Smoky casinos, ceaselessly chiming slot machines, and drinking that happens so early it almost perverts the concept of day-drunk — Las Vegas has it all. This year, it also had the Grammys. Outside the main event, the 2022 edition of “Music’s Biggest Night” didn’t draw as many parties as it has in the past, but it turned out less was more this time around — a phrase surely never before uttered in the land of buffets and 8 a.m. cocktails.
Joni Mitchell Returns
A musical “this is your life” for the one and only Joni Mitchell, who was honored with the MusiCares Person of the Year award at the charity’s annual pre-Grammys gala. This genre- and generation-spanning event featured everyone from 15-year-old Violet Grohl and St. Vincent, to Brandi Carlile and Graham Nash covering Joni deep cuts, hits, and everything in between. With an all-chocolate Grammy-shaped dessert that spun like the stage from which John Legend performed “River,” and plenty of celebrity video shoutouts (Neil Young from his farm, Meryl Streep singing her favorite songs, James Taylor and his pugs), the night had a truly historic feel — especially after Mitchell took the stage for a massive “Circle Game” singalong. Best of all, the woman of the hour told Rolling Stone there might be new music in the works: “I want to get a small jazz combo — which would be Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock and Larry Klein on bass maybe — and cut some standards.” We hope she keeps her word.- Brenna Ehrlich
A Weekend With Silk Sonic
When the announcement was made that the 64th Grammy Awards would head to Sin City, it seemed obvious that Silk Sonic would capitalize. The duo put on an electric show at their residency on Saturday night that fully leaned into the setting while reimagining a classic trope: “What happens in Vegas, should stay in Las Vegas,” they sang. Heavy on the nostalgia, gleam, and glamor, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak ran through their own solo hits, plus favorites from their debut together, An Evening With Silk Sonic. At one point, they even gloated that a room full of music executives couldn’t check their email for over an hour. “We took your bitch ass phones away!” Bruno crooned to cheers from the audience.
Spotted taking in the festivities from the bottle service couches in the middle of Dolby Live: Warner CEO of Recorded Music Max Lousada, surrounded by guests and coworkers, and BTS who made it backstage to link up with Silk Sonic before the show. The party continued at the nearby Nomad Library, billed as “An Even Later Night” with Atlantic Records bigwigs and Questlove spinning records. With Silk Sonic opening the Grammys the next day and then picking up Record of the Year and Song of the Year wins, it doesn’t feel farfetched to say Silk Sonic won the weekend in every sense. – Waiss Aramesh
Best New Artists Brunch
Spotify had originally planned a return to form for its big Best New Artist party this Grammys cycle, complete with performances from all 10 nominees. Then Omicron happened. With the move to Las Vegas, the streaming giant pivoted to a brunch for nominees and special guests at the famed Encore Beach Club. Billed as an intimate affair, the event was scaled back considerably compared to Spotify’s pre-pandemic BNA programming. The event was nestled in one side of the Beach Club, which was otherwise in full-swing with an array of spring breakers: It was hard to ignore, and not laugh at, the juxtaposition between a couple of hundred industry folk in town for Music’s Biggest Night™ and the thousands there for loud music and daiquiris, full stop. Nominees came through the BNA party as the afternoon went along (that photo of Arooj Aftab posing with her poster is awesome) and a Zack Bia appearance gave it a cool-kid stamp of approval. While calling it a “brunch” might just be a tongue-in-cheek way to refer to a party while the sun’s up, this was the only event during Grammys weekend that featured a full coffee bar. That has to count for something. – WA
Judgment on Tap
You’d be hard-pressed to find a fête on Saturday that had as much “it girl” energy as Grey Goose’s early afternoon mixer featuring Tinashe. With Intrigue Nightclub’s 90-foot waterfall as a backdrop, the most in-demand stylist in Hollywood, Law Roach, presided over the vodka brand’s inaugural Sound Sessions. Maybe it had to do with Law’s presence (“I’m judging everybody,” he joked) but Golden Barbie’s cobalt blue ensemble was just one of many top-tier fits. Tinashe ran through some of her hits, including “X” and “All Hands on Deck,” after joining Rolling Stone’s The Last Time on Instagram (in case you’re wondering, her Grammys week included a great meal at Delilah and listening to Olivia Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu”). – WA
Key Glock’s Big Night
Key Glock got a major look on Friday night as Empire’s Grammys event doubled as an album release for Yellow Tape 2 Deluxe. At arguably the most picturesque venue of the week, models wearing branded caution tape did acrobatics on stilts and danced inside of inflatable balls on the Resorts World Hilton pool. VIPs including Dreezy, Spotify’s Carl Chery, and Yung Bleu mingled at one of the few Grammy events that took place before Saturday. – WA