The Red Voodoo Tour
OK, here we go, finally, with my story from Saturday night's Sammy show at the New World Music Theater in Tinley Park, IL! I think I'll tell this one just as a narrative and not write one of my typical, newspaper style reviews...
Fast forward to about 4:45, me and my two buddies, Adam and Matt, finally arrive at Chris & Bud Stonebraker's place to join the BBQ already in progress. Great food, great fun. Everyone had a blast and I'd again like to thank Chris & Bud for their hospitality and letting us all hang at your place!
Shortly after 6:00, we leave the Stonebraker's and head towards the World. We arrive around 6:15 and go in the little trafficked back entrance, thanks to Chris' awesome directions to avoid traffic! By 6:20, we're at Will Call, and that's when the real fun starts! ;-) I get to the window, and give the woman my Driver's License and the letter that Paula had faxed me that would get me my tickets and directions on what to do. The woman says that my name is not on the list. She continues to ask me who it is that I got the passes from, over and over again I have to tell her that Sammy's management arranged the passes and they were set up by his Webmaster, Paula Young. "Paula who? She's Sammy Hagar's what?" they kept asking. Other workers came up and they were all talking on their walkie-talkies, asking questions. After a few minutes, they told me to step aside and wait right there. Finally, after about 20 minutes the woman comes back with a small envelope, marked "Alex Kleinwachter, 2 tix & Instructions". I tore open the envelope immediately, and inside were two tickets to the show...Sec. 203, Row EEE, and a piece of paper. I saw the horrible seats and figured that the purpose of those was just to get us in the door. I then looked at the paper..."Sammy Hagar Tour 1999 Stage Winner Instructions" it read across the top. I looked down to the time....we were supposed to report to the north side stage door by 6:30 "BE ON TIME!" I asked Adam what time it was, he looked at his watch....6:45. SHIT! Got inside, sneaking 2 cameras past security, and located someone to ask where the North Stage Door was. Of course, it ended up being completely on the other side of the arena, we ran over there as fast as we could, and when we got there, Sammy's head of security was finsihing up his lecture to all the winners. A woman stopped us, and I showed her my letter. "You were supposed to be here at 6:30." she said "We might not be able to get you on." Of course, I got mad and said "Well, we WERE here at 6:30, but I was getting hassled about my tickets at Will Call for like 20 minutes!" She said "Stay here. Hang tight." When Sammy's security guy finished briefing everyone, the girl went up to him. I started to follow, but she said "Just stay there." I was pretty nervous at this point...fearing thw worst. I kept thinking, jeez, now we're not gonna get on stage, and I sold my 4th row tickets, so we're gonna get stuck in row EEE! I saw the girl whispering to Sammy's security guy. He looks up at me and says, "Oh! You're the internet guy! Get over here, Sammy wants you up there!" I let out a huge sigh of relief and we both went over. He gave Adam and I each a neon orange wristband that said "CABO WABO, All Access". Then he goes, "OK guys, just sign these and we'll be all set!" He put a piece of paper with a lengthy paragraph on it in front of each of us, I skimmed it, just saw a few words..."MCA, Sammy Hagar, blah blah,blah.." Then I got to the bottom. "By signing this I verify that I am at least 21 years of age...." Uh oh. I just signed it and hoped they wouldn't check my ID. They didn't! We had to wait around for awhile, and after abut 10 minutes, they led us backstage. They took us down a corridor and I saw a sign on the wall: "Sammy Hagar Dressing Room" with an arrow pointing down the hall. They took us out in back of the arena in the driveway area where all the buses were. We waited there for a minute, and then they led us onto the stage. We went up on the risers, and I staked out a spot on Vic's side, remembering that that seemed to be the side that Sammy went to more in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
It got quite hot waiting up there, as the smoke machines were already turned on, and the huge curtain over the stage didn't let any wind through. I could look to my right and see all of Vic and Sammy's guitars lines up. We were right behind three Red Voodoo half-stacks, all with heads. They were labeled on the back, from right to left, "Vic #1", "Vic #2", and, closest to David's drum kit "Sammy, Stage Right". On the other side, there was another Red Voodoo, obviously Sammy's stage left, as well as 2 of Mona's cabnaets. Just back and to the right of us backstage was the bar, set up with numerous bottles of Cabo Wabo, other alcohols, and a bunch of large 64 oz. bottles of Gatorade. We took it all in for awhile, as the show started late, but finally the lights went down and it was time. We saw Sammy and the Waboritas walk past us all on the left side, and then we could see their shadows on the other side of the curtain and hear Sammy talking to the crowd. We heard Vic start into "Cabo Wabo" and I really started getting excited. Finally, the curtain dropped and they kicked into "The Revival". Sammy was going nuts, Vic came back and smiled at all of us. Sammy was jumping all over the place, and the crowd was loving it from what I could see.
