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Dallas, Texas, United States

Friday, September 05, 2008

RundgrenRadio Rocks Vegas

RundgrenRadio.com turned one last weekend. It's hard to believe we're still going strong, but we had some 60 rockin' guests over the course of 12 months - not bad when we only provide a bag of Doritos and flat ginger ale for our guests.

In celebration of our success, we threw what will probably become an annual Birthday Bash for 100 lucky listeners in Vegas. VEGAS. You guys know I dig me some casino action - and mix that with great friends and CruiserMel is in bliss.

But it didn't stop there...mix in an all-star concert tribute to the Sgt Pepper album, a Tubes concert, and top that with the biggest cherry of 'em all - Todd - and you've got the makings of an audio orgasm.

Here's how it went down (I hope you have time):

Friday, Day One: Put my happy butt on a plane westward bound. A couple of cocktails later, I'm in Vegas, meeting up with a couple of Toddheads at baggage claim, riding the shuttle bus past all my fave haunts and checking in at the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street, where RundgrenRadio's home base would be for the next 72 hours. Before long, there I was in the middle of a pack of Toddheads, bubbling with excitement and buzzing with cocktails. (This would be the start of many, but of course.)

Before long, we were whorin' up and catching a chartered bus for a drive to the Texas Station hotel (which kinda felt like it was as far as Texas) for the Sgt Pepper show, "It Was 40 Years Ago Today" - starring our Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, Denny Laine (Moody Blues, Paul McCartney & Wings), Lou Gramm (Foreigner), Bo Bice (wtf?), Greg Hawkes (The Cars), Jesse Gress, Prairie Prince, and ohhh, I know I'm forgetting some, but you get the idea. I'm not what you'd call a big Beatles fan, but that music is kinda in everyone's hard wiring and it was a fun show. Todd showed alot of personality and silliness with his "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite," a high point for me - picture Todd with fake eyebrows and mustache a la Groucho Marx and a top hat. Funny.

When the show was over, some of us went to the meet & greet and were mingling with the entire band and crew when I spotted Denny Laine and thought he'd make an excellent guest on the radio show - so I pressed my boobs together a little and approached. Turns out I didn't even need to do that as he was one helluva charming British fellow who was flattered and humble to be asked and he accepted right away. While I was visiting with him, the weirdest thing happened. The room went silent as Bo Bice (Mr. American Idol) burst out of the dressing room area and began screaming at the top of his lungs that we had broken into his dressing room and stolen his "shit, you goddamned assholes" (among other questionable phrases for a role model in his first 7 minutes of fame to be spouting). His concert poster he'd had signed by everyone was missing. He made a grown woman cry. Most of us were Todd fans - why would we want his stupid poster? Geez. Perhaps you should look at your redneck fans, Bo. Oh yeah - there were only like 3 of those there, jerk. When he was done ranting, he turned to go back in his dressing room and the door had locked him out. Serves you right.

Needless to say, the mood was a bit weird for a bit after that. So - we all piled into our bus and headed to the Palms, to a restaurant called Simon for an after party to end all after parties, hosted by Todd's merch gal, Cathy. It was incredible. Super chic decor, super chic food and bevs, and of course - super chic guests - US. The place is so cool that their signature dessert is an enormous ball of cotton candy, for grownups. Yup - Todd dug it.
After a few hours and martinis later, we all sloshed back to our hotel and CruiserMel hit a blackjack table at 4:00 am. Martinis and fatigue do not make a good combo when approaching the tables in Vegas, so I lost some amount of money, of which I'm uncertain. Somehow I found my room I shared with Sheri and floated to sleep, only to awaken 4 hours later to start it all over again. It's Vegas, baby - ain't no sleepin' going on in this town!

Saturday, Day Two: RundgrenRadio's Doug and I headed to some guy's house to watch a rough cut of the HDDVD made at the RR sponsored Kasim Sulton show in Atlanta back in March. It sounded unbelievable and Kasim looks like he could jump off the screen and into your lap. A good thing, if you're a girl. Notsomuch if you're a guy.

Then it was back to the hotel to whore-up for another concert night...this time The Tubes were playing at the Santa Fe Station hotel (felt like a drive to Santa Fe to get there - geez, this town is big!). Todd's drummer, Prairie was and still is a member of the Tubes, Todd had produced a couple of Tubes records in the 80's and Todd's wife, Michele, had been a dancer with The Tubes at that same time, so we felt we had to check it out. It was worth the trip as the show was more fun than I could have imagined - the singer, Fee Waybill, is one zany dude - check out this costume he wore for "White Punks On Dope". It was fun to turn around and see Todd in the audience and Michele hopped on stage a couple of times to get her groove on. When they played "Talk To Ya Later" I was dancing so hard, I almost fell off my shoes. It appeared all was well. Everyone was high on the show they'd just seen and the band came out to sign autographs. Doug put me on a mission to see if we could get Fee on the radio show. Once again, I pressed my boobs together, batted my lashes and went in for the kill via flattery. (History lesson: Fee didn't particularly like it when Todd produced his band - okay, then why did Todd produce TWO records, huh?) I knew it might be a tough "get" but a few cocktails and I'm fearless. He was thrilled I liked the show and I even got a wink, so I moved in a little closer and told him all about RR as he listened intently. Then WABBO! He pulled even closer to me (now you're kinda making me uncomfortable, Fee) and said: "I have nothing positive to say about that man. He ruined my career. I don't want to hear about your little show. Not until there's a TubesRadio.com." Say WHAT? He said no? Aw come on, please? Nuffin. Oh well, he did let me get a photo with him. One I plan to draw devil horns and wicked eyebrows on when I can figure out photoshop. That makes for two assholes in one weekend. Divas.

