Yes, Charlie Sheen took the stage in Detroit. That was as much of a surprise as anything else relating to the erratic actor's hastily-arranged month-long live tour.
Also surprising? He was basically booed off-stage like his opening act. Sheen was razzed by the boobirds himself — early and often — and after insulting the audience, finally ducked off stage after less than an hour and didn't come back.
"I already got your f—ing money, dude," said Sheen to one such disgruntled fan.
That sensational soundbite highlights the evening, which was covered live in a frequently updated Entertainment Weekly blog and other on-hand outlets and Twitter users.
By all accounts — sadly, we covered it from our troll-free office in Brooklyn — Sheen's first stop on his My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option Tour, at Detroit's Fox Theatre, was a bona fide disaster — a live version of his failed webcast Sheen's Korner, complete with stripper-types singing the national anthem, clips of him playing Call of Duty, gags about the Motor City being a safe place to tell stories about crack, a rap performance by crony Simon Rex and impressively unfunny diatribes like, "They took my awesome children, they took my sometimes bitchin' job, and when they thought there was nothing left, they tried to take my titanium heart and brain and spine — but they could not."
That's right: The show featured a rap performance by Simon Rex.
Sheen's unpredictable rants were amusing — very much so — when he first tried them out on "Good Morning America" and other talk shows. Meaning, when they were free. But imagine paying money to see him say the same things, only after you've been hearing it for weeks.
And yet hundreds, maybe thousands, did just that — and they rebelled.
"People are leaving," tweeted @Bill_Shea19, a reporter for Crain's Detroit Business, at 9:39 p.m. This update came less than an hour after Sheen had taken the stage. At 10:05 p.m., @Bill_Shea19 tweeted again: "People are pouring out of the Fox." Sheen was still going.
And it had all started so well, too. The doors of the Fox Theatre had swung open an hour in advance of Sheen's much-hyped My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option Tour and there had been as much anticipatory excitement as when the original Vatican assassin first joined Twitter.
Practically the only thing anyone had known for sure was that Charlie Sheen had indeed arrived at the theater. And that he was tweeting about it. And calling himself a Sheenius.
"The moment of truth is upon us Detroit. Do not fear…the Sheenius is here, he wrote just before the 8 p.m. showtime, posting an accompanying photo of him, presumably from a run-through, standing at a presidential-style podium with a sign behind him that reads "Warlock States of Sheen."
"Need I say more..?!?" the deposed "Two and a Half Men" star had written on Twitter in the late afternoon, also uploading a photo of the Fox Theatre marquee bearing his name.
Earlier, the Detroit Free Press had posted photos confirming the star's afternoon arrival at the theater and the throng of early-bird fans waiting to greet the only actor that we know of ever to claim on national television that tiger, not human, blood courses through his veins.
We also know that despite being labeled as a sell-out, the Detroit stop on the tour had a lot of second-hand tickets available on StubHub and other reseller sites — and that goes for the rest of the tour as well.
Still, a healthy, boistrous crowd was on hand, including representatives from various traditional media outlets and personalities such as porn star Kacey Jordan, according to various reports and tweets from the online peanut gallery. The pre-show house music set list included Eminem and Jimmy Buffett, and tour concessions range from a $120 Sheen baseball jersey to a $20 program for the event.
A warm-up comedian named Kirk Fox took the stage at 8:13 p.m., and had to endure a smattering of boos, heckles and chants of "Charlie! Charlie!" — which we can only assume weren't requests for Fox to douse himself in the old-school Revlon perfume. Sheen jumped onstage five minutes into the dude's set to defend Fox, telling the raucous crowd to give the jokes a chance to get better, as if this were Showtime at the Apollo.
But the jokes didn't. "Shouldn't they call the defibrillator a difibra-now?" asked Fox. He was essentially booed off the stage around 8:30 p.m. — an amazing start to what could be a train wreck of a month for Sheen. (Not financially, though — Sheen will reportedly receive $7 million when the shows are done no matter what transpires.)
Although the rapper Snoop Dogg didn't perform in Detroit, as had been previously reported (Sheen's musical collaborator may appear at select shows on the tour), Sheen did select three Detroit-area residents to help him launch the tour. Sheen also confirmed that his girlfriends/goddesses/porn stars Bree Olsen and Natalie Kenly would be in tow, and they did make a cameo on stage, holding placards that read "War" and "Lock." (For anyone stupid enough to have bought a ticket thinking that something transcendent was bound to take place, the placards would spell "Warlock" if combined together.)
Sheen took to the Detroit airwaves on Friday to promote the concert and to pick the winners of two contests he'd launched earlier in the week. The first resulted in the hiring of a one-night intern, who will do Sheen-knows-what: Heather Pachota of Westland, Mich.
The second involved the Warlock-in-Chief's quest to find one lucky Motowner to belt out "The Star-Spangled Banner" to kick off the tour. Instead, he selected two winners: Kelley Jean of Redford Township and Lisa Jacques of Highland Township. The trashy pair traded verses on the national anthem. Based on YouTube performances, it was likely a tough couple of seconds for the sold-out crowd.
But you be the judge: A Detroit Free Press reporter cornered them just before the show and uploaded a video of their performance.
No word yet on how Sheen's epic meltdown in Detroit will affect the rest of the tour, which is set to continue Sunday night in Chicago. But here are the rest of the dates, just in case you want to see this kind of debacle for yourself. (Curiously, no show has been booked in Los Angeles yet.)
April 3 — The Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL
April 5 — Playhouse Square Center, Cleveland, OH
April 6 — Palace, Columbus, OH
April 8, 10 — Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY
April 9 — Oakdale Theater, Wallingford, CT
April 12 — Boston, MA
April 14-15 — Massey Hall, Toronto, ON
April 16 — Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, NJ
April 17 — Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, CT
April 19 — DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, DC
April 21 — Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA
April 22 — St. Pete Times Union, Tampa Bay, FL
April 23 — BankAtlanticCenter, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
April 26 — Verizon Wireless Theatre, Houston, TX
April 27 — American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
April 28 — Wells Fargo Theatre, Denver, CO
April 30 — Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
May 2 — Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC
May 3 — Comcast Arena, Seattle, WA