Las Vegas 2012 - Stage invaders!!!

 
Well well well….what started  as a few people chatting on Facebook about the possibility of going to Vegas to see Rod ended up as an international RSFC weekend, including a one dayer party attracting over 130 fans and two nights of RSFC representation at the last two Rod gigs of this Vegas run. It included numerous stage invasions, the biggest RSFC love train ever, Robert de Niro waiting and  jumping off of very tall buildings….. Must be time for a tour diary then……


Thursday  4th October 2012

Unlike the majority of fans, we didn’t fly into Vegas, we drove.  We had spent the week before soaking up the sights and sounds of Los Angeles ( which included a stay at The Sunset Marquis which is where the Tonight Im Your’s video  was filmed  - yes we did try to re enact it ) and total stalking of Rod haunts, but as it wasn’t technically part of a Rod tour,  I won’t bore you with details otherwise this will take me three days to write)  The  ‘we’ in question was myself and Ian, Ian’s brother ( he of diving off tables fame) and his girlfriend Sharon.  

So we had hired a people carrier type thing and we made the four hour drive across the desert.  Plan was to drop off Gary at his hotel and then drop off car at airport, which was where we were to meet Helen ( aka Purple Heather) and Sean ( Hobo), and then cab it back to our hotel. Would have been a brilliant plan a) if the car rental drop off was anywhere near the vicinity of the airport and b) if it hadn’t have taken hours for Helen to get through immigration ( obviously they were a bit worried by the invasion  that weekend!)  But finally we spotted the green of the RSFC shirt and we were all set to go.

We got ripped off by the taxi to the hotel despite the fact we were ripped off in exactly the same way last time we visited Vegas - 30 dollar round the freeway route instead of 15 dollar direct route. Found our hotel which wasn’t really a hotel more a timeshare facility but slap bank in the centre overlooking the Bellagio fountains. Well saying that, the girls room was overlooking the Bellagio fountains, Ian and Sean’s room had a lovely view of a concrete wall.     

The plan as posted was to meet up with others at Lily’s bar in the Bellagio Hotel. Ian and I, having been before, were enjoying Helen and Sean’s open mouthed gawping at what is such an incredible sight…. The first impressions of Vegas at night really are something else, nothing ever prepares you for it. Last time I wrote about it I described it as an assault on all your senses, and I stand by that description.  Took us a while to get where we were going because of the numerous photo stops.  When we got to Lilys it was dark, very loud and hugely expensive.  With apologies to whoever picked it, and anyone who went there, trying to meet up with others, we made an instant decision to relocate to somewhere more appropriate. So we went to the Rock Bar which was dark, very loud and not so hugely expensive…. Bucket of 5 Budweisers for 19 dollars, that will do nicely. 

My daughter Beth and Ian’s son Karl had flown in later and found their way across to meet us.  Beth was one month short of 21 which is quite a problem in Vegas, but so far so good and she got in without any difficulty. Shaun Tatarka ( at this point the token American) braved the possibility of running into Canadians and met us in there, only to be faced by Scouser Old Mate Bri, and also Marianne ventured out.    So this was the first night - beer, rock music, hugs and friendly chat (banter)  Good times, but only  a taster of what was to come.

Friday 5th October 2012

Woke to  scorching sun, as we did every day. Well we did in our room, the boys in theirs thought it was foggy because they couldn’t see past the grey concrete wall.  We had arranged to meet at the Riviera, which is where the party was planned to be that night, so that we could check out the venue.   In Vegas everything looks close because it is so big, yet you walk for miles wherever you go.  50 minute walk down the strip in the hot sun, carrying heavy bags of banners, balloons and tshirts, and we were ready for our breakfast. The Riviera is a a big casino hotel that was probably very fashionable in its day, but it’s day was a long time ago. However it has the Queen Victoria pub in it,  which had been chosen with the help of Vic Vega, who lives out there.

It was already decorated with the flags of different countries which made it ideal for our purposes.  We had hoped to set up then, but it was being used by people eating so we were asked to come back at 5 o’clock to start getting ready.  We had had balloons printed and brought them out with us, but had arranged for weights and helium to be there when we arrived. I checked in the morning and they assured me it would be fine. I even left my number in case there was a problem because I didn’t want to arrive at the venue later to find out no helium.  ( you know where this is going don’t you?)

Anyway we had a nice brunch, again with Shaun T, Old Mate Bri, Helen, Sean, Beth & Karl and got down to some heavy Rod discussions and as always when Rod fans got together the time just flew. 