After the show, a few of us went to this jammin' penthouse apartment where my friend Steve was staying and lemme tell ya - I can see why Britney likes Vegas so much. What a view! Whoever owned this place was one lucky high-roller. Phuck!
Two guys brought guitars and we had a wonderful singalong of Todd songs which eventually degraded into replacing the word "love" in songs to "Doug". Doug is the Drug. All You Need is Doug. Doug is the Answer. On and on until someone sang the J. Geils classic Doug Stinks, and pretty much the party petered out. Sleep log: 4 hours.

Sunday, Day Three: This is the big day. The ACTUAL birthday bash day. The day that Doug, Darnelle and Steve and I had worked so hard on was finally here. And I had the hangover from hell. And nerves on top of that. Bad combo.
I hit the pool area where we hung out with some Toddheads, Prairie, ML, Jesse, and oh geez, I'm supposed to remember who all was there? I was hungover, remember? I sweated out my alcohol stash until I could take no more and then split away from the fray over to Binion's where I kicked serious tail at blackjack and made a mental note to gamble fairly sober from now on.

Soon it was time to get ready and go over to our venue and start the party. OMG, we done good on this one. The place was fabu! We had beautiful food brought in (I heard it tasted good), the drinks were flowing, we had 2 awesome cakes from the bakery of Cher and Celine Dion, we were amongst about 100 great friends, and the place was electric with excitement - both in front of house and backstage. The band was pumped, which was flattering. We heard Todd say backstage: wow, this is a REAL gig. Duh. We don't half-ass this shit. It's our birthday!
Uh-oh, look who got their lip on....
OMG, he came out into the audience to play in one song...seriously, at one point I thought he was going to poke my eye out with the head of his guitar. Talk about up close and personal!
Quite possibly my favorite picture I've ever taken of Mr. Rundgren. Sheer luck that I caught that photo.
That's supposed to be one of Todd's guitar picks. Clever, huh?
Very cool - the bakery put the promo poster for Todd's new album "Arena" on the cake (coming out September 30, btw - check out Amazon for pre-sale - JUST DO IT! NOW!).

Todd kinda likes cake apparently. And uses it for a facial moisturizer. Hey, if I can rock as hard as he does when I turn 60, I'll start spreading icing on my face!

Now, I've seen a Todd show or fifty over the years, but this one felt special. I parked my hiney on the first row (it's GOOD to be queen - and to have a reserved table) and was so bowled over that I stopped taking photos. I wasn't going to see this thing come to fruition through the lens of a camera. Not this time. So, I've stolen a few pics from friends who were there. Thanks, btw.

Jesse, Prairie, Todd, and Rachel had saved their best performance for us. Many thanks, guys!

On, and before I forget, Doug & I were given Olympic medals for our contributions to RundgrenRadio. Gold. Well - gold colored. It was cute and was very thoughtful. I'll cherish it forever. Right next to my "silver" medal for swimming at the country club 4th of July event when I was 6.

And just as quick as it came, it was over. I was on cloud #9 or maybe even #10. So was the photographer of this next picture.
...until that alarm clock went off after only 4 hours of sleep. And I had no voice. And I had to board a plane back to reality.

Cheers, RundgrenRadio! Same time, next year? (I think I've pimped RR enough in this entry - now it's your turn - go click on it and listen to some good stuff. Ya hear?)


tdawg said...

Looks like a great time was had by all - save for Bo B. - guess that kinda deflates my image of him :( or maybe he was just having a bad day? Egads. Hope by now that your voice has returned CruiserMel! Now go get some sleep, by the way! Wait - there's time for that when we're, well you know what I mean...

D-HOR said...

you crack me up always losing your voice :P

OMG you can so out party me too, gawd cruiser you are a QUEEN !!

CruiserMel said...

Yeah, about the voice thing... I found out it's called Vegas Voice. It's caused by the dry dry dry air.... combine that will a multitude of other sins and well, CruiserMel becomes the embodiment of "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"...except in blog form.

Lindy said...

Cruiser you have to go to a party or something this weekend so we can hear from you ! :P

Dezdmona said...

You've come a long way baby...er "your majesty" ;)

Blogget Jones said...

I'm jealous! You had a much better trip to Vegas than I did! LOL