All of the attention has gone towards the end of my MB career, which wraps up a week from today. But at the same time, tonight marks the finale of my part-time DJ career, split between the traveling Nightlife Entertainment gig and the preferable in-house events at the Profile Event Center. Tonight’s dance will be the 68th of my career and 38th at the Profile.
Although most of the dances have been wedding dances, there were two Alcoholics Anonymous sobriety celebration dances and a St. Paul Saints fundraiser dance. There were also a couple wedding dances of friends that knew me and hired me specifically for their events—Alex and Alison Garcia, and Joe and Krista Allen. Another dance actually led to me becoming friends with the couple when it turned out the bride was my regular hygienist at the dentist.
I wish I had a record of how many times each song was played. I think there are only 2 or 3 songs that were played at every single wedding dance. “Sweet Caroline,” “Don’t Stop Believing,” and maybe “Shout” were mainstays throughout. “Love Shack” was unfortunately also right up there, but I won’t play it now unless the bride and groom specifically request it.
The best overall dance, as far as overall excitement and crowd participation, was without question the Hubert wedding dance in Byron, MN back in 2008. Lauren came along to help and we were there from 1:30pm for setup until 2:30am for take-down. Factor in the 2-hour drive each way and it was a 17-hour workday. But I guess it was worth it. Those two families absolutely tore that place down. I’m talking 200+ people on the dance floor the entire night, non-stop. I could have put iTunes on shuffle and played anything and it would have been a hit. If the event center wouldn’t have forced them out at 2:00, I bet we’d have kept going till the sun came up. The $200 tip was quite nice too.
The worst dance is a toss-up between two truly dreadful, nightmare dances. If I was either of these couples, I’d call a do-over. The first was in Annandale, MN in 2008. What started out as a small crowd shrunk to a total of 5 people remaining by 9:30. Not even the bride and groom were around. There was no bar, for one thing. I shut down at 10:00 with two stragglers remaining and someone gave me a $5 tip out of pity. The other worst dance started out just fine, with a nice big crowd in the fall of 2009 at the Profile. But the couple insisted that I stick to their playlist that consisted entirely of rap. When the first song of the night was strewn with profanities, the elderly and children had quickly disappeared. By 9:00, literally all 200 guests were gone. Everyone. Only the bride and groom remained, and looked absolutely heartbroken. I had tried telling them their music was never going to go over, but they refused to compromise and it cost them! Of course the beauty of the wedding dances gone bad is I get to go home early.
I got to see it all as a DJ, from the drunken bridesmaid who spilled her drink, slipped in it, and fell down and cut herself up pretty bad, to the drunken teenager who after the dance attempted to pick a fight with a group of large African-American gentlemen in a barren parking lot and ended up getting urinated on. I saw a 5-year old boy go missing for 30 minutes, a groom get arrested for punching a cop, and a grandpa get booed off the stage for a horribly offensive speech. I saw a man get carried out on a stretcher after having a heart attack, a slideshow that played for 2 hours on loop with the wrong photos that included a scan of someone’s drivers license and some very random shots of a Halloween costume laid out on a bed. I saw a couple bring in 200 2-liter bottles of pop for their bar and a couple abandon all their presents because they were too lazy to carry them to their car.
It may not always have been the most fun, having to give up a weekend night, or in many cases a whole day, but it was rarely uninteresting, and the extra money obviously was crucially important. I was almost always fed a free meal and given free drinks, and on lucky occasions a silver-haired 57-year old would give me a wink from across the room.
Over the years, I have kept track of all my DJing in a spreadsheet for 1099 tax purposes, so I was able to look up the following statistics.
Longest Dance: 13 hours, Sandstrom wedding, Profile, 6/13/09
Shortest Dance: 5 hours, Kreps wedding, Profile, 12/5/10
Most Base Pay Earned: $260.00, Sandstrom wedding, Profile, 6/13/09
Biggest Tip: $200.00, Hubert wedding, Byron, MN, 8/2/08
Most Total Pay, Single Night: $352.00, Gustafson wedding, Profile, 5/22/11
Busiest Month: May, 8 total wedding dances
Slowest Months: January and December, 2 total dances each
Busiest Year: 2010, 21 total wedding dances
Most Consecutive Dances Receiving Tip: 7, 6/22/08 – 8/23/08
Most Consecutive Dances, No Tip: 5, 9/13/09 – 1/30/10
Worst Tip Above $0: $5.00, Frisk wedding, Profile, 5/1/10
Most Common Last Name, First Letter: K and L, 6 dances
So here’s to the Bahls, and tonight’s final wedding dance of my career. It’s been fun.