From there we were going to jump a cab back up the strip to check out The Cosmopolitan. Turned out we jumped a limo. Now Ians brother Gary had taken a room at this, the newest and most popular hotel on the Strip, and when he got there he negotiated an upgrade to an apartment sized luxury room that was way bigger than the ground floor of my house.  He ended up not paying for the upgrade because he complained it was next to the nightclub (like that matters) but shows why he is a successful business man. The corner balcony was enormous and looked over the Strip and the fountains and the very funky pool area.  Obviously a hotel for the younger generation, we all spent some time chilling around this pool area, looking completely out of place next to the young and restless, but it was fun.

Anyway I digress from all things Rod.  Party time!!!!

Headed back down the strip at 5o’clock to set up. You guessed it, no helium. Well two cannisters that were empty. I was stressing,  Ian was not.  The manager now on duty swore he knew nothing about it,  and anyway the room was full of people having dinner.  Now we had agreed that we wouldn’t close to the public, in that, anyone could come and join us, but we hadn’t banked on it being full when we got there.  We also had asked for food to be available, but they expected calm sit down entertainment, and table service all night……perhaps we should have sent them a video of our previous social events!  

Anyhow the helium arrived about half an hour before we were due to start, and so there was some frantic balloon blowing up - great production line team!!!  Plus the blow up guitars and mic’s that  seem so ridiculous pre party yet are an essential part of our later frivolities, so I’m glad we managed to get them.  Vic and his guys were due to play a live set and they were sound checking, whilst people eating their dinner were thinking  what the hell is going on?   We managed to get the banners up, one over the stage and one outside the room, and people were starting to arrive, Gillian and Ruth being among the first - an unusual event but great to see them.

At first it was a bit awkward because there weren’t enough tables ( due to aforementioned non Rod people eating) but lets say they ate their meals fairly quickly and left except for a few interested folk who hung around to see what was going on. It was so wonderful to see fans come from all over the world, greeting each other. Internet friends putting faces to names. Don’t think I’ve seen so many hugs in one place - was a lovely atmosphere.  Some people very lively from early on, (yes you Dierdre)  Julie, Elaine, Rod (Dave) and Paul all turned up in the sex police t shirts , lots of tartan and Roddy stuff going on. Bar staff looking very bemused and still trying to keep the table service that I mentioned.  The fabulous Marcy Braunstein arrived with gifts -  she gave us a wonderful picture of us both at Rod’s Hollywood star, along with Rod there, and I know she gave Shaun T a fantastic momento to keep.  Big hearted lady.  Suzanne Baker and co - I can’t name everyone but such a great turnout.
Gabriel and his party from Mexico or is it Argentina(?) arrived early and were so enthusiastic . Have to say that they were fantastic throughout the entire weekend, what characters.  No doubt you will have seen the pictures.  

So the band had reserved a couple of tables for their guests, and what an ensemble they turned out to be,  Tina Turner, Debbie Harry, Robert De Niro and someone we thought was Mr Bean but was Pee Wee Herman, - guess you Americans know who that is??   Anyway this table of look a likes obviously command great respect there and certainly added an unusual dimension to our party.  In addition a couple of the musicians girlfriends had arrived.  I have never seen breasts as big as that in my entire life. So we were all shapes and sizes,  all nationalities, and yet, all having a fantastic night out together.  Sean (Hobo) had created some souvenir badges of the event and he walked around selling them, all proceeds going to CRY, next years Big Weekend costs, and I should mention that Sean stood the cost of the manufacture himself, so big up for that Sean, cheers.

Vic had worked hard at his unplugged set, doing some that you don’t hear live very often ( are you taking note Mr Stewart) and he put on a great show for us, including Three time loser,  Its not the spotlight, Attractive female wanted to name but a few.  Also a great duet of Hot legs with Tina Turner.  Now as this was a free party, the band didn’t charge us but we put round a bucket to collect for them to cover their expenses.  Ian announced this as ‘ lets buy the band a drink’ which is an British expression that perhaps we should have explained better, as many people did literally just do that rather than contribute!!  Not to worry!! I was thrilled to see Dave Jones and his son Michael turn up as they hadn’t said they were coming - spur of the moment decision, nice one guys!!  Also we met Elissa  and Billy Mcoll and his wife from Australia, and Maria from Chile… so many places, so many people, it really was an amazing event.

Ian said a few words, thanked everyone for coming, and called up John to the stage to wish him a Happy 64th birthday…. Only it wasn’t John it was Peter!  ( My fault, Ian well impressed with me!!)   It was also Peter and Brendas wedding anniversary and they also got a cheer for that.
 
