“Of course,” I reply, “I’d be happy to play you a FEW songs,” trying to stress the word ‘few,’ “that would be no problem at all.” Now that sinking feeling is based on previous disastrous episodes with clients' playlists, it lasts until I receive the list. Then I am either relieved, because they have only chosen six really good party tracks, that I would have played anyway. Or I despair, as there’s a list as long as my arm of the most obscure songs that I couldn’t imagine anyone ever wanting to dance to!
Having been a DJ for over thirty years, I am used to dealing with requests on the night and usually manage to keep everyone happy. However, the dreaded playlist occasionally comes along and throws a spanner in the works of my professional approach to making a party the best ever. The first time it happened was back in the ‘90s. It was for a wedding at a venue that specialised in up-market events. I was pleased to get the booking, as I had not played there before, and was hoping to make a good impression and perhaps book further events.
A week before the party, the bride and groom sent me a list of songs that they wanted played, and it was a great choice for a nightclub, but for a wedding… I realised it would be a disaster. I totalled up the time it would take to play the 50 or so tracks that they had chosen and it came to just over three hours! I remonstrated, “Do you want me to play all of these? Or would you just like me to play some from this list? What about requests from your guests?” They were most insistent that I only play from their list and that I was NOT to play any requests from guests.
So the evening arrived and after the speeches, at about 8:30pm, I started playing the songs from their list, which comprised of mostly drum and bass tracks and tunes that would be played at raves. Soon the dancefloor was filled, not with wedding guests determined to have good time, but only with the bride and groom and three of their friends. Of course, after a couple of tracks, they went off to get some drinks, leaving me playing their playlist to an empty floor.
I made a point of announcements such as: “ALL tonight’s music has been chosen by the bride and groom” and “here is another favourite track chosen by the bride.” However, it wasn’t long before guests were coming up and requesting tracks and I had to explain that the bride and groom had insisted that I was only to play from their list. I played on to an empty dancefloor, once or twice the bride and groom got up and danced, but by 10 o’clock most of the guests had left. As they walked out many said loudly, making sure I could hear, that the DJ was rubbish and the choice of music was awful. I played the rest of the night to an almost empty room with just the bride and groom and a few of their friends sat drinking at the bar!
Another wedding I was booked for had a similar playlist of mostly dance tracks, however family members kept coming up and asking for party tunes such as
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 104, Pages 46-47.