- Justin Timberlake…Worth the Wait!
Director of Sales for Elite Entertainment, Dominic Sestito gave a seminar at last August’s DJ Convention in Atlantic City and was quoted as saying “Justin Timberlake, when it’s all said and done is going to be the greatest performer of our time”. I hadn’t given the man much thought outside of the occasions when I would be playing his songs at events I was DJ’ing. But when Dominic said this, it piqued my interest in seeing him. Some three months later, as I began to plan extensively for Valentine’s day with my girlfriend, Megan. I looked to see where Justin Timberlake would be performing (She’s a big JT Fan, so the two went hand in hand.) Ironically enough, Justin Timberlake was scheduled to perform in Madison Square Garden on the 19th and 20th of February, the WEDNESDAY or THURSDAY following Valentine’s Day, which fell on a Friday this year. I also booked Wicked Tickets for Megan and I as a Christmas present. I worked it out that Wednesday the 19th we would see Justin Timberlake, and Wicked on Thursday. Well you know what they say about the best laid plans…
After my own negligence took hold, realizing I left all the tickets to our events at home once we had arrive in the Big Apple, I had to bite the bullet, and leave Megan in the City, travel an hour back and forth to get the tickets and return. On the train ride back, I called the Garden to ensure everything was still running smoothly, only to discover that Justin Timberlake had CANCELLED for that night, due to illness, and moved his show to Friday in the Garden. My heart nearly leapt into my throat, and scrambled to inform Megan and shuffle our plans. Some financial hardships, a few long phone calls, and few glasses of liquid encouragement later and I felt a little more relaxed, knowing now that my plan was not entirely destroyed, but rather altered.
Fast Forward to Friday night, with residual amazement still occupying residence in my mind from Wicked on Broadway with Megan the night before, we filed into the Garden with 10 thousand other fans, all with the same thought on their mind: “This better be one hell of a show, I went through a lot just to come back tonight”. Around 9 PM the lights dropped, violins hit, and he began his performance, starting with Pusher Love Girl. If you’re not familiar with Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience Album, it’s an incredible compilation of music and entertainment. During the breakdown of this song, He stopped the entire show, shut the lights off, and had a spotlight put onto him….And he knew just what to say:
“What’s up New York City?!………………………..Let’s get one thing straight…………………I owe all of you for wednesday”
Now…..I’ve been in Yankee Stadium for Red Sox vs. Yankee playoff games that were loud. I’ve been in Giants Stadium for championship games. I’ve even been in the Garden for the final Big East Tournament in 2013. And Not a single one of those crowds compared to the deafening roar when Justin basically apologized. He was a consummate professional. Totally humble. And yet, in spite of what had happened, all was forgotten. With covers of Frank Sinatra’s New York New York, Jungle Boogie, Poison and Heartbreak Hotel, he blew me and Megan away. Dancing on the bars of the VIP lounge, literally lifting and moving his entire stage across the arena, and an encore of Sexyback and Mirrors, Justin Timberlake was, as the title states it, Worth the Wait.
- Paradise by the Primavera Regency
Last Friday, myself, along with the help of Craig Haberstroh, and Joe from Elite Video had the pleasure of entertaining and capturing every moment of Steve and Ashley Hudak’s wedding reception at the Primavera Regency! In meeting with this particular Bride and Groom, there was an instant connection on how they wanted me to run this party, from helping them choose there first song as husband and wife (This Year’s Love, David Grey) or selecting songs for the single Gentlemen to catch the garter (NFL On Fox Football Theme) Ashley, Steve and I worked together very closely to ensure that their Wedding day was not one to soon be forgotten. Two of the highlights of the evening were at the beginning and end of the night. When I met with the soon to be betrothed, they said “We want to do something cool and unique with our bridal party after our first dance, to get the party going!” Upon looking through their list of requested songs, the first song that jumped out at me was The Cupid Shuffle. I suggested a “Flash Mob” of the Cupid shuffle, and it worked like a charm! Everyone was hooting and hollering, as Ashley, Steve and their bridal party rocked out to an awesome song! It really set the tempo for what turned out to be a wild party! But the fun didn’t stop there.The second highlight of the night, and the inspiration for the title of this blog occurred during another request of theirs, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light“. This is easily one of my favorite songs to play, especially when a Bride and Groom handle it the way they did! With Ashley and her bridesmaids belting out “I gotta know right now! Will you love me forever….” Steve and his groomsmen were right on point letting the ladies know that they would “sleep on it” and give them an “answer in the morning!” It was great to see this large group of friends go back and forth, only to be united with hugs, kisses, high fives and chest bumps! It was our pleasure at both Elite Entertainment and Elite Video to party with Ashley and Steve, and we wish them the best in their future endeavors as husband and wife! We hope that while their wedding day was “Long ago, and it was far away” that the memories are just as good today as they were then!
“Paradise” by the Primavera Regency!!
