NAMM Best & Worst in Show Winter 2018

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • February 2018
  • Show Report
• Created: February 21, 2018

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Best Big-Time Musical Event

The Yamaha All Star Concert on the Grand featured superstars Michael McDonald, Melissa Etheridge, Lindsey Stirling, Sam Moore, Marc Broussard, Butch Walker, and Sheléa on the Yamaha Grand Plaza stage.

The combination of legendary performers and flawless execution and production would have already made this one a near-lock for one of the week’s best events, but props also must be given to the ample food and drink spread on-hand. I think I’m still full of cheese…



Best Plumage

I had no fewer than three separate conversations with folks who, when considering the 2018 Winter NAMM Show, observed somewhat wistfully that there used to be more colorfully attired and coiffed individuals at the annual gathering. While this may be true (#keepNAMMweird), MMR’s Matt King did spot and take a quick photo of this young lady who easily had a hairdo as memorable as any ever in Anaheim!



Worst Harsh Reality

Oh, were folks excited to see “U2” playing atop the Convention Center on the morning of Day-two at the show (they’re the little specks by the railing in this photo). Easily the worst “Oh, man – I can’t believe I fell  for that!” moment of the week. In fairness to tribute band, Hollywood U2, that they were able to fool so many industry types speaks to their talent. However, it was a rough bait-and-switch when they waited until the last song of their roof-top set to reveal that they were not the legendary Irish rockers…





Best New Partnership

On January 26, the 17th annual Parnelli Awards gala was held at the Anaheim Hilton – the first time the Awards ceremony has been part of the NAMM Show. This year’s event honored Bobby “Boomer” Thrasher (pictured here), Jonathan Smeeton, and John Stadius with the Lifetime Achievement Award, Visionary Award, and Audio Innovator Award, respectively. This year’s iteration of the premier awards show for the live production community was a highlight for many at the 2018 Anaheim get-together.







Best Acceptance Speech

During the 2018 Roland International Press Conference, held Wednesday, January 24, 2018, on the eve of the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, Roland and BOSS presented their third annual Lifetime Achievement Awards to synthpop and electronic music pioneer and solo artist Thomas Dolby (Roland), and guitar virtuoso, artist, and producer Steve Vai (BOSS).

While Vai’s skills are, of course, legendary and his acceptance speech was well-received, Dolby’s acceptance soon transformed into the best and funniest impromptu master-class as he walked attendees though each step of the creation of his 1982 hit “She Blinded Me With Science” – using vintage gear from that time period that Roland had tracked down for him!

Best Spot to Chill

With tons of vintage (and new!) gear on display, lots of choice freebies (clip-on tuners!), and a laid back, comfortable vibe, Reverb’s space was probably the most relaxing booth to hang out in at the 2018 NAMM Show.





Worst Depth Perception

This one would have to go to yours truly. It really is important to turn the lights on before you go to plug the iron into the baseboard socket. Not doing so can lead to, oh I don’t know, banging your face on the corner of the dark wood reading table directly above said outlet…







Best Display of Sheer Talent

High-school me was delighted when Eric Johnson played with every bit of velocity and impeccable tone as back in the day as he put his new Fender signature model through its paces at a private concert.






Best Wheels

Lots of attendees to the NAMM Show go to great lengths to refine their attire and overall appearance and presentation in order to impress and/or leave a lasting impression. While some of the cars outside the hotels were pretty luxurious, the best rims at the show go to these tricked out wheels on a Segway.






Best Elevator Companion of the Week

It never gets old running into musical heroes, no matter how many times you’ve crossed paths before. Bumping into Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen in the elevator on Thursday morning was a fun way to start the Show.

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