Songwriters’ Hall of Fame

The Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Awards turned out to be a big thrill and a little bit of a bust.

I did get in there and get some photos. A few of them came out pretty cute. But mostly I got smoked by the real photographers, who were making their digital cameras fly while I was unable to overcome the waiting time while my camera auto-focused, snapped, showed me a preview and then set up for another snap. I needed to be able to go much faster. I’m trying to figure out if there’s a way to change the camera so that it lets me go faster, but so far no luck. Any photographers have any advice?

I figure it was a good start and I’ll do better each time. It was a huge education to be surrounded by real photographers who are, no surprise, terribly aggressive. I don’t mean that as a criticism. Some of them clearly had relationships with the celebrities, who were just as interested in getting their picture taken as the shooters were of doing just that. I mean, there is a back entrance for anyone who doesn’t want to run the gauntlet.

I did get to yell, “Stevie! Stevie! Stevie!” at Stevie Wonder to get him to look my way for a photo. He was actually very cooperative with everyone and obviously having a good time. More on that in a moment.

So that was the bust part of the evening, because I really didn’t get many good photos. I got a few, but nothing to set the world on fire.

The thrill part was that the PR person called me about an hour before I got there to say they’d like to invite me to attend the ceremony.

I got to sing along with “If I Had a Hammer” with Peter, Paul and Mary. I got introduced to artists who are new to me who I really loved — Pete Yorn and Gavin DeGraw. And I got to watch Stevie Wonder knock it out of the park by performing two songs and then closing the show out with an impromptu performance of “Uptight” from the award podium before he left the stage. And the young lady who was leading him around the stage was the famous Aisha. I know this because he pointed it out, to her total embarrassement. She gave him a little smack for introducing her and he paid her back by singing “Isn’t She Lovely” in a nasal voice as she walked off the stage.

Other performers: Kris Kristofferson, John Mayer, Trace Adkins, Dr. John (doing When the Saints Go Marching In), Gavin DeGraw, Pete Yorn, Paul Schaefer, Linda Eder and Cheyenne

It was such a fun, unexpected treat. It felt a little weird to be there by myself, but the guy from ASCAP next to me was very nice.

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