My First Stadium Performance (or: “That THAT, Black Eyed Peas!”)

I’ve just come back from Seattle where I’ve been attending Microsoft’s 2011 Global MVP Summit, the annual gathering of Most Valuable Professionals, who are Microsoft’s most keen customers: they not only use our stuff, they help other people use it, they share their knowledge with others and they build communities. They’re like a volunteer evangelist army!

Part of the purpose of the Summit is to reward the MVPs for their work and fanhood by showing them a good time. There are parties galore, with the biggest one saved for last. The big end-of-Summit party was held at Seattle’s Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. There was food aplenty, booze aplenty-er, and a chance to go on the field and have some fun.

I couldn’t resist stepping up to the plate and trying my turn at bat. I didn’t have a bat handy, but I made do:

joey at bat

…after which I ran the bases while playing the accordion. I’ve always wanted to do that.

We then decided to watch the band. I’ve seen a gazillion classic rock cover bands and wasn’t expecting to be impressed, but I was wrong. The Beatniks, who’d been giving a stage in the middle of the field, played a very tight, rocked-out set of some of the best covers of tunes from the ‘60s and ‘70s I’ve ever heard.


While they were between sets, we checked with the band to see if I could join them for a number. The band were intrigued and willing, but the stage manager said “no”.

When the Beatniks came back on stage, they played a half-dozen numbers and then then Bobby, vocalist and rhythm guitarist, said “Hey, there’s a guy who wanted to do some Steppenwolf on accordion, and we want him up here! Come on up, Accordion Man!”

Damir captured the end result on his camera, and you can see the video at the top of this article. They later invited me up to help out with Free Bird by ‘Skynyrd. Who doesn’t yell “Free Bird!” when a band asks for requests?

Finally, when it came time to play an encore number, Bobby yelled out: “Accordion Man! Do you know E flat?”

“It’s the one between D and E!” I replied.

“Well, you just passed the test! Come on up!”

And thus I joined the band for one more number, Shout by the Isley Brothers. It’s a two-chorder, and since my academic career resembles “Bluto’s”, it’s only natural that I know every song on the Animal House soundtrack.

4 replies on “My First Stadium Performance (or: “That THAT, Black Eyed Peas!”)”

[…] I visited a great-aunt, my late grandmother’s sister, whom I hadn’t seen in years. I made friends with the sweetest, most gentle dog with abandonment issues. My co-worker Paul and I gave one kick-ass presentation; we still get complimented on it. I jammed live on stage with the Bootie DJ crew at Chop Suey, playing accordion over a mash-up that used The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams as the base track. The next week, I played with the band in the middle of Safeco Field. […]

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