On Saturday night I had a gig at one of my favorite venues in New York City, the Empire Hotel Rooftop. My gig was from 9-11pm and my set was followed by DJ RYO (who is someone I know and respect a lot). As the opening DJ, I have the responsibility of creating a good vibe but at the same time it is important to NOT 'upstage' the DJ that comes on afterwards. It is really rude and really poor DJ etiquette to 'rock' all of the current hits and club bangers before another DJ gets on during prime time club hours. On a Saturday night, at a "mainstream" venue, anything top 40 is just an easy 'cop out'. Anyone can play the hits back to back and get all the love and attention for it but most DJs actually consider it to be very tacky.
People seem to have this idea that being great is the same as being 'the best'. But greatness is also really about checking our egos at the door and doing what is best for the moment. People who are truly successful have the ability to see beyond themselves, the ability to see the entire picture. In my opinion, the opening set (when done right) is actually a lot more challenging than the headlining set. The ability to engage the crowd with out monopolizing the energy in the room requires a great deal of skill and grace. Every DJ has and will open for another DJ but only the best will actually take the time to not get caught up on who IS the best.