Rolling Stone excerpt below:
At one table, Paul McCartney bros down with Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. A few feet away, Diddy is jumping a banister to say hello to the Jonas Brothers, while out on the balcony, Duffy shares a smoke with Slash. Welcome to the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party — the hottest ticket in town for music makers and the most difficult to score for those who work with them. That’s because the annual gala features intimate performances by some of music’s biggest names (all of Davis’ choosing) in a Beverly Hilton ballroom packed to the gills with celebrities and industry VIPs. It’s one hell of a schmooze-fest, but also an unforgettable display of talent.
“There’s nobody that’s not here,” said repeat attendee Akon on the red carpet early on in the evening. “You literally could take the [Grammy] trophies, grab everyone who’s nominated and give them their award tonight. Seriously.” Indeed, a quick scan of the guest list revealed at least a couple dozen nominees, including Kanye West (who slipped in mid-show with Dr. Dre), Jennifer Hudson, Estelle, Josh Groban, Leona Lewis, Taylor Swift, Chris Brown and Rihanna. And there were also plenty of Grammy winners past and present, among them: Rod Stewart, Prince, Barry Manilow, Herbie Hancock, and, yes, a comeback-ready Whitney Houston.
For first-timers, however, the sheer star power can be a little overwhelming. Pre-fame Katy Perry had that experience. “I actually crashed the Clive party five years ago,” she confessed. “Glen Ballard brought me and I was like, ‘Wow!’ It’s probably gonna be a lot different tonight.” Perry can take some comfort in knowing even legends still get star-struck. When Barry Manilow noticed Sly Stone standing outside on the balcony shortly after dinner was served, he had a near meltdown. “I can’t talk,” he stammered. “Sly’s right there and I don’t know what to say.” Manilow went with what any fan in his position would do: he asked for a picture. Newcomer Duffy, meanwhile, fell victim to delayed celebrity recognition syndrome. After sparking a cigarette and a few minutes of conversation with Antonio Banderas, she finally figured out who she was talking to. “It was like I thought he was an uncle,” she later said with a hint of embarrassment.