Saturday, June 15, 2002

Basketball and broadcasts

On this day in 1998, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant brought together 20,000 fans to the United Center in Chicago, including newly crowned basketball champion, Dennis Rodman. The Chicago Bulls' quirky rebounder, who'd just recently helped his team earn its sixth NBA World Championship, spent a moment with Page and Plant onstage during the encore.

Crew members from MTV were also on hand but having anything to do with what was onstage. They were there to videotape a backstage segment for a new television series. FANatic sought out the No. 1 superfans of pop stars such as Will Smith, Kobe Bryant and Marisa Tomei and linked them to the celebrities for brief interview sessions.

Selected to meet Page and Plant was a longtime fan named Suzanne. She received concert tickets, backstage passes and an interview with Page and Plant before the concert. The three swapped stories about their favorite songs -- including "Kashmir," "Yallah" and "In the Light," while MTV filmed the five-minute segment for the July 16 episode of FANatic.

There was another broadcast being filmed that night, too, and shown live. Worldwide fans with Internet access were given the opportunity to enjoy the concert from their own home computers. Thanks to a live webcast of the show, fans could tune in to Atlantic Records' Digital Arena to access streaming video and audio feeds from the Chicago concert.

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