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Charlie Sheen’s “Violent Torpedo Of Truth Tour” Gets Mixed Reviews

Charlie Sheen (photo by Getty Images)

Charlie Sheen opened his “Violent Torpedo Of Truth Tour” in Detroit over the weekend.  The opening act was promptly booed of stage 20 minutes into his performance.  Then a sporadic series of video clips and “Charlie’s Angels” fill almost 40 min of time.  The Audience is quite confused and angry by the time Charlie reaches the stage.

The next stop was Chicago, and it ended with a standing ovation.  What caused this quick turn around in opinion?  Read on to find out…

Charlie opened his show in Detroit with a 20 minute speech that was reported as going no where.  The Detroit crowd, who were anxious with anticipation, quickly turned on Sheen heckling his ramblings.

To give you an idea about how the Detroit show went, I found this minute by minute account on Entertainment Weekly’s website:

7:59 — You cannot walk through the crowd without hearing someone say “Winning.” There are girls wearing tiger-striped pants, and assorted custom Sheen quips T-shirts. The Midwestern crowd has come from all over, devout followers of the Vatican’s most famous assassin.

8:13 — The show is supposed to start at 8 p.m. A geeky comedian who is decisively notCharlie Sheen comes onstage and begins a set. There is some booing from the audience, followed by chanting: “Charlie! Charlie!” The booing gets louder.

8:17 — The comedian starts a joke: “I found out exactly how I’m going to die–” Someone in the audience yells, “Yeah, onstage!” Note to comedians: If Charlie Sheen asks you to open for him, say “No.”

8:19 — Here is just a sample of this painful opening act: “Shouldn’t they call the defibrillator a difibra-now?” Sheen himself comes out to defend the comic, telling the audience to give him a chance. The actor receives a standing ovation. Sheen says that he’ll be right back out, and exits. The comedian continues his set. Problem: This is a rock concert atmosphere, and nobody wants a stand-up act. They’re here for the warlock.

8:30 – The comedian has been literally booed off the stage.

8:32 — That’s weird. The lights have come back up, and the audience is waiting again. Everyone is confused — it’s not clear why the show started and then stopped again. So far, this has the makings of a disaster, the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark of celebrity stage acts.

8:53 — The show officially begins with a mock iPhone ad, advertising the “MaSheen.” This app will be used throughout the show to introduce each segment. Two attractive scantily clad women — contest winners Kelly Jean and Lisa Jaques — come onstage to sing the national anthem before a waving flag. They’re not exactly great singers. “Do it topless!” one audience member shouts.

8:58 — Film clips are playing onscreen. Die HardMidnight ExpressTaxi DriverAnimal House, Sheen’s own PlatoonFast Times at Ridgemont High, and (of course) Apocalypse Now. There’s no context, just the violent clips. One imagines it’s like being inside Sheen’s fever dream and the experience is taking on a Clockwork Orange quality.

9:00 — Two goddesses are now making out onstage. And finally, Charlie Sheen returns. He holds up a sports shirt of the style that’s worn by his Two and a Half Men character and puts it on. The audience gamely boos. The Two and a Half Men theme song plays and is intercut with a scene from a classic film of a man screaming “Turn it off!” Then, Sheen grabs a Detroit Tigers shirt instead. The crowd roars and gives him a standing ovation. Regarding the Menshirt, Sheen says, “Take that out and burn it.” On video, the girls burn the shirt backstage.

9:07 — Sheen steps behind a presidential-style podium that proclaims “Warlock States of Sheen.” Guitarist Robert Pattinson is playing onstage. Sheen begins a lengthy speech in his newfound Malibu Messiah semi-coherent metaphor-stuffed neo-Hunter S. Thompson style, talking about his “napalm dripping brain.” “I’m here to solve a portion of this grand mystery,” he says.

9:08 — Sheen: “I am finally here to identify and train the Vatican assassin locked inside each and every one of you.”

9:10 — Sheen’s promises are largely incomprehensible, though at least seem intentionally so: “Freedom from monkey eyed…sweat-eating whores. Freedom from the dour and sour taste of malignant reproach… I’m a giant and leaky bag of mayhem.”

9:13 – Sheen: “They took my awesome children… They took my sometimes bitchin’ job… And when they thought there was nothing left, they tried to take my heart and brain and titanium spine. But they could not.” Audience growing restless. This show is all pump-up, no narrative.

9:15 — OK, nobody understands a word Sheen is saying. “”Is anybody else as confused by this s— as I am?” he finally asks. There are roars from the crowd. “I wrote every word!” Later, a cab driver tells me that it’s about this time that angry fans began walking out of the theatre. 

9:18 – “Nothing terrifies a troll more than its own reflection,” Sheen continues, before shifting gears into politics. “In a recent poll, they told me I’d bring down that whore [Sarah] Palin. I don’t have time for that nonsense.” [Read about the poll he's referring to here.]