By the end of Vic’s set the dance floor was full, and then it was time for DJ Ian Credible to do his stuff.  Now usually we have our own DJ Gary Price, but neither he nor our tech man Big Al Robins were able to make the trip this time, so Ian… on you go.   I think that Vic’s set finished just after 10 and we had advertised a 3am finish so ahead was the challenge of keeping the dance floor filled for 5 hours using only an IPad. 

Well I have to say, he did it and then some.  The dance floor was rocking almost from start to finish.   The Love Train was the entire room, over a hundred of us out and round the casino, leaving Ian on his own sat looking like a plonker.  And then there was the rehearsal.  There had been some planning on Facebook for us to have letters on the backs of our Celtic shirts for the concert on the Saturday night, and so Adriana had kindly organised the letters and she distributed them and we all went outside for a rehearsal  which included loud chanting of ‘cmon you boys in green’ and  ‘lets all do the huddle‘, and left Ian wondering where the hell his dance floor had gone.. The duty manager of the hotel had obviously never seen anything like it and was videoing us to show his boss how crazy it was, and I was asked several times if we could come back and do this every week …. If Only!!  


Sally Morris has been absent for the last couple of weekends but she arrived looking gorgeous in a long silver dress.  Trouble is this is just asking for trouble when you combine that dress with a glass of red wine and me waving my hands about whilst telling a story.  I managed to knock the entire glass all over her and despite a complete strip off in the toilets (got some very odd looks)  and washing the dress, we couldn’t rescue it, so Sally wore an RSFC t shirt and Scotland flag for the rest of the night, and I have to say she really rocked that look….

Other highlights of the night were Mike Gregor doing an impression of a homeless person without his shoes,  Ian’s brother being hauled down off the furniture as he does at every single Rod party, my daughter Beth fast asleep on chairs backstage ( she said it was jet lag, me thinks it was the vodka martini on an empty stomach)  and the bar staff joining in during the ‘ lets all hold each other up in a circle’ thing that we do at the end of the night.  By 3am there were still around 25 of us die hards still there including Manny and Jean doing the Purple Heather and Sailing and we made it to the end.  And our Hels still had that silly ‘I’m pished and I really dinnae care’ smile on her face.  Fab times.

Only in Vegas could this happen - 3.30 am and we start looking for something to eat…Guess what, this is a 24 hour bar and the kitchen is still open… breakfasts all round.  So we sat there doing the full American Breakfast thing.  Bed at 5am, exhausted but chuffed to bits because everyone had a whale of a time, and guess what…. Rod gig tomorrow!!!

Click here for pics of The Vegas Party ( thanks Daniel Marra )

Saturday 6th October 2012

Daytime Saturday is a bit of a blur ( can’t imagine why) although I did manage to get up and go for breakfast ( another breakfast!) with my daughter Beth. Walked a few hundred miles around Vegas ( at least that what it felt like, my feet will never be the same), and had a row at Caesars when they refused to let me pick up the tickets I was supposed to be collecting for someone else. We had done all the paperwork before we left, but they said they didn’t have it and no way were gonna give me the ticket. The upshot of all of that is we had to have a ticket re distribute and in the end it meant that both Karl and Beth didn’t get to go on the Saturday night, but had tickets for the Sunday. We didn’t see Shaun T today as he was busy preparing himself for the big moment - the Meet and Greet.

So the plan was to meet at 6.30, at Caesars  all in Celtic shirts to put on our letters and work out where we were gonna stand to spell out a message to Rod. Now I’ll be honest, I really didn’t think this was going to work, but decided to just go with Gillian and whatever she thought was gonna happen. Initally it was just going to say ‘ Rod Stewart Fan Club’ but so many joined in that we ended up adding ‘ Cmon the hoops’ not to mention a few spaces, kisses and explanation marks!!  So it was getting on for 40 of us, all in Celtic tops all outside Caesars palace rehearsing where we had to stand, when we should go out, nded up singing again…. Had some group pics done. Mad times.

In we go to the concert. I was sitting with Ian, Gary and Brian in the middle of row MM, about 14 rows back. We had Penny and Alistair on the row in front, and Big Al ( not our Big Al, Rod’s Big Al) at the end of our row. Both Gary and Brian had pics taken with Penny, and Gary managed to tip his drink down her back!  Penny spotted Paul and our Rod dressed up in their pink and blue suits and ran over to take their picture!

