Rainy Nights In Oakland


This gig was a bit intimidating, as I would be playing with a couple legendary DJs from the Bay, Platurn and Malachi, plus the crowd itself was known to be fairly discerning with their music tastes. I had done the Motown on Monday in San Francisco before, and I think I did ok, but not great. So I was determined to really bring it with this one.

I knew I wanted classic Stevie in there, and some familiar party joints to keep the crowd interested, plus a few "oh shit" records to make people stop and take note. I wanted to incorporate some New Jack Swing, too, and I knew exactly what song I wanted to end with. I was going to take them on a journey, lift them up, and then let em down easy at the end with a feel-good joint people probably hadn't heard in a while, but would definitely feel in their souls.

Not every song was a winner. I over-reached, tried some different things. Pablo Cruise was a flop, but it's got such a funky groove I thought it might be a smooth transition from Hall & Oates to Michael Jackson. The crowd didn't care, but I also didn't lose them. When I hit them with the Kashif joint, I think people got the message this wasn't gonna be an ordinary paint-by-the-numbers boogie set. I had them.

So the sets were split up amongst Platurn and I, so after I hit the Four Tops, he took over and had a killer set. Lots of exclusive edits and remixes. He definitely knows his crowd. I took back over and reset my tempo with some Shalamar, giving the crowd a night to remember. Up next was Roses Are Red by the Mac Band, which really set the crowd off. That's such a great forgotten gem. I wanted to drift into some late 80s R&B here, a touch of go-go, and a few personal faves. Nights Like This had the crowd singing along like I was a member of the Five Heartbeats. I love that song so much, and it fit. It was raining.

I knew on my third set I wanted to finish strong, and take it uptempo, and then back to a smoothed-out finish. Fall In Love With Me by EWF really had them in my pocket, and looking at the clock it was time to start mellowing out. I had a few shockers left to hit them with, most notable I Wanna Be Rich by Calloway, which elicited a few OMGs from the crowd. Platurn said no one had played that there before. I think that's a good thing, it's a fun record.

Finally, it was time to go all the way home, and I really wanted to hit the Glen Medeiros / Bobby Brown joint (sup 360) and then finish with what I felt would be the perfect capper to send people home happy and full of love: Nightshift by The Commodores... "Marvin, he was a friend of mine..."

That song makes me happy and sad at the same time, but most important, it makes your FEEL. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the set as much as I did.


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