The sun kissed my face as dawn broke in my Baltimore hotel room. I'd arrived not even twelve hours earlier.
Game face on.
To many of you, 6:15am is probably a breeze. But the blare of my alarm usually signals bewilderment, and an inexplicable agony not shaken until I'm fully awake. This process seemingly takes years.
Baltimore, in case you hadn't guessed, is where our story begins. The 40th Anniversary Tour featuring Motopony was conceived long before this early start, but nevermind that. June 29th was when we got to see if our plan worked.
Our cast of characters met for the first time at BWI Airport. The complete band of misfits consisted of Southwest Airlines, our ad agency GSD&M, the band Motopony, their label rep, and our journalist buddy who came along to tell our story.
Motopony circumvented Southwest's system to play two inflight shows and four in our airports. This journey took us from Baltimore through St. Louis, onto Dallas, with a short stop in San Antonio, before ending in Los Angeles.
24 hours. Two coasts. One band.
I could write a short novel on the day's events and its intricacies. Those clamoring for a full synopsis can contact me directly, as I'll gladly share.
The music was phenomenal. I can't say enough about the members of Motopony, for pressing on from 6:00am Eastern Time to 9:00pm Pacific, never faltering and never missing a beat. Always upbeat, in fact.
And while I would encourage you to check out the videos at the bottom of this post, and see Motopony whenever they stop through, I have a completely different story to share.
The band was preparing to perform on the flight to LA, and we were very unsure of the vibe. Obviously, Customer Service is paramount, and we were in the midst of a very quiet cabin. Faces forward, some eyes closed.
Drink and snack service ended, and I got up to announce the band. People constantly ask about our inflight entertainment, I said on the intercom, and today we decided to do something different.
Drooping heads perked up, curiosity sparked. The band unloaded its things (acoustic), and began to play.
I have never seen a cabin transform so fast. Children stopped crying, passengers clapped along, people laughed or stared in awe of what was happening.
I began writing this post shortly after the band concluded that inflight concert. I took a look around, saw so many smiling faces, strangers bending across aisles to share conversation.
I closed my eyes to take it all in, and a soft chorus caught my ear.
"B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his name-o." Our cast of characters had teamed with Customers to sing to a little 3-year-old girl, who happily clapped along.
I was lucky enough to snap a photo.
By the end of the trip, I realized the power of this surprise performance: we had created a community.
This event became so much more than an airline gimmick. The music brought us together. And if even a single person left thinking, "Wow, that was something I'll never forget," then we were successful.