|"You know you're at a Charlie Sheen show when it's Good Friday and there's nudity." - Charlie Sheen |
The Midnight Review was front and center for Charlie Sheen's ongoing Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not An Option tour that reached Tampa Bay, Florida Friday night, albeit about 45 minutes late.
Charlie Sheen entered the St. Petersburg Times Forum after the eight o'clock start time to a stadium of cheers. There were some empty seats in the house - stadium officials put the number at around 1,839 for a space formatted to hold about 3,000, but it seemed a majority of the empty seats were in the upper balcony. Anyway, Sheen acknowledged the audience as he descended the stairs and made his way towards the stage where a guitarist, Filter's Rob Patterson, was playing to a film montage. Patterson would later add incidental music to the program.
Charlie took the stage and the audience went wild. He spoke breifly thanking Tampa Bay, turning around the teleprompters and telling the audience that he was told they make the show look too rehearsed. Shortly afterwards he called local radio DJ Mike "Cowhead" Calta for an interview on stage, where he was going to ask Charlie questions he had never been asked before, like if the star still masterbated despite being surrounded by "goddesses," to which he responded "Why wouldn't I?"
Unfortunately, Calta lost control of the stage. Hecklers in the audience started to yell out, with one persistent man yelling "Fuck You" to Charlie, which prompted Cowhead to send Chuck Zito's security detail into the stands. Another heckler claimed Sheen was "all talk" and that he should "bang a 7g rock on stage" to prove himself. In both of these instances the rest of the audience shouted them down, but things didn't stop there. Another attendee noticed Cowhead was wearing a New York Yankees shirt, which is a big no-no when you take stage in a town home to another baseball team! Cowhead derailed his interview some more when he yelled at a woman on the floor for constantly standing up (which prompted Sheen to come to her defense), and then inviting Amy Mariani, finalist of a contest designed to find Charlie Sheen a new intern
, on stage so she can meet her potential future boss. That didn't end well - she fumbled taking pictures with her cell phone and talked about how she will use social networking to help the star out - considering Sheen got four million Twitter followers almost overnight, I would say he probably has that under control.
Sheen then invited his "goddess," Natalie Kenly, on stage, where they proceeded to throw t-shirts and bags to the floor crowd, which seemed to detract from the overall show because it focues on such a small portion of the audience.
Luckily, the night was saved when comedien Jeffery Ross took the stage to give an impromptu roast of Charlie Sheen. He had a podium brought out where he proceeded to read his scorching jokes, like telling Charlie his career was drowning faster than a "whale trainer from Sea World" - a reference to a trainer who was killed last year during a show at the Orlando theme park
. This went on for some time and it was great fun, but that didn't last too long. After the roast, Ross called for a Q&A segment from the audience, and this is where things got ugly.
Ten fans were called onto stage - most coming from the floor seats - and instead of asking questions, they got extremely creepy around Charlie Sheen, and the audience was not happy, which Charlie again apologized for. One woman wanted a "back hug," where she would basically grind up on Charlie. Her friend then begged for Charlie to bring out his goddess and when her refused, she called Ross a "wanna-be Carrot Top" and stormed off stage. Another older lady, who appeared to be drunk, claimed she would be a great intern.
There was also one man, claiming to be a former WCW wrestler, who praised Charlie and asked him how many cars he owns, and then there was a local Tampa mortgage broker who used the opportunity to promote his website
and then gave a glowing speech about Charlie, eventually asking him how it felt to say pretty much anything he wanted, in which Charlie responded "fucking awesome." He then asked Charlie Sheen for his ashtray, and when Charlie refused stating they were on sale at the stands out front, the guy pleaded and offered to trade the one he already bought
There was a woman who told Charlie he should have won the Oscar for Wall Street, and it seemed she had a promising question, but that was a flop: What would have happened differently had he won that Oscar. Charlie stated he would not know and that the only different thing would be still be him, just with an Oscar. She then seemed to give a personal account of how her son was in the financial sector and had the movie garnered the award, it might have saved her son, or something along those lines.
The last two questioners were not bad and somewhat well received by the audience. One guy, wearing a Sheen/Ross for president t-shirt, who surprisingly worked at a sign shop but who wasn't a "douche bag" to name his own company like the mortgage broker guy, asked if Charlie was elected president, would he come back and use his employee discount so the audience could buy beers for less than nine dollars from the concessions stands, and the last question, a young lady who stated teaching was her profession, claimed she was qualified to be a goddess because she lacked a "gag reflex" - not surprisingly, the crowd loved that answer.
It seriously looked as if Charlie Sheen was a little creeped out by some of those who came up on stage. Chuck Zito even came up to the front with Ross and Sheen when things headed south, but I think Sheen should have expected it (and cut the segment altogether). They pulled people from the crazy pool - a bunch of desperate people who paid good money to sit close to the stage in a chance to creep on a celebrity, and my wife made an excellent point in the car ride home - if you can creep out Charlie Sheen, there must be something seriously wrong with you!
For full disclosure, I got my great seats when I realized Ticketmaster randomized seat locations. I just opened up several windows and reloaded until I got a seat closer to the front - I didn't want to spend a hundred bucks sitting in the back, especially when my eyesight isn't the best (I do need new glasses), and while most people attended this show to witness a "train wreck," I had gone because Charlie Sheen had turned into a popular culture phenomenon. Here is a man who was fired from the top rated television program and instead of moving on to the next project, he went on a media blitz spouting nonsense that quickly caught on with the public. I wanted to witness firsthand not a "train wreck," but the story that had took headlines hostage for weeks.
Charlie Sheen closed the program with a speech about why he went on tour in the first place - to get his job back. They couldn't take away his "magic brain" or "titanium heart," and they definitely couldn't take away his fans, and in a twist, brought out Dirt Nasty on stage to perform his favorite song - "1980."
Overall, I think the atmosphere was positive. Sheen was funny and delivered what he promised - himself, just too bad there wasn't more of him. The only thing that created any hiccups during the night was the audience - there were some who for some reason would have rather seen the night end in complete failure. Had Sheen shortened the audience interaction segments and lenghtened other aspects of the show, it would have been great. Ross was also a great addition to the show.
In the end, one thing was apparent - Charlie Sheen was winning.