By Anthony Galloway, Nightly News producer
One of the perks of working at 30 Rock is the Today Show’s Summer Concert Series. Every Friday brings a new artist. This year we’ve already had Christina Aguilera, Justin Bieber, Maxwell and Maroon 5. But the Today Show has never seen a crowd like the one that showed up this morning for Lady Gaga.
NBC’s Ann Curry announced that Lady Gaga’s audience was the largest in Today Show history. An estimated 18 to 20,000 people packed in three city blocks surrounding the building where we broadcast Nightly News. Some of Gaga’s most dedicated fans – she calls them Little Monsters – arrived on Wednesday and started forming a line down 48th street. When Gaga heard people were camping out overnight she ordered pizza and had it delivered to Rockefeller Plaza. This morning the fans turned their pizza boxes into poster boards to welcome their favorite performer.
Lady Gaga’s first act went off without a hitch. But then, almost on cue with the commercial break, it started to rain. Then it started to pour. Members of the Today Show crew raced to find plastic tarp to cover the expensive musical equipment on stage. All of us in the crowd had little relief, but almost no one seemed to care. As the stage manager counted the show back from commercial, Lady Gaga walked over to her piano and, after a quick interview, went on with the show.
She shouted, “Let it rain! Let it pour!” And it did.
Three songs later our time with Gaga was over. Soaking wet, it was time to walk upstairs and go to work.