Trip Report, Los Angeles, January 26,
We hadn't seen Perry all day, (he'd been to LAX to pick up his lovely wife)
and when we finally caught up with him, he was ready for some champagne.
He asked for their finest champagne and they brought him four bottles.
By now it's like 5 or 5:30 and we were ready to ramble,
but one doesn't rush a champagne master when he's tasting his bubbly.
Perry poured me a glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne Brut and we toasted to this n that.
Then he got a call that the lovely Sandi was in da house. (Sandi is Perry's co-counsel on the Jackson account.)
So the three of us had champagne while I enthralled them with tales of my sciatica pain.
Now it's closer to six and we had to get going or we'd be late.
This show at the Staples Center wasn't going to wait for us.
There were five of us and I had the seats-five Maximum, so I was chosen to drive.
Turns out that was good, because nobody negotiates a crowded LA freeway like Ol' Bart.
It looked like we were going to be late - the freeway was a parking lot - so it was extra-helpful
when the backseat drivers would say, "Try the left lane, no, try the right lane."
Then came one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.
For some reason, Perry was in charge of the tickets for Micheal's kids.
While we were stuck in traffic, Perry got 8-10 calls saying,
"Where are Prince Jackson's tickets? He and his friends from school
are here and ready to be seated but we don't have their tickets!"
This immediately became a hoot for me.
Here's Perry, stuck in a Maximum on the I-10, still ten miles from the Staples Center, getting
immense pressure from whoever was on the phone to produce tickets for the family of the star
that was being honored by the big, big show, trying to handle a tense situation.
Can you imagine the potential debacle?
Michael's oldest son has no tickets for this big, big show?
Well, Perry didn't get to be where he is because he folds under pressure.
He very calmly told the barking dude on the phone: "Talk to RC, she has the tickets.
Go to the Southwest VIP Entry door and talk to RC. She has Prince's tickets.
Everything is fine and there are no problems, Everything is written down and
there's nothing to worry about. Just calm down."
Three minutes later, another frantic call. Perry assured him:
"There is no problem, the tickets are NOT missing. Talk to RC, she has Prince's tickets.
Everything is fine and there's nothing to worry about. Just calm down."
Three minutes later, another frantic call. The calls kept coming.
If it wasn't so serious, it would've been very funny. I can understand the pressure because if,
(this would never have happened) if Michael Joseph Jackson Jr (known as Prince) promised his
school friends tickets to the big, big show and couldn't come up with them, that would be bad.
Perry assured the screaming dude on the phone, "There is no problem, the tickets are NOT missing."
I assume the screaming dude eventually found RC because he stopped calling back.
Now it's 7:20 or so ( I thought the show was at 7:30) but showtime was actually 8 PM.
As we approached the Staples Center, (it's very hard to drive, and work the damn iPhone camera)...
parking the Maximum became an issue. I was on my cane (having left the crutches back at the hotel) and we
needed to somehow find a parking space so Perry could get inside and meet up with Katherine and take care
of whatever business needed to be taken care of so they could relax and enjoy the show.
In a most magnanimous gesture (I had to look up "magnanimous" because I've never used it before) Perry says,
"Bart, your leg is hurt - why don't you guys get out near the door and I'll park the car and catch up."
That's my good buddy, Magnanimous Perry Sanders.
Then the strangest thing happened.
Swear to Koresh, every word I've written so far is true.
(Regular readers know when I swear to Koresh, I'm telling the no-comedy truth,
but this is the part you're not going to believe no matter how much I claim it's true.)
We are now on the Staples Center grounds.
We were sitting at a red light - and we were late - so Perry says, "Run it," so I did.
I was looking for a place to pull over so we could get out, when some guys says, "Parking!"
Perry's ears perked up - "Parking? How much?"
The guy says, "Twenty dollars to park" so Perry says, "Deal!" and whipped out a twenty.
We parked maybe 100 feet from the SW VIP Entrance - for just $20.
Here we were, maybe twenty minutes away from the start of a sold-out show
and they had parking RIGHT NEXT to the Staples Center for $20?
We were on that faster that Rush Limbaugh on a baked ham.
There was no logical reason for this to happen.