Now with all the excitement about the party, the letters, I completely forgot to take notes in the concert - I know, I really am losing my touch, so no set list, and this is from memory so excuse errors. Rod comes out to huge ovation, probably way louder than usual and the whole of the front block is filled with green and white. You could see he was taken aback by the extent of it and made reference to the fact that there were so many fans ‘ from Britain’  not realising  at first that this was the international fan club here.   

Now I’ve seen this Las Vegas show a couple of times before, and we all know what he includes normally, but he changed it for us, including  ‘I don’t wanna talk about it’ which he never plays over there ( he asked the crowd to bear with it even though none of the non fan club people had a clue what it was ) and we sang our hearts out, and later on Baby Jane. There is an unplugged section with a small string section ( all young and female of course) and Janna conducts them, and also Anne King and Katja play some big bongo type drums

Early on Brian jumped up on the stage to give Rod a scarf which kind of set the scene for numerous stage invasions, all of which Rod took in good spirit. Have I told you lately was spectacular and he did the song from the Christmas album ‘have yourself a merry little Christmas’ together with fake snow, whereupon Brian shouts out, it’s ‘90 degrees outside and we are in the f’kin desert!’  Funny moment, had to be there. Brian was quite the heckler of the night, shouting out ‘ who’s the old fella?’ when Rod is showing pics of him with his kids.  

All of us with the letters on our back of our Celtic shirts were scattered all over the front block.  The plan was that when Gillian ran out during Proud Mary (before you’re in my heart) we were all supposed to follow her.  Anyway during Downtown train she ran out, followed by Ruth… we were all looking at each other thinking… should we go?  Is this it?  It’s too soon?  Not wanting to mess anything up, we all followed, the whole auditorium watching us run out and wondering what the hell was happening. Got to the foyer, only to have Gill shouting ‘ I was only going to the bloody toilet!!!’  Gave new meaning to the words ‘ and we all go together….’  So embarrassing, we had to slink back into our seats again and wait for the correct cue.

Rod does a walk around the auditorium during (I think) SLRR shaking hands, cue lots of fans running to get the best vantage spots… Helen and Shaun didn’t have to move as he went right by them and they both got handshakes. Paul Warren also ended up in the audience for the guitar solo much to Rods amusement.

So finally it’s the girls and Proud Mary and off we all go again, running out of the theatre. Scene of complete chaos in the foyer as we all tried to get into the correct order and make sure that there were no mistakes. We had agreed that we would stand between the front block and the second and hope that Rod could see us. Security were having panic attacks not happy at all, and there was frantic discussions on the radio’s. Gillian was arguing with them and telling them it was all fine, and then obviously someone backstage gave the go ahead and so we walked into the auditorium at the beginning of in my heart. I was furious because I then realised I had forgotten to bring the RSFC flag with me. We stood in this gap and turned our backs to the stage but it was obvious that Rod couldn’t see us. People behind us were irritated because we were blocking their view and at this point I thought it was all going to go belly up. Then, Penny to the rescue. She ran over and led us down to the stage and on we walked behind Rod. It worked perfectly, Rod was gob smacked and introduced us to the audience as his fan club and kept saying, thank you very much, thank you so much.  We were very well behaved, and when it was over we all walked off, a few getting handshakes and shoulder pats from Rod but we were all ecstatic. Have to give all credit to Gillian for planning it, and Adriana for getting the letters sorted….. Nice job girls, was a fantastic moment for the Fan Club and all of us involved.
And the fantastic moments didn’t end there. Beth’s picture at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro had been requested by Rods management and in the middle of Baby Jane, there she was on the big screen holding the RSFC flag.  Shame Beth wasn’t there but I was jumping up and down telling everyone it was my daughter and that was our flag. Thanks to Brian for getting the pic.  Great moment.
All to soon it was Maggie May and we were all down the front doing what we do best. I think Rod had a great show, he loved having us all there, put a different dimension on the Caesars show. Fantastic night. When it was all over we all stood in a circle singing along to Auld Lang Syne ignoring the securities attempts to get us to ‘ take it outside’.

From there we headed over to the Rock Bar where we relived it over and over. Gillian had a football chant competition with a couple of United supporters and won. The waiter lost control of who was ordering what and I think we all ended up paying for each others drinks and food, but no one cared. 

Considering I’d had three hours sleep the night before I was starting to flag, and it was time for bed. Just a fabulous night though,  loved every minute of it.


Sunday 7th October 2012

Woke up thinking ‘ Did that really happen?’  Were we really all up there on stage with Rod?    