- Different Strokes for Different Folks
Normally my blogs are on the great weddings that I’ve had the absolute honor and privilege of entertaining at, but in this case, I’ve decided to expand a little further onto the spectrum of celebrations, to a 25th wedding anniversary. On Saturday, April 27th, I was able to help Jamie Okozko surprise her parents, Joanne and Lester, at the Galloping Hill Caterer’s Club, in Union. I had previously entertained at their friend’s 25th wedding anniversary back in September, and was looking forward to matching the high level of success from that party. I thought this would be a tall order, but because of the wide range of music requested, I catered to the “Different Strokes for Different Folks”, and this group was absolutely amazing. Jamie originally gave me a list of Top 40, Classic Rock, Oldies and Country. I was instructed to play country during dinner, and stick to the rest of the playlist the rest of the night. Let me say, Jamie knew what she was talking about when she said this. People were clapping to the beat as they rocked out to songs like “Toes” and “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band as they enjoyed their meal. But once dinner was done, we got the party rolling hitting Classic Rock and Top 40 songs like “Shook Me All Night Long” by ACDC and “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. After a short break in the action, the Swing and Lindy crowd made there presence known with classic hits like “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller Band. Not to be outdone, the Motown fans wanted some of the classics, like “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and “We are Family” by Sister Sledge. I can go on and on with various requests that ran the musical gamut from hip hop, to big band and electronic dance music, but words truly cannot do the guests at this party justice. Everyone walked away satisfied and with a smile on their faces, and it was my pleasure to oblige. Behind all of this was the love shown between these two people who have found 25 years of marriage, and will undoubtedly find another 25 just as wonderful! Congratulations to Lester and Joanne Okozko!
- Sandy Kept ‘Em Shufflin’!
On this past Friday, November 9th, Jay and Corrine Field took it upon themselves to, as Jay put it to Mike Walter and myself, “Throw a big party since everyone has had it so rough. It just so happens that I’ll get married and pick the the check!” Well Jay, both you and Corrine certainly did the trick for the guests at your wedding! This group ran the gamut for musical taste anywhere from salsa, to Bon Jovi, and everything in between. However, in all of this, the one person who showed me these people couldn’t be put down by the super storm aftermath was Mike Walter. WIth a packed dance floor towards the end of the evening, Mike began to blast “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO through the speakers. This is normally a song that people always dance to, but on this particular occasion, a bridesmaid and groomsmen found themselves doing a little bit more than shuffling! This bridesmaid (wearing a pair of black reebok sneakers) just went crazy bouncing all around the dance floor, and this groomsmen went “toe to toe” with her. As an entertainer, I love to see people with a genuine look of joy on their faces, and thats what these people had. I looked at Mike as this random tandem bopped around the floor, and he said to me “I love seeing people have a good time like that!” I could not have agreed more. And it’s true: as a DJ, thats what its all about: giving people the chance to forget everything else and enjoy themselves. It was a distinct privilege for Corrine and Jay to have chosen Elite Entertainment to provide these memories. On Behalf of Mike and myself, we hope that no matter what the weather is, EVERYDAY your shuffling!
- Tracy & Christian at the Waterview Pavilion in Belmar 9/8/12
This past saturday, September 8th, Kris Abrahamsen and I were lucky enough to help Tracy Maciolek and Christian Capron celebrate their wedding. Their ceremony took place at St. Rose Church in Belmar (My High School Alma Mater) and then took a quick trip down the block to the Waterview Pavilion, overlooking the Belmar Marina. With the nautical scenery everywhere you turned, it seemed the location was appropriate given the groom attended the Naval Academy, and brought several of his fellow midshipmen along as groomsmen in the bridal party! Christian and Tracy were headed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for their “honeymoon” after their wedding, But before the night was over, there was a moment that left everyone laughing and smiling ear to ear.
The graduates of the Naval Academy in attendance were big fans of the movie Top Gun. They were also Righteous Brother fans as well, and saw fit to show tracy just how much they loved both. With “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” playing in the background, and Tracy seated in the middle of the dance floor, a group of 8 men of the navy weren’t singing “Anchors away” but rather mimicked the bar scene out of Top Gun singing “Baby, you’ve lost, that loving feeling!” to the most beautiful woman in the building that night: Tracy. Family and friends were left in tears laughing at this scene, and boy did it make for a great moment on camera! We at Elite Entertainment would like to thank Christian and the rest of the midshipmen for all of their services in an effort to defend this country, and wish Christian and Tracy Capron the very best in their travels together! Anchors away!
- Kim & Matthew at The Lobster Shanty
This past Friday, I had the pleasure of working with several members of the Elite Staff at the Lobster Shanty in Point Pleasant, to cap off Kim and Matt’s special day. After having their ceremony at St. Denis Church in Brielle, and pictures just up the road on the beach, Phil Walsh and I got the party rolling early and often. With Carrie Roberts and Lynn Monaco of Elite Digital Images taking pictures, there wasn’t a single moment missed for our Bride and Groom, with guests singing “Shout!” You could practically feel there was an overall upbeat mood in the air! As first course was served, the groom and several of his friends began to banter by the bar, when one of his friends approached Elite videographer and Emcee, Chris Monaco to request the song “How Bizarre” by OMC. Matt seemed to think the idea was absurd, but allowed the antics to proceed. Phil, Chris and I all continued to laugh over the “bizarre” request. As dinner was served, there was an overall buzz in our harbor backdropped reception hall, as though guests were anxious to get out of their seats. Here was Phil and my chance to play the groom’s friends request! We cued up the OMC hit, and we looked around for the groom and his friends. After a moment of searching, we spotted Matt leading a conga line of his friends out of the Elite Photo Booth, draped in leprechaun hats, pig tail wigs, and maracas singing “How bizarre, how bizarre, how bizarre!” It made for a great moment on film and from the camera, and one that I’m sure Matt, AND Kim will not soon forget. Though Kim chose not to partake in the shenanigans, you could truly see that she had a smile on her face that said “This is why i married this guy, because he can make me smile and laugh”. I wish Matt and Kim all the best in their future endeavors, and many years of happy marriage together!