Last Wednesday, after dinner and a few drinks, my friends and I hit Waid's Haitian in the Central District for karaoke. Upon our arrival at 10:15, I felt very relieved to have them along because if I'd gone alone, I would have immediately turned tail back to my car and gone home. The place was beyond dead. There were four people scattered throughout this big wide open space: two customers, the bartender and the DJ.
The song blasting over their empty dance floor as we entered was "I Don't Care Anymore" by Phil Collins. The sound was great, but aside from a couple microphones on the stage, nothing was set up to indicate karaoke was an option that night. There were no song books and no lyrics monitor. I still felt like bailing at that point, but somehow my group got drunk without me realizing it and they were happy to stick around.
We ordered a round of very stiff drinks and took a table at this half-moon-shaped booth under their DJ station. This gal named Susan in her late 20s sitting on the edge of the stage with the microphone in her hand looked like she was ready to sing. My buddy Riggins strutted over to her, clapped his hands together and yelled, "Yo slick, blow!" Then he draped himself across this couch behind her.
She requested the DJ play "Missing You" by Diana Ross, and he obliged. When the song was done, she had him play it two more times. She tried to sing along but had no idea how the verses went. My girlfriend Kristin and Riggins' wife Kristia joined her for the third performance. By the end she went into a freestyle kind of thing and broke into the lyrics, "Fuck you! Fuck him! You can kiss my motherfuckin' ass!" It was bizarre, to say the least.
I turned to the DJ and asked if this was their karaoke night. He replied, "If you want it to be." Then I asked him where the books were, and he said the karaoke host stopped showing up a couple weeks back and there were none. After an interlude of Nicki Manaj's "Beez in the Trap," he dimmed the overhead lights, turned a spotlight on the stage, and switched on the big projection screen on the back wall.
He was able to pull up all of our selections from You Tube. Susan requested the Marvin Gaye tribute "Night Shift" by the Commodores, and she and the other patron opened the first rotation. Kristia followed with "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher. I decided to go with a number that fit with the Caribbean setting, "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie. One great thing about this place being so dead was my girlfriend, who typically doesn't sing, felt comfortable enough to take the stage. She sang "Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows, and delivered a performance completely in key and right on time.
We ended up singing until after midnight. Waid's is a great place to take over if you are with a big group. Just be ready with your own list of songs.
Waid's Haitian, 1212 East Jefferson St., 328-6493, CENTRAL DISTRICT