By Jenny Berg Posted April 3, 2008, 6:44 PM EDT
Tonight, John Legend, Cat Power, and Colbie Caillat take the stage at Chicago's Vic Theatre, kicking off the five-city 50th Grammy Celebration Tour presented by T-Mobile Sidekick. After tonight's show, the tour will head to New York's Webster Hall on April 9, then on to Miami (April 16), Dallas (April 23), and Los Angeles (April 30). Each city features a different lineup chosen to fit with the local cultural flavor—Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott headline New York's hip-hop-tinged show, and Kid Rock and a yet-to-be-announced artist fit with a country-rock theme in Dallas.
“The mission of the Recording Academy is to make a connection between music, its makers, and its fans,” Branden Chapman, vice president of production and process management at the Recording Academy, said from Chicago today. “This tour is part of the academy's effort to keep our brand in the marketplace and connect with music lovers throughout the U.S. on more than just Grammy night.” To create a strong connection between fans and the tour's mix of established and up-and-coming artists, Chapman said, he targeted small venues for the tour's “arena-worthy” acts.
Each by-invite-only concert will have between 1,000 and 1,300 attendees, with the guest list comprising Recording Academy members, T-Mobile subscribers, and Sidekick users. Along with invited guests, tonight's audience will be peppered with winners of radio contests and beneficiaries of in-store giveaways at T-Mobile locations. “Music is such an important platform for T-Mobile,” Chapman said. “They're a perfect sponsor and partner for this tour simply because of who they are and their brand's connection to music.”
A branded Sidekick Lounge, executed by Bolthouse Productions, will be open to wristband wearers at the Vic tonight.