Archive for September, 2006

Look at that old DJ dance!

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Last week I celebrated my tenth annual 22nd birthday (lots of food and fun with friends and family – it was fantastic!) And then I topped it off Saturday by DJing another wedding, woo!

Starting at 4pm, this was easily my longest job of the summer. Even though dinner started at the traditional 6pm, they wanted me there early to provide audio for a slide show – the usual photo montage of the bride and groom from babyhood up to today. The show and it’s accompanying song looped over and over as the guests filtered in for cocktail hour:

The first time I saw it, I reflected on how cute they were as babies and what a beautiful couple they made.

The tenth time I saw it, I wondered why they both had such oily skin. Look at the glare from their foreheads! And it’s a wonder they ever grew out of that baby fat.

The sixty-fifth time I saw it, I contemplated if it were possible to kill oneself with a salad fork.

Not that I was completely without things to do. The banquet hall coordinator gave me a laundry list of rules and regulations to announce, most of them related to alcohol. Apparently the town I was in was petitioning the reinstatement of prohibition. The coordinator told me the laws were so strict most receptions were usually over by 9:30pm. I did always wonder where they filmed Footloose.

Also the room was set up in what is known in acoustic terms as a “retarded” layout. It was in the shape of an “L”, with me and the dance floor at the end of the short side. As a result, 2/3 of the room could not hear the music or any announcements. There are a couple options here. 99% of DJ’s would probably just do nothing and let the night trainwreck, which is I imagine why parties there were ending by 9:30. Ryan on the other hand would have ran cables throughout the room to place speakers in strategic spots, wired into the house system using aluminum foil from the kitchen and remote linked to the booming system in his truck which would be parked in the lobby. I, on the third hand, decided the easiest thing to do would be to steal from Ded Bob.

Ded Bob is the master of audience manipulation, so I blatantly took a page from his book. As we were getting ready to do the toast, I had everyone who could hear me stand up, cup their hands to their mouths, and repeat after me.

ME: “Hey other side of the room!”
AUDIENCE: “Hey other side of the room!”
ME: “Grab your glass,”
AUDIENCE: “Grab your glass,”
ME: “And get over here for the toast!!”
AUDIENCE: Too busy laughing

But it worked. The other side of the room came over and it left no doubt where the party was going to be. Accoustics were a non-issue for the rest of the night. Thanks Bob!

With the night off to such a great start I was emotionally unprepared for what happened next. A family member of the bride approached me. She said the bride’s mother was not feeling well and had retreated to her room (the hall was connected to a hotel), but she did not want to miss the dance. I promised to give her a heads up before we started.

As we were about to begin, the bride’s mother came down to the dance floor. In a wheelchair. I’m not a doctor, but if it wasn’t cancer, it was something equally malignant. She was tall, elegantly dressed and probably weighed about 90 pounds. I like to think you can overcome anything, but realistically, this woman was in her final hours. As I started the bridal party dance, her husband helped her struggle out of her wheelchair. Watching them, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was the last time the two of them would ever dance together. She held out for about a minute and then he gently placed her back in the wheelchair. Absolutely heartbreaking.

A crying DJ isn’t really the best way to kick off a party, so I choked it back, and did my best to get things rolling. And roll we did. Much to the dismay of the hotel, a party erupted. A manager came over at 9:30 stating “most people have gone home, so turn it down.” Conditioning is so fascinating. His selective eyesight simply couldn’t register the packed dance floor. When midnight struck, several spilled drinks and broken glasses later, the floor was still jammed with people dancing and singing at the top of their lungs.

The stunned banquet coordinator told me after: “That normally doesn’t happen.”

Not bad for an old fart DJ!