So Sunday we were supposed to rest and save our energies but it didn’t really pan out like that.  Boys got up early and went to watch the United game and after that we headed out for more miles of sightseeing and walking. Sean was flying back today so we had a last beer with him and then headed for Caesars again to try and sort out tickets.  Today they miraculously had found the lost paperwork and apologised profusely, reimbursed the money and gave us a  signed football as compensation which will be used to raise money at the RSFC BIG WEEKEND. However because we already had tickets for the kids for this night, we now ended up with a spare ticket which Adriana ended up buying. Felt like a ticket tout!  

Time for a late lunch at The Hard Rock and it was time to get ready for show number two. Lots more Celtic shirts going on tonight,  and we were sat more over to the side, but further back.  Almost all of the front four rows were fan club members, it was wild down there,  Sunday nights show was just as crazy. So much interaction with the crowd. Rod acknowledged The RSFC telling the audience that we had flown in from all over the world  but he did ask us to sit down for parts of the show (think there had been some complaints from the fee paying public, from the night before and I suppose we do have to understand that)  And we did as we were told. Even when the catatonic corps behind us objected to us waving our flag during the chorus’s of  ‘In My Heart’, we obediently put it away.  Having too good a time to get into arguments. Fantastic moment when Lydia got on stage and he ran away and hid back stage, but then came back on and gave her a hug. Then he invited our Rod and Paul onstage to dance with him and said ‘ suppose you do look a bit like me’ 
For the Unplugged section Rod came out in a shiny pink suit and no socks. He pointed it out to the audience and said for the second time this run they were ‘at the cleaners’! That’s the new wardrobe girl fired then!!  During the Christmas bit, Terri Ortega threw a green and white Christmas hat on stage and Rod put it on.  She also had one on, and she crawled on the stage and sat at his feet while he sang the song to her.  It was really warm, really lovely and as the snow fell it may have been tacky but it was quite a magical moment.
Changes to set tonight included Shake Your Money Maker, but we didn’t get IDWTAI or Baby Jane. Also didn’t get the pic of Beth on the screen this time which was such a shame but hey ho, at least she got a trip to Vegas out of it and she enjoyed the show anyway.


Gabriel had been right in front row all night and was going mental down there, he was living every single moment. He had a shirt that said Di Reed under his shirt that he displayed during the girls song, and Rod acknowledged that. I understand Melissa got injured during the football kicking out, but I didn’t see that incident, although the crowd were fighting pretty hard to get those balls.
 
Maggie and the encore of Sexy were great fun with us down there together, a sea of green and white. Janna was waving to us the band were right up close and it felt like it was a private RSFC concert.  Don’t think Caesars really knew what had hit them and none of us really wanted to leave the place.

After it was all over  Gabriel was really emotional and then all of a sudden  Di and Katya came out from backstage to see some of the fans, especially Gabriel and the guys from South America.  Security were really beginning to get tired with us all now and in the end we had to make our way out.

After the gig there was no arranged meet although Vic invited people to see his show that was on further down the strip. We however had promised to take the kids to Fremont street which is an outdoor light display with street bands etc, in Downtown Vegas, and we had a fab night there, joined by Dave Jones and Michael and Sally. Beth, Helen and I had a go at an oxygen bar,  but we couldn’t find the zipwire - perhaps it wasn’t working cos it was a Sunday.  The ride back in the limo, taking the mickey out of Gary in his Rhinestone Cowboy outfit  ‘ there’s only one Brokeback Mountain’  was a particular highlight.
Monday 7th October 2012 

Numbers starting to dwindle now as people made their way home, but we weren’t due to fly until the Tuesday. I woke up buzzing, which I put down to the oxygen bar the night before, so we had another energetic day walking to the Stratosphere, where Beth and Peter both did the Sky jump which involves jumping off the top of the building and hurtling at great speed towards the ground attached by a rope. As you do!  Great end to a fantastic trip.

So we return to the UK much lighter in pocket but with wonderful memories and yet again stronger bonds of friendship. I’m so glad we did it. I think our Weekends may have more international visitors as a result of this, but even if it doesn’t the RSFC community grows bigger and better. Rod may be 67, he may not rock it out as he once did, but he puts on a great show, and we get to have the best times when we are all together doing what we do.  

This was the Rod Stewart Fan Club in Vegas.  Thanks to all who made it so special….

With laughing eyes I do recall
Every face that crammed this hall
And in this room our hats were hung
And words were written and songs were sung
And we held our glasses high
And we dared to reach for the sky
And we never would grow old
When we were the new boys
Ali.

NEXT RSFC EVENT

Mallorca Party

16th - 19th October

2017

SPAIN

 

 

NEXT GIG

 March 26th

Sports Palace, Mexico,

Mexico City

             

 

 

 

 

      

 

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