by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, April 15, 2010

What do the following have in common?

  1. Jay Leno
  2. Sinbad
  3. Wayne Brady
  4. A trip to Epcot
  5. The Doobie Brothers
  6. Hall & Oates
  7. Gladys Knight
  8. Michael McDonald
  9. Lionel Richie
  10. Sheryl Crow
A bad road trip? A radio station gone awry? Several posts from "Stuff White People Like?" No...its been the Tuesday night entertainment at the SHRM Annual Conference for the last 10 years.

As someone who has served on our state HR conference planning committee for 4 years (including one stint as Conference Co-Chair), I know the difficulty of finding suitable entertainment. You want to find someone who will serve as an attraction to individuals thinking of attending your conference so it might serve as the tipping point in making the commitment. At the same time, you do not want to alienate any segment of your audience (comedians are a particularly tough call since humor is so subjective. In my co-chair role, we went with the BoDeans).

So, who does SHRM go with in 2010? Hall & Oates! Really? Hall & Oates? Again?!!?!?

Are they inoffensive? Yes. Have they had a number of hit songs? I suppose. Were they the highest rated Tuesday night entertainment show in SHRM history? According to China Miner Gorman, Chief Global Member Engagement Officer at SHRM, yes. Would it be painful to see them once? Probably not. But, to bring them back again after having played so recently...too much to ask. Its not that I don't want to see Hall & Oates....its that I do not want to see Hall & Oates AGAIN.

Are you telling me that are not other musical groups out there who might also be highly rated that could have been chosen? One could go to iTunes and find thousands upon thousands of artists, and SHRM went with one that has already played in the past 6 years. Even if we eliminate 98% of those artists due to fit (somehow I don't see the SHRM demographic singing "Ace of Spades" along with Lemmy of Motorhead), there aren't other groups who haven't played the SHRM circuit that would be enjoyable to see?

If we are going with the 70s/cheesy 80s vibe, why not....
  1. Pet Shop Boys. Hall & Oates instead of the Pet Shop Boys? What Have I Done to Deserve This? Given they were touring the U.S. this spring, It's a Sin they weren't chosen.
  2. Morrissey. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now that the Smiths frontman wasn't chosen
  3. Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time she has been shown to be a classic\
  4. ZZ Top - there is a group with Legs.
  5. Cheap Trick - I Surrender. I want SHRM to want them.
  6. Duran Duran - Is There Something I Should Know about why they weren't picked?
  7. Styx - Who wouldn't want to see Lon O'Neill sing along to Mr. Roboto.
If you had the choice, who would you have preferred to see as the Tuesday night entertainment at the SHRM Annual Conference?


Honestly, I don't have a problem with Hall & Oates returning. I went to that concert 5 years ago and it was fine. I also think Hall and Oates owed it to SHRM since a couple days later after the concert, it was discovered that Daryl Hall had lyme disease, so there's likely sentiment towards picking them.

As for what current acts are out there: Cheap Trick can play anywhere and their most recent album was pretty good. Foo Fighters might be a good one as well. To me, its on location. San Diego is pretty hard to find musicians except for Blink 182, but that band is WAY gone. Next year in Las Vegas, anyone is fair game since its Vegas. The year after that in Atlanta, I would have Collective Soul since they are from the Atlanta area.

The problem is there's no "fresh" act out there that can fit in the SHRM mold. Just be thankful that its Hall and Oates and not Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber because when I'm 40, those are going to be the acts for SHRM.

by Tracy Tran on April 15, 2010 at 8:38 AM. #

I think they should get Run DMC now that would be a classic but interesting mix!

by Benjamin McCall on April 15, 2010 at 3:05 PM. #

@tracy - I'm thinking an all "Beck" trio - Beck, Jeff Beck, and Dave Brubeck. Its multigenerational.

@ben - Whose house? Run's House.

by Matthew Stollak on April 15, 2010 at 3:07 PM. #

I thought about this thoroughly, made a list, thought who would be the same price as H&O and then made a short list:

4) The B-52's
3) Tears For Fears
2) Eurythmics
and the winner is...
1) Stevie Nicks

by Unknown on April 15, 2010 at 7:21 PM. #

Dude. If we're being honest.

1. Pet Shop Boys are too gay for SHRM, which is saying something.

2. Morrissey might not show up.

3. Cyndi Lauper is now affiliated with Lady Gaga. Too dangerous.

4. ZZ Top -- one dude might be dead, right? Or was that a Twitter rumor?

5. Cheap Trick? I want you to want me? Okay, I like that one. Are they available? I heard them at Navy Pier, a few years ago.

6. Duran Duran is out. Simon LeBon is having vocal probs per Sirius/XM FirstWave Channel 44 on the XM dial.

7. Styx is partnering with Foreigner, this summer, and they're playing the MGM Mirage. They might have a conflict.

by Unknown on April 15, 2010 at 9:01 PM. #

Kenruet wants to give suggestions.

- Supertramp
- The Who
- Blue Oyster Cult
- Stray Cats (he's being a dick on this one)
- Ian Anderson solo with the pan flute (quote: it's not a panflute, laur. shut up.)
- rush

How am I married to this guy??

by Unknown on April 15, 2010 at 9:26 PM. #

@Paul - all good choices....saw Annie Lennox open for Sting, and she put on a good SHRM-friendly show.

@Laurie - Ian Anderson on the flute....heck I'd take Ron Burgundy on the "yazz" flute (he is a regular at Tino's in San Diego, so he might be available). I'd even settle for, at this point, Zamfir and his pan flute over H&O.

by Matthew Stollak on April 16, 2010 at 6:49 AM. #

Dr. Stollak-
I very recently was hipped to the PunkRock HR blog, and was SO surprised when I was scrolling through to see your name and pic and a link to your blog!!
I should say that you were my management/HR professor at Miss. State 10 years ago (yikes!) (and I'm sure you don't remember me, but you were great, so you stick out for me).
I am an HR Partner at The University of Alabama now and I love it somewhat more than it makes me want to pull my hair out!! I am glad to find you on the internet!!
Audrey Reeves O'Neal

by theandyoneals on April 30, 2010 at 4:16 PM. #

I want Robin Williams!

by Anonymous on June 23, 2010 at 7:15 PM. #

I want Robin Williams!

by Anonymous on June 23, 2010 at 7:16 PM. #

I guess I want to know what would be so wrong with having entertainment that would offend some people. Things which are polarizing are more meaningful and enjoyable to many even if they put off some. And realistically, wouldn't it be fun to see some of the "I tut tut everything done by others" HR people get offended. That would be entertainment in and of itself. I mean, to upset those "I take the human out of human resources" people, well, that would allow SHRM to save on the cost of a warm-up band, wouldn't it?

by Steven Rothberg on July 2, 2010 at 4:57 PM. #

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