Playing for Evergreen FS was undoubtedly one of the more memorable corporate events that I’ve played for. It started like so many others, the President gave us a warning that the crowd may not be all that enthusiastic. No problem. We’re used to that. After all, any new experience such as dueling pianos can create that kind of nervousness or doubt. But this crowd was completely into the show.
I played this show with Dave Radford (the original “Felix”.) Dave and I had just started to get a better feel for each other on stage. Aside from the show we did the night before, it may have been about a years since I played music with him.
I love the way Dave connects with the crowd. Everyone has their own style in doing so, and Dave has a charm about him, that draws everyone in. When he took a break and told them about his experience with American Idol, one of the workers ran up and began kissing Dave’s feet. I kid you not. It wasn’t meant in sarcasm. It was a friendly humor, and the man announced that he had always wanted to kiss an American Idol.
It was also during that time, that someone from the audience announced that they had once auditioned for American Idol. We invited him up to the stage to sing a long to whatever he liked. With a bit of encouragement from the crowd he made his way up to the stage. However, once he was up in front of the crowd, he might have had a bit of stage fright. Telling the crowd he didn’t know anything, he also revealed he loved 90’s music. I promptly told him, I would play the easiest song from the 90’s that I knew. Timidly, he agreed knowing that whatever I threw at him should be a piece of cake. Instead, I busted out Superbass by Nicki Minaj. He couldn’t sing or rap it. But he could dance to it. And he did, and the crowd was on their feet applauding his moves.
From beginning to end, the night was loaded with fun. Just prior to the show, after setting up all our gear, I stepped into the bathroom stall to change. Outside, I over heard two men talking about how they were going to give us songs they thought we couldn’t play.
Their plan started with Roger Miller’s, King Of The Road, which in the dueling piano world, is a must-know song. I’m not sure what their requests were after that, but I’m pretty sure we played them. And when I did get to their song, I called out to the crowd that I overheard the conversation and challenged them to bring it on!
The whole night was a blast and we established a very nice communication line with the crowd. But I couldn’t help but notice there was one woman in the front row, who just didn’t seem to be enjoying the show. She may have been nervous. Finally, I looked her in the eye. “Smile.” I told her, in the friendliest manner. And she did. And it was genuine. I’m not sure if she put in any requests that night. However, when the show ended, I felt a special gratification knowing that we had reached out to everyone in some way.
We brought people up for some fun and games, and crazy dancing. But they had some fun and games of their own. They were giving prizes away throughout the night and some of them were gift certificates to various popular stores. As I read off the possible winning prices, I came to a favorite for fishermen, a $50 gift certificate at Bass Pro.
That’s when I made a verbal slip and read “Bass” like the musical instrument and not the fish. The entire audience yelled out and corrected me. “Hey, I’m a musician.” I told them. It was funny. Even I knew better. I had shopped and eaten at Bass Pro several times. We continued the incorrect pronunciation a few times throughout the night as winners came up to collect their prizes.
I’m excited to tell you how the show ended, because the last request slip that we had was certainly a winner for any corporate event. Can you guess what it might have been?
Keep on reading, and I’ll tell you at the end of the blog…
Embassy Suites On The House
“Suite!” I love Embassy Suites. They had booked us a room, so that we didn’t have to travel at all after the show. But as late as it was, and as tired as we were, we headed on over towards the Illinois River to have some Chicken Wings at Kelleher’s Irish Pub (if you like good food and a terrific outdoor/indoor ambiance go there!) And that ended a night that was a complete success.
Oh wait. I did say I was going to reveal what the last song request was. What could be more fitting for a corporate event other than, “Take This Job And Shove It!” – David Allan Coe classic.
Oddly enough, I had just watched David Allan Coe live about 8 months prior in Joliet. I had some band friends that were opening up for him and received some free tickets that I used to have a night out with my Dad.
He’s a big country fan, so I’m usually ready for country requests. But even if that’s not your thing, we’re ready to play what YOU love! Contact us today for your event!
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