A Wonder Summer’s Night

I already had my ticket booked to go home for a week when I found out that my favorite artist of all time was playing not more than 5 minutes from my house at the Concord Pavilion (they call it Sleeptrain now, but whatever). I called my mom and she agreed that this would be a perfect family outing for Dad’s birthday, so I quickly booked 6 tickets as soon as they went on-sale. Fortunately, I was quick because both shows in the Bay Area ended up being sold-out within an hour. It’s been 12 years since his Oakland, CA show so people were hungry.

We weren’t disappointed.

Appropriately titled, “A Wonder Summer’s Night”, Stevie started off the show walking on-stage with his daughter, Aisha, to the crowd of 12,000 (myself included), roaring. He introduced his daughter, explained that the tour was dedicated to his mohter who died last year, and started off with “Love’s In Need”. That song led to an over 2 hour performance of hits spanning 1969 (My Cherie Amour) to 1984 (Part-time Lover, I Just Called..). He did also Say What the Fuss from his latest LP, but the majority of the evening was spent on giving the crowd the songs they’re most familiar with backed by an 11-piece band and 3 backup singers.

He also showed that all the years touring haven’t worn him out. He had great command of his band as it seemed he was ad-libbing quite a bit during the show. And at one point even jumped on a piano stool to sing to the crowd, without any aid. The consummate prankster – Stevie was cracking jokes on-stage and telling stories as if we’d known him personally for years.

It is an evening that will be etched in my memory and one that cannot possibly be compared to other artists. He is afterall, Stevie Wonder.


Parties & Bullshit…

I’ve been trying to end the summer with a bang to ease the depression of Fall. It’s not just a time for seasonal transition – but making moves on the work and social scene as well. I’m closing up shop here at the soon-to-be old gig and moving onto the new gig Monday. Same agency, different age group. Vettie Vette will be working with the young ones! 5 to 10 year olds at a program in Boro Park. No longer will I have the joys of commuting 20 minutes to/from work to ghettofab Fulton Mall in BK. I’ll still be in BK but worlds away from Jimmy Jazz and McDonald’s! Boro Park is a predominately Hassidic Jewish neighborhood. Not many businesses for us goys at lunchtime so it looks like I will have to start preparing lunches again.

DJing has been a fun change of pace from the hectic rigors of work and I’m learning a lot about the business while I’m at it. Marketing and schmoozing is one of my least favorite activities, but to get the gigs it must be done. I’ve already agreed to play at a BK venue that I loathe just to build upon Sistamatik’s roster of gigs.

Marketing includes going to industry parties. Can’t be too picky in this business, otherwise you’ll be left in the dust. Fortunately, DJing for me isn’t a career-change, just something I enjoy doing on the side with the freedom to play whatever I want. Another way of connecting with people. And I think that’s one way of preventing myself from “selling out”. My boyfriend, Joey, has just started a new job for RNR Freelance this week. A move up from the previous firmthatshallnotbenamed aka Voldemort PR. I had my first taste of an industry party on Wednesday. It was a small affair, but good to see that not all parties are schmoozefests. I stuck to my own little crowd and let Sabrina work the room. She’s better at it than I am. Next up is the SwizzBeats album release party. Not exactly the person I want to listen to or see on a Tuesday nite, but a chance to meet famous people. I’m going to try and get a pic with Reverend Run if he’s there!

“Kill the DJ!”

Vettie Vette, originally uploaded by triple5funk.

She must’ve not been more than 13, but already murder was being considered when I rejected her requests for ‘something to dance to.’ Mind you, I was playing Prince – KISS. She eventually went away when I told her that we had none of the music she was asking for (‘yonce, Rihanna, etc.) and that it had already been played all day. Furthermore, my DJ partner Brina Payne was one of the DJs who played those records! I chose not to retort with “I’m a DJ, not a jukebox.” Instead I kept on playing – as long as the adults were groovin’, I’m not movin’.

This experience is very different from my usual dj gigs, where the crowd is mostly my age and I can get away with playing whatever I wanted. I realized then and there that the mobile dj business is not for me. Call me stubborn, narrow-minded, or – god forbid – old, but I will not play Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girl”. There’s just an imaginary line I will not cross.

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