This year was a milestone birthday for GG, and for the past several years I’d been wanting to throw him a big surprise party. It was a little daunting though because he has a lot of different groups of friends (current coworkers, past coworkers, people he went to school with, musicians, comedians, family and childhood friends, etc.), and I was a little overwhelmed trying to figure out how to invite all of them. Finally I decided, for this big birthday, I was going to do it. I got in touch with a “representative” from each group, and asked them to help with invites.
I also wanted the party to be mostly GG and his friends on stage, playing music or telling jokes or whatever, since that’s where he’d be happiest – so then I had to find somewhere with a stage! That was tricky, as these places were pretty expensive to reserve… Then one of my invitation contacts recommended this local music venue where his wife had held a movie screening and her bridal shower before. So I reached out to this place and they were amazing! The venue was very cool, we didn’t really have to decorate; they’re a local music place, so they already had a stage, sound system with sound guys, and even a bunch of instruments (like a drum set and stuff); and they have a kitchen so were able to prepare all the food, we just had to bring our own alcohol! Also, the price was extremely reasonable, and the owner was excited because he’d never done an event like this before.
Leading up to his birthday, GG kept saying he didn’t want to make a big deal about it, etc. etc. Little did he know we had guests coming from all over the east coast to celebrate him! As a ruse, one of his old bandmates invited him to play this private gig the night of his b-day, which was a Friday. I told him to go ahead, because we could just celebrate the next day, it was no big deal, right? This got him to the venue, with his guitar and equipment (because I had no idea what he’d want to pack if I had to sneak and do it for him)!
So the night of the party, I got dressed (GG even caught me on my way out of the house – I don’t think he was suspicious!), picked up the awesome cupcakes I’d ordered, and headed to the venue to set up a little. The owner had put together a great menu of all different types of quesadillas (one of GG’s favorites, and a specialty of this place!) and finger foods. My BIL, who was such a huge help getting things organized, was able to bring a ton of liquor from his job, and other friends brought drinks as well. People started arriving and I was shocked to see how many people there were, and how far some had traveled (like, from Virginia and Connecticut)!
Finally it was time for GG to arrive, so everyone got situated in the main room and turned off the lights. GG and his friend came in with their instruments and stuff, and he started looking around. He looked upstairs where the balcony seating was and saw a friend from work, which I guess is when he started getting suspicious. Then he walked into the main room and we all yelled surprise and his reaction was perfect! He was so shocked to see all the people who were there for him!
So then everyone put on an amazing show – MCed by my super helpful BIL. We started out with a roast/comedy performance by anyone who wanted to participate, including some surprise performers! GG sat on stage and by this point he was pretty drunk. Then there was a magic performance by our magician friend, which transitioned us into the music portion of the evening. Members of past and present bands, as well as other musicians and friends, got up and performed with GG, and it looked like everyone had a blast! When there wasn’t music playing (which, there pretty much was for the rest of the night), the sound guys played my “Party Like It’s 1976” playlist of songs I’d downloaded, which all were either released or at the top of the charts that year.
We had such an amazing night and such great memories. I am so thankful for everyone who helped me pull this off and make the dream a reality – everyone who helped invite, helped me with the venue, everyone who performed, and especially our friend who got him to the party without any suspicion ;)