Our Maximum didn't say, "Mrs. Jackson's Attorney" on the roof or anything - we were
nobodies to the parking people but somehow we lucked into a parking spot right next to the gig.
Once we were parked, Perry left to locate RC and secure our tickets.
So here we are at the world famous Staples Center, home of Kobe Bryant and Jack Nicholson.
The paparazzi was set up to shoot the celebrities arriving for the big, big show.
We weren't close enough to see who was getting their picture taken, but it must've been somebody.
Unbeknownst to us, THE star of the Cirque show was standing right next to us.
He was in a sparkly-white suit with white makeup on his face.
Not knowing he was the star of the show, I told Mrs Bart,
"That fella must be really into this show - that suit Shirley cost him some big bucks."
If I had known he was the star, I would've taken his picture :)
So here we were, waiting for our tickets at the SW VIP Entry.
I figured "VIP Entry" meant were were special, but thousands of people went thru that door :)
Someone later said anyone with skybox tickets went thru that door, and let me tell you,
the Staples Center has more skyboxes than any indoor arena I've ever been in.
Out of focus, it reminds me of that Costa ship that went aground in Italy :)
Then Perry returned with our tickets and in we went, and we got to our seats.
Before the show started, we noticed a kerfluffle further down our row of seats.
Turns out Grammy Legend Award Winner Quincy Jones was signing autographs for his fans.
Can you see a bald spot in the upper-center of this picture?
That's my good friend Quincy Jones.
I assume he was in our row because Perry had his tickets, too.
I could've approached him, but what would I say?
"I thought you did a good job mixing Thriller?"
I didn't think he'd want to hear that from some moron from Oklahoma.
Then it was time for the show to start.
Some people are waiting to read my review of the show, but have you ever seen a Cirque show?
It has "circus" in the name for a reason.
It's 50-70 people all doing amazing things, often at the same time.
Here's a sample of "Michael Jackson's Immortal" from Google images.
Seriously, how would you describe what you're seeing?
Basically, the show is Michael Jackson's music coming thru as good a sound system as you can hear in 2012,
with lots of dancing and trapeze-type acts and lots of flying dudes and more dancing and beat-boxers and break-dancers
and a hot live band with two hot lady guitar players and more dancing ...it's semi-related to Roger Waters' The Wall,
(Hueueueuege compliment) but Immortal has more dancing than Roger Waters :)
Of course, the dancers did the zombie dance from Thriller, which was a highlight.
I would recommend you see the show.
If you like Michael Jackson's music, you'll really like this production.
Perry, this is the Sammy Davis Jr story I wanted you to relate to Katherine.
I wanted her to hear the eyewitness's account instead of my rendering of it.
I think she would get a kick out of it - odds are she knew (or at least met) Sammy.
My Brush with Greatness
I was touring with Mickey Gilley and we always pulled into Harrah's in Reno a night early.
We would then go to the cocktail show or the dinner show of the performer who was in the
showroom for the two weeks before us and would usually visit backstage between shows.
This time it happened to be Sammy Davis, Jr. He graciously accepted us backstage and we
hung out for a while. I thought it was the night of the Motown twenty-fifth anniversary special
on TV but according to the internet, the dates don't correspond correctly.
But Michael Jackson was on some special program that night and Sammy stopped everything
to sit down and watch him perform. That was the amazing thing about the visit. Sammy was
on the edge of his chair in front of the television in the dressing room just being mesmerized
He was blown away by the dance moves Michael was doing on stage. He sat there and kept
saying "Lighten up on me Michael, lighten up on me! And then when Michael did
the moonwalk, Sammy went crazy. It was really cool watching him react to that performance.
That was sent in by Gary Luedecke, whom I've met and he now works with Del Castillo.
After the show, Perry, Mrs Bart and I enjoyed some sciatic-killing vodka in our hotel room.
I hope you have enjoyed Trip Report, Los Angeles.
This report was 45 minutes late, can you guess why?
I got so hungry reading this, I went to Arby's and got a French Dip sandwich
with extra beef that only cost me $5.51 and it was juicy and it tasted wonderful!
Remember, if the IRS ever contacts you, the reader, and asks WHY you read, subscribe
or donate to bartcop.com saying "We love the trip reports" could keep me out of jail :)