9:20 — People start booing Sheen. Not playing around, but actually booing him. Sheen yells, “I already got your money, dude!”

9:23 — We are watching video of Charlie Sheen playing Call of Duty.

9:35 — The show has become a padded and disjointed mess. Sheen plays an old short film he made called RPG starring a young Johnny Depp but the audience gets frustrated and starts booing. Sheen stops the video and says, “Okay, so RPG was a bomb. Tonight is an experiment.” One is reminded of Torpedo of Truth’s subtitle on the marquee outside: “Defeat is not an option.”

9:40 — Sheen says he’s going to “Tell some stories about crack. I figured Detroit was a good place to tell some crack stories.” This comment, not surprisingly, does not go over well. “Show of hands who here has tried crack?” Very few people raise their hand. “I don’t do crack anymore, but this is a good f—ing night to do some crack.” The audience boos.

9:43 — Sheen tells the audience, “You paid your hard-earned money without knowing what this show was about.” He asks if people have any questions. A girl from the audience asks for his best pornstar story. Sheen doesn’t want to tell that one. He’s starts telling a story about getting his car stolen — he says the story involves crack — but nobody wants to hear it. Another woman asks for a hug. He gives it to her and that’s nice — pretty much the whole audience could use one at this point.

9:50 — The show appears to be almost over. More padding, rap tributes to Sheen from YouTube. He plays a video that intercuts his 20/20 interview with new footage of him being obnoxious to Andrea Canning. It’s amusing at first, but drags on too long.

10:03 — The show is now an unmitigated disaster. There’s a fairly steady stream of people leaving early. Attendee Chris Acchione, a self-described Sheen fan who traveled all the way from Toronto for the show, says his entire mezzanine row walked out. “He’s making a fool of himself,” he says. “Is there a bigger loser in the world? He’ll be [begging] Chuck Lorre for his job back by the end of the week.” 

10:05 — Sheen is composing a live tweet. More disappointed comments from people leaving early: “I was expecting a comedy show.” “I could have done a better job.” “It’s just like hanging out at his house,” says a man wearing an “I Believe in Tiger Blood” T-shirt.

10:20 — Sheen plays the track he recorded with Snopp Dogg. But Snoop, despite promises, is a no-show (he was actually back in Los Angeles, performing live on stage at Nickelodeon’sKids Choice Awards). Rapper Simon Rex comes out instead while Snoop’s video plays in the background. Lights come on. That’s it? Fans angry. When Oliver Stone or whoever makes the inevitable biopic on Charlie Sheen’s life, tonight’s event is definitely making the final cut.

So what caused the turn around in audience response from one city to another?  Well I think the Detroit Free Press best sums that up:

In part, the “tiger blood” fueled, 45-year-old sitcom star gained the audience’s favor by fueling the longstanding Windy City vs. Motown rivalry. “Winning, duh.”

Granted, it’s unknown if members of his covert Sheen team helped plant the “Detroit sucks!” chants from the 3,600-seat Chicago Theatre, but Twitter accounts Sunday, including the Chicago Sun-Times’ Richard Roeper, confirmed the explosion of Detroit bashing.

TMZ.com, who was reporting news all day Sunday about the embattled warlock following the Detroit fallout, primed the Chicago crowd reading along in anticipation of the second performance and the national media on the scene following the Sheen-anigans with reports of beefed up security measures and a “do or die” tale before gloating that Sheen received a standing ovation from the Chicago Theater when he entered. What was neglected to be mentioned by TMZ, however, was that the 4,700 metro Detroiters welcomed the former “Two and a Half Men” star with open arms Saturday. Standing at attention, cheering – ready for the Sheen circus show to satisfy and entertain.

Sheen dropped the opening night comic in Chicago after the Detroit audience booed him off the stage and Sheen, upon taking the stage, urged the crowd to listen to him when he talked and “not be like Detroit,” the Associated Press reports.

Although Sheen declared his Fox Theatre opening night 20-minute rant a “radical” speech that “was going somewhere,” and even mentioned told the Detroit crowd that we were “one giant heartbeat and one conscious thought,” he dropped that long-winded segment from the Chicago opener.

Sources at the venue told the Free Press that Sheen, in the opening minutes, told a heckler to head back to Detroit. He even delivered a Detroit-inspired poem, although the Free Press told it was filled with nonsensical phrasing that never really slaughtered Detroit.

But, although reviews were much more positive than the tour opener in the Fox, the Free Press was told that much of the Chicago crowd was restless and, ultimately, the show was “boring.” That didn’t stop them from giving the former “Two and a Half Men” star a standing ovation as he ended the show.

Charlie’s tour continues, with stops in another 20 cities.  We will see if the audiences general responses are more inline with Detroit or Chicago.  I