Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Riveter opens for Bret Michaels: Part 1 Riveter plays

Let me start off this story by saying that if anyone had ever told me that I'd be in a band that was opening for the lead singer of '80s mega-hair-band Poison, I would have laughed in their faces and then probably kicked them in the ding dong for being stupid.

I mean look at the facts people:
  • I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in art history. Art history. Not music.
  • For the last seven years, I've been the executive secretary to a newspaper publisher. Secretary, not musician.
  • I'm a mom and a wife. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • I never played any instruments at all until six years ago this August (well I did play the clarinet in middle school, but that didn't leave me with much musical experience).
  • I'm 38 years old.
Nothing on that list spells "rock star in training," but that's what I love about our band. We don't sit back and do what's expected, we reach out and snatch opportunities even when we don't think opportunities exist.

So, yeah, Friday night.

I got off work and went home to start the prep work that goes into being a part-time rock star.

I was curling the hair and gluing on eyelashes, packing my stage clothes and loading my equipment into the car when Bill and Mar got home.

As soon as they got home, my excited rushed out of the house like air out of a stomped on balloon. You can read about that over here, but it's depressing. Let's just chalk it up to my kid looking for her share of the attention.

I was determined to have a good time, child be damned (OK not really damned, but if there wasn't blood, it could wait as far as I was concerned). But my and Bill's mood was definitely dampened by the events that proceeded our trip to the club.

We were somber and sad ... OK Bill was somber and sad. I was pissed.

Until we turned the corner and I saw two black buses and this trailer parked behind the Mesa Theater:
I immediately turned into a 13-year-old groupie and started screaming "Bret Michaels is here" over and over.

He wasn't there, of course, but his band was. As was Big John, his uber-cool security guy and friend.

As we loaded in my gear, we had to negotiate the buses and the barricades places around the back entrances to the club. I'd never seen anything like that before at the Mesa and it was pretty impressive.

The band was all there and we were trying to be nonchalant and hang around and be cool. Then it was our turn to load our gear on the stage. I set up my amp next to a giant rack of Bret's guitars which were being tended by Bret's guitar tech, Joey.

This is the stack of cases for the bands guitars and drums:
Like all the people associated with Bret, Joey was friendly and talked enthusiastically about the tour. He said they'd had great crowds with many sell outs.

Here we are hanging out with Joey before the show, right after he asked if we were all married:
After loading our gear on stage, we decided to spend some time getting all rockstared up. On go the fishnets and hooker boots, out came the hairspray and eyeshadow.

Once that was done, we had nothing to do but wait. There was about a half hour until the doors opened. While we were hanging around, I heard Big John gather the theater's security guys together for a briefing on how the evening would run.

I made Laurena sit with me and eavesdrop on the whole thing:

Oh man, it was interesting. They have their shows very closely choreographed and scheduled down to the minute. Anyone who knows me, knows that kind of stuff excites me (sad, but true). I think I audibly sighed in delight when Big John said, "... then the band will play a 72 to 75 minute set."

So now, not only did we know that Bret likes a plan, but we knew exactly where he'd be and what was going to happen.

Afterward, it was time to open the doors.

We were hoping there'd be a crowd for us as we opened. Boy were we in for a surprise.

First of all, the other opening band had another gig in town and asked if we could switch places with them.

That meant that they'd go first and we'd go ... right before Bret.

Um, hell's yeah! Awesome. We figured we'd have a better chance at getting a bigger crowd the later we played.

Silly girls.

When the doors opened, it look like this:
We were at the bar and the fans were pouring in.

They were stopping at the bar or hanging out. Nope, they were bee lining it straight to the front of the stage.

Where they stood until after Bret was done playing.

The place was packed. They were a few dozen tickets from selling out. It was amazing. I'd never seen the theater so packed for hours upon hours.

Now that the security work organized, Big John was hanging out, getting his picture taken with fans — like us:
We told Big John and we were the second band that night and he said, "Yeah, I know. I'm gonna come check you guys out." I then whipped out one of our "Snatch" EPs which included "Get Out" and told him about the song.

He genuinely seemed excited that we had recorded a song about his friend and the show that was making him famous (which is way more of a positive reaction than the one we got from Eddie Spaghetti when we opened for the Supersuckers and had TWO songs recorded about him).

Big John also said that he'd make sure to play the song for Bret.

Oh hell's yeah!

John is a very cool guy. Very laid back, not pretentious — he's totally someone that would be fun to be friends with. Plus he treated us great all night long.

8:30 came and Goodman, the first band, started belting out their hard rockin' covers. The crowd was into it. They were generous with their cheers and applause.

My excitement was building.

Then Scott started putting his drums together in the breezeway next to the stage. Unfortunately some asswipe decided the breezeway was a good place to blow chunks ... all over Scott's drums. Luckily they were still in their cases and he didn't have to play through the puke.

Before we knew it, Goodman was done and we were getting ready to play.
I stood on stage and gazed through the lights out to the packed club. And it was mostly packed with girls and their cleavage. It was like booby city out there.
I was nervous, but not terribly so. Really, I was excited. I wanted the crowd to like us. I wanted to play well. I wanted us to rock.

We got set up and the club owner introduced us — including in our introduction the fact that we begged and pleaded to get this show.

Then Scott clicked us in and we were off to the races.
And it was amazing.

Our songs were going well. We were rockin' really hard.
And the crowd really seemed to be digging us. Every song was followed by thunderous applause. It was intoxicating.
Our third song was "Get Out" which we wrote about Bret Michaels and Rock of Love. When I found Bill out in the audience, Big John was standing right beside him.

We played for 25 minutes, but it seemed like five. And while it happened so fast, I made sure to savor every moment, to try to play the best I could and look cool doing it.

And the crowd seemed to love us. Every time Kelley said the f-word or "Bret Michaels" they went crazy. They went crazy after every song. I can honestly say that Bret's fans are amazing and I'd play in front of them any day of the week.

I truly felt like a rock star.

I didn't want it to end.

It did, of course.

But the night didn't. Next time I'll write about our brief encounter with Bret, more about Big John and the Bret Michaels Band show.


Anonymous said...

Big John looks waaaaaay cuter in that picture than he does on TV.

And the Riveter Girls.... super HAWT as always!


Ladybug650 said...

This is soooo freaking cool!