit awkwardly, not knowing what to do.
8:05 We had to clap while they walked on and off the stage since after the 2 takes, they didn’t know to leave the stage. The audience is great at clapping.
The host comes out again and tells the people in the front seats NOT to chew gum and to put their VIP passes (around their necks) away.
Charles Esten and Deana Carter (who co-wrote the song) are introduced. Two stools are set up and the mics are rearranged. Big applause for Chip! But they have to do the entrance a 2nd time for some reason. So we clap again. The song is “I Know How to Love You Now”. Chip ad libs the intro but for some reason it’s not right so he does it again.
He says to the audience (while cameras are reset)
“I think it’s going well!” The audience laughs.
Chip mentions that he had the line “So many sorrys ago” which he thought would be a good song title. But Deana came up with “I Know How to Love You Now” and Chip’s line becomes a lyric instead of a title.
Lots of fussing around the stage and Chip quips “Didn’t take THIS long to write the song!”
We are told not to applaud for the 2nd take.
Now we do a 2nd take of the song. Chip again breaks the tension by saying “We’d like to play the same song for you now. Not sure you caught every nuance and imperfection.”
More fussing about.
Chip says “I REALLY know how to love you now!”
There’s a camera onstage right in front of Chip and Deana . . . finally the director gets what he needs and they walk off stage, relieved.
8:30 Chris Carmack and Aubrey Peeples some out to sing “If Your Heart Can Handle It”. The mix seems off to me, very hard to hear Aubrey’s voice. She has a low voice and I guess Chris sings loud?
After the song there are a bunch of stage hands on the stage, adjusting the lights and some having a ‘conference’ with Chris and Aubrey. Make up is retouched. This goes on for at least 5 minutes.
Chris finally says “Anybody excited about the show coming back on?” We all cheer and clap.
There is not much interaction by the cast with the audience . . . probably for fear of messing up a take.
For the 2nd take of the song, the lights are now orange. Chris is very animated and moves around the stage, while Aubrey stands still. This time she sings a verse on her own, there’s more Aubrey who was ‘lost’ in the first take.
A few times during the waiting around, Aubry rubs Chris’ back with one hand. It’s sweet. They walk off stage hand in hand, to applause.
There’s a long changeover as a baby grand piano is wheeled out and set in place.
Jonathan Jackson strolls out and sits at the huge piano to sing “How You Learn to Live Alone”. He says the song is a turning point for the character of Avery. It’s very quiet as he starts, just his voice and the piano (this is one of my favorite songs). As the song goes on, various instruments join in – drums, bass, keyboard, slide. Very nice.
Avery gets his makeup redone and they do a 2nd take with no applause. There’s a camera on stage almost in Jonathan’s face! The crowd is getting a bit restless.
2nd take is done and Jonathan exits.
The host asks if we think Rayna should go ahead and marry Luke? (Crowd is silent) or Deacon? (Crowd goes wild).
Then Will Chase comes out looking a bit threatening . . . the host back pedals and said of course he is just talking about the characters, not the actors.
Lennon and Maisy Stella walk out on stage. They are just so cute. They stand there for a minute or so, until Chip Esten is told to come out. They make him stand off-center.
Chip makes a little speech about how great it is that the city of Nashville and state of Tennessee have embraces the show. He mentions his trip the Nashville School of the Arts and that the CMA Foundation has donated a lot to the school.
Lennon and Maisy sing “We Got a Love’, the song that they sang briefly at Rayna and Luke’s rehearsal dinner.
Getting set up for the 2nd take Lennon and Maisy are goofing around. Maisy starts coughing and finally says to the audience “It went through my wrong tube!” Someone gets her some water. Chips quips “Now DAPHNE has a drinking problem!”
Chip talks to the students in the audience and asks the drama students what his ‘motivation’ for this scene should be?
9:20 The girls sing the song a second time.
We have been sitting for almost 2-1/2 hours. It’s fun but it does get a bit tedious as no one really explains what is going on.
Chris Carmack and Will Chase saunter out onto the stage to sing a (then) new song ‘If I Drink This Beer”.
In between takes, someone yells “I love you Luke!”
Will Chase replies “And I you! . . . Is that my Mom?” and peers into the direction of the woman who yelled.
Will and Chase do their 2nd take without incident and head off stage.
The host says we are doing well and that the last time at the Ryman, they were there until 1am.
Host dude mentions that the next song was written by prolific songwriter Shane McAnally and that it’s called “Fade Into You’.
Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen appear. Sam says “Are you ready for a little Scarlett and Gunnar moment?” They are perfect singing another one of my favorites.
As the director guy says “Camera reset, real quick”, Clare looks at the audience and says “Thanks for whoever is instagramming my dress – it looks awesome!”
The stage is set up for Reba. Her musicians are added to the ones already there. Lots of monitors are moved to the front of the stage. Reba says the set looks great! Sings her new single “Going Out Like That” to huge applause and a standing ovation.
After Reba leaves, Chip, Lennon, Maisy, and Clare come out and start singing a new feel good song ‘A Friend of Mine”
They sing a verse and then everyone comes out like at the end of the first ‘On The Record’. Sam, Aubrey and Jonathan share a mic on the left side of the stage. Will Chase, Deana and Chris share a mic on the right.
Two takes are done. Lots of tired applause although some the crowd is starting to leave, at least in the upper part of the theater. The parking lot is always a mess when the Opry lets out so I don’t really blame folks. It’s about 10:15.
I’m really glad I scored a ticket and happy I made the effort. I DO look forward to seeing how it all comes out with the editing. No one screwed up. I was a special event, mostly full with fans of the show, which was great! Here’s hoping for a 4th season!