Last Saturday, I helped out a fellow DJ with a wedding reception. It was my chance to make a few extra bucks so, why not?
Let me tell you from experience, those cats work. It’s not the kind of job for a lazy man. There’s a lot of setting up and tearing down heavy equipment. And, the most aggravating thing is that when you’ve got everything set up the same way that you set it up every time and… It’s not working. You check all the connections and run through another check and still nothing is working. Then you find out that a button got pushed somewhere during transport and storage of the equipment.
It can be very irritating.
The wedding was for this twenty-something couple that was sparing no expense. After all, they hired a DJ, caterers, and three photographers. It was a very fine affair…
We were in the middle of tearing down from the wedding and relocating to where the reception was being held. Immediately, the young folks wanted to blow the roof off the sucker or maybe let the dogs out… Whatever party phrase is acceptable with the twenty-something crowd. Either way, they had total disregard for the wedding reception protocol. The dances between father and daughter and mother and son had to take place. There was food to be served and grandparents cannot digest anything with the Wu-Tang Clan filling their ear holes.
Hell, there was one woman wearing a red dress and as I understand, that’s a wedding attire no-no. And trust me, I’m as uncouth as they come.
I could see the ocean swelling for what was to come.
Finally, the Norah Jones was taken off and the DJ started things off slowly with some Motown. It’s always a crowd favorite unless you’re totally Goth, in which case, you can find a corner somewhere and whittle on your arm with a small dagger.
Immediately, the folks who wanted to let the dogs out started in on the brave DJ. He was assaulted from the left. He dodged the blows from the right. I jumped in to help where I could and was quickly thrown back to the locker room by the overwhelming combatants.
One guy wanted to play the harmonica for the couple. Huh???
The DJ was being pelted with Brazilian music from those who claimed to be sent from the bride. The bride was less than ten feet away from the DJ. We started a pile and I told each of the bride’s proxies that it was being put under all of the other requests.
“You don’t understand!” she shouted at me. “This is music that the bride has requested that you play. She’s the one paying you guys! You KNOW how mad Brazilian women can get.”
I answered back calmly, “No, I’m sorry. I don’t know.” I pointed to a small stack of Brazilian music CD’s and said, “Those are all the requests that have come from the bride. We are getting to each and every one of them. Just note on a piece of paper which tracks she’d like to hear and we’ll play each request in order that was received.”
She did and the DJ turned to me and said, “Gene, you catch on quick.”
The groom squad came up and made a request too. It was a very special song. The song has very special place in the groom’s heart. The song meant so much to them all when they all made the last beach trip. They wanted to hear it together again one last time as one of free-range stallions moved onto greener pastures.
I can’t remember the exact song title, but it was a mover by the fallen rapper, 2Pac.
The dance floor was packed. The crowd was hoisting up drinks while gyrating to the B-52’s ‘Love Shack’. The occasional drunk fell on their ass as the party continued. The smiles were in abundance until… The 2Pac song came on the sound system.
The crowd cleared out as if someone’s bowels had exploded all over the black and white dance floor. The only folks left were the groom squad who were enjoying the longer than eternity gansta rap song. The older folks were making faces and shaking their heads. Mothers were holding the ears of their children. The beer line was as long as California coast line.
It took the DJ another few songs to get the crowd’s courage back up for the dance floor. He didn’t betray their trust. He was doing it for a select few who intimately knew the guy paying the bills.
If you’re at a reception or party where a DJ is spinning the tunes, just let them work. They KNOW what they are doing. The DJ knows how to work the crowd. They are the cowboys guiding the herd to a good time.
Yeah, you are probably wanting to show the world just how cool Motorhead are, but it ain’t gonna work. Just let the DJ do his or her job. They are the professionals. They know how to keep the party rocking and rolling. They are artists, man.
Right around 10 pm, the bartenders gave up. They weren’t moving fast enough or something. The twenty-something crowd had seized control of the beer kegs and the wine table. It was like a mob dressed in suits and taffeta dresses strong-armed a take over. It was mayhem. They were pulling out oversized pitchers and fish bowls for their own consumption. Large bottles of wine were being grabbed and turned up by hands that were once held by mommy and daddy less than two decades ago. It was a scene!
We were asked to stay an extra hour and since we both like money, we did just that.
With less than 30 minutes left in the party, a few drops of rain were falling from the sky. It was time to pack up. The girl who paid us didn’t understand why we were packing up. Even with the threat of rain, she didn’t understand. The equipment was set up too close to the edge of the tent. It would be ruined if not packed up that moment.
Still, she stood there motionless with her mouth wide open. Her hand held out to feel the raindrops.
But, we got packed up and out on the road. I didn’t even get 2 miles before the bottom dropped out.
That was a close one.