Hard to believe it's been 16 years since Dallas hosted the NHL All-Star Game. Back in 2007, I was the Music Director for the Dallas Stars, responsible for programming the music during home games at the AAC, and after meeting with the NHL it was decided I'd also be handling music duties during the All-Star festivities... and I'd also have a starring role in the opening sequence. It was an experience I'll never forget. The League's production honchos came up with the crazy idea of creating a true spectacle for the opening sequence of the TV broadcast. I had no idea what it would look like, and needless to say, I had my doubts, especially when I learned I'd have to climb to the rafters of American Airlines Center, walk out on the catwalk above the arena floor (ice) hundreds of feet up, strap on a safety harness, climb over the railing and be lowered on to a floating platform. Once on the platform, I had to attach my safety harness to a locking mechanism, just in case (god forbid) something happened and we went tumbling below. A hole was cut through the back of my Stars jersey to allow the harness strap to be secured. Then I proceeded to get in position behind my DJ "booth" of two turntables and a mixer. Yes, I was going to be mixing and scratching vinyl - a remix of Queen's "We Will Rock You", all while being lowered on a stage with flames shooting from all four corners. Then once lowered just above the ice, with my headset microphone, I welcomed everyone to the All-Star Game!!
Again, I had my doubts because even though the mix-track was pre-recorded it still had to be coordinated in perfect time with my sound man below in order to LOOK like it was happening live. We decided to do a practice run during the opening night of the 3-day festival, and things did NOT go well. The stage wasn't lowered on time, the music didn't get cued on time, and to make matters worse, the WRONG SONG played. Needless to say I was hung out to dry - literally and figuratively. Thankfully we did a practice run, and we worked out the kinks, because on the night of the All-Star Game, on January 24, 2007 - it all came together perfectly. The stage lowered on time, the music started on cue, and things went off without a hitch. The League HAD created a spectacle for the opening TV sequence, albeit in standard def - on cable channel VERSUS, on the same night as American Idol, but those who did watch got to see something they'd never seen before. The great Mike "Doc" Emrick narrating, and yours truly mixing and scratching welcoming viewers to Dallas for the 2007 NHL All-Star Game.
Here’s how it looked on TV
And here's a behind the scenes look from inside American Airlines Center