The show just heated up more from song to song..."Three Lock Box", "One Way To Rock", "I'll Fall In Love Again". "Top Of The World" was definitely a highlight. In addition to beng one of my all time favorites, Sammy came up with us on the risers and I got in, along with Adam and a few others, on singing a few choruses. "Dreams" was up next, with Sammy saying that they hadn't played it yet on the tour, but wanted to do it tonight. The set was awesome. I could see clearly the setlist taped right next to David, but they deviated from that quite a bit. Gone from Wednesday night were "Sympathy For The Human", "Rock Candy", and "Eagles Fly", and new to the set were "Dreams", "Bad Motor Scooter", and "Heavy Metal". I literally couldn't stop jumping around and basically just freaking out the entire time. I sang along with every single song and was having the time of my life.
Throughout the show, the waitresses from backstage kept bringing us all cups of Gatorade over ice, and what I believe may have been a little spike of Cabo Wabo, cuz I've drank a lot of Gatorade in my day, and this definitely did not taste like straight Gatorade! During "Mas Tequila", Sammy made the rounds to us again. During the "Hey! Hey!" breakdown part of the song, he uncorked a fresh bottle of Cabo Wabo and started his way around, pouring a bit into all of our cups! He started on Mona's side, so the only fear I had was that the bottle would run out before I got any! Luckily, it didn't, and I got a couple shots worth in my cup...MMMMM good!
The climax of the night (for me anyway) came during "Why Can't This Be Love". During the first chorus of the song, Sammy made his way over to our side of the stage and began to come up the riser. As soon as I saw him coming our way, of course I started freaking out! I wasn't sure if he was going to make it up as far as I was, so I ran down a step or two and got right in his face! He was standing right in front of me, and there I am, practically having a fit, screaming "YEEEAHHH! SAAAAAAMMMY!!!" I probably scared the hell out of him! LOL! He was just about to begin singing the 2nd verse himself, but when he saw me going so nuts, he just started laughing hysterically! He was laughing and had this huge smile on his face. He shook his head and shoved the mic right in my face! Adam was right there with me, but I think I was hogging the mic though! Sammy had started it off with "I tell myself..." but that's when he turned it over to me! So there I was, in all my tone deaf glory, singing my little heart out...."....hey only fools rush in, and only time will tell if we stand the test of time!! Hey all I know! You got to run to win! And I'll be damned if I get hung up on the line!!" Sammy laughed again, gave me a big high five, and went back down to the front of the stage.
Another big highlight for me was just before "Right Now", when Sammy was telling the story of how he and Eddie wrote the song. Before he started, he was talking about the mailing list, and how he had been corrected that people didn't post messages to the Redrocker site, as he has said previously, but that they posted to the "SH Mailing List". Then he started talking about how he had been screwing up at all the shows and telling everyone that he and Eddie had written "Right Now" in 1993, and said that a guy on the mailing list (ME!) had corrected him and reminded him that "Right Now" was written, in fact, in 1991, not 1993. :-)
The rest of the show just flew by. 2 hours went by like 2 minutes. During "Marching To Mars" Sammy brought us all down off the risers to do the "marching" across the stage and then back up into our spots. He closed the show with "Returning Of The Wish", which was absolutely amazing. This is hands down one of the best songs that Sam has ever written and it sounds phenomenal live.
When the show ended, Sammy was still talking to the crowd. Earlier, he had taken a number of the banners that had been tossed onstage during the show and has us hang them over the railings that we were standing behind. The AWESOME "Face Down In Chicago" banner that Chris did such an amazing job painting and that we all had signed was hanging right in the middle, front and center! Sammy was still talking to the crowd after "ROTW" and the security guys and waitresses began to try and herd us off the stage. A few people left but most of us managed to stay up there until Sammy left the stage. Adam and I started to leave when they began to tell us to, but then we finagled our way back to the middle of the riser. Adam had the fantastic presence of mind to oush his way through the people to where Chris' banner was hanging and told the people in front of it "Excuse me, we came in with this banner, and we'd kind of like to leave with it." LOL! So we got the banner back! Adam handed it to me, and I figured, "What the hell?"...Sammy was still talking, so I unfurled the banner again, got right in the middle and top of the riser, and unfurled it again! I held it out and jumped up and down with it for a minute as Sammy finished up. Finally, Sammy went offstage and so did the rest of us. I wrapped the banner around me like a big blanket and walked off. As we were leaving, I did see Vic backstage. I walked over to him, and said "Hey Vic, great show man! You shred!" He had a guitar in one hand and a bunch of stuff in the other, but he managed to wiggle one hand free and shake my hand...I felt bad for doing that to him. He said "Thanks a lot man, you guys were awesome up there." I patted him on the back and then walked off. Once we stopped to get t-shirts and a program, we made it out of the parking lot and drove over to the Wingate Hotel where Mike and Kerry were staying. We waited for a few minutes, and then Chris & Bud, NEWBS & Brandi, and Mike & Kerry came driving up. We talked for a few minutes, and I gave Chris her banner back. We took a few pictures of the group and then headed for home.
June 5th, 1999 was easily one of the most incredible nights of my life and something that I will never forget. I'm still on a huge high that I don't think I'm going to be coming down from any time soon...especially with 5th row center in Peoria and FRONT ROW CENTER in Moline just over a week away! WOO HOO!
Thanks to Alex Kleinwachter for the review and set list!