So how was the closing party? My wife and I skipped it. Wasn't worth $125 and I've been to the SD before. Nothing special there unless there is a football game going on.
I was stunned when I walked in at 7:30 and saw the vast crowd there. Huge turnout! The first "musical" I saw looked guy a rapper in a chicken suit, and there were too many drums, but the tuneage was overall manageable. The food was enjoyable, very American style cuisine, with enough locations that there weren't long lines for anything. Some football guy was throwing passes; our geekly colleagues leaped for these with varying degrees of success. There were numerous more air-conditioned alcoves with drinks, and their own small attractions; I came across a handwriting analyst in one.
I did not see stay late for the Tina Turner apparition but had a great time. Unlike other conference parties where people were scattered all over (like Universal) here everyone was in one place, so there was a cozier feeling to it. Overall, very easygoing, satisfying, and enjoyable.
The turnout didn't surprise me given it was a free event with a captive audience. Having attended numerous TechEd's I would put this party toward the lower end of the quality scale (LA being the worst). Food and drink were fine, it's hard to screw that up. As far as activity the bands were decent but just local bands (and apparently a fake Tina Turner which I fortunately missed), a big name artist performing a full set would've made it worthwhile given there was really little else that you would've wanted to pay $125 for. In the past they're hosted Train, Jessica Simpson, Blondie, et al. The activities on the fake astroturf "football field" were from the local carnival. Good move on not getting a guest pass.
For free? I don't regret wasting the hour or two I was there. For $125? I would've been disappointed given the high quality restaurant experiences that could be had around town with a spouse.
cencorpian is dead on.
LA was indeed absolutely terrible. This one was significantly better than that, but not exactly great. For free, it was a decently fun way to kick off the night (beer was abundant, food was one notch above atrocious, and entertainment was entertaining enough if you were partaking in the beer).
If you missed it, you should have no regrets at all.
Thanks guys. Sounds like I made the right choice. If I had been solo this year I'm sure I would have gone and had an ok time, but no regrets.
My wife and I had dinner and went on a "Ghost Tour" of the FQ for about $80.
... Some football guy was throwing passes; our geekly colleagues leaped for these with varying degrees of success.
It was Drew Brees If you're an American football fan, he's a pretty big deal (record holder for most pass yards in a season, Super Bowl MVP) and he's kind of a hero in the New Orleans community for his philanthropic work.
@MarkDeFalco Many thanks, Mark. I'd never heard of him before that evening! I will say that each time he seemed to just flick his wrist and the ball shot off like a cruise missile.
Like Vecna, I had never heard of him either but I thought it was really cool of him to spend his evening there talking to people and throwing passes. He seemed to be enjoying his time as opposed to just doing his 'duty'. Kudos to Drew!
Drew Brees is a great football player even though he called the surface a Samsung. Food and drinks were great and networking was awesome local musicians and the fake Tina Turner were okay. It was entertaining and there was quite a large crowd watching the NBA game on tvs inside the crown royal clubhouse as well as karaoke.
The first musical act was actually Lena Prima, daughter of the late Louis Prima (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Prima) performing covers of many of his better known songs. We're a big fan of his music in our house (along with similar artists of the era like Dean Martin, etc), so I was really excited to hear some of his songs. He's a New Orleans legend.
Everyone keeps saying it was a fake Tina Turner, but I've yet to hear why they think it wasn't really her. She's not what she once was, but at 73 she's still got some fuel in the tank.
Because the real Tina was in Europe the same day and probably didn't fly back to do a 10 minute set for Microsoft. Also they would've promoted it in advance, as they have for every other big name group. She was a tribute act.
I wasn't that impressed with the party. I left after being there for about an hour... although, I was pretty tired by that part in the week. I tried to get as much out of TechEd as possible, and was always the first one on the shuttle to get to the conference center, and one of the last ones to leave. I just enjoyed all the bennefits of getting other people's opinions on technology, thoughts on the future (with BYOD and Cloud Techs), and tried to soak up every minute. It was my first TechEd, and maybe my last since our company is letting one member of the team go... and there are 5 of us. It was amazing, but I couldn't burn a full week of vacation time plus pay for it on my own. (I figure it was around $3,000 after flight, hotel, and ticket) So being things as they were, I tried to soak up and enjoy every bit of the week that I could. When it came to the "after party"... after hearing how great it was in Florida last year, my expectations were high and I was completely let down. I guess if you were a fan of the Saints, Drew being there throwing footballs would be cool, but I'm not a fan of the Saints. I left early and am glad I did. Due to the tropical storm that rolled in, my flights were delayed and I had a LONG day of travel. I'm glad I was well rested for it. So, if you didn't go to the after party, I would say you didn't miss all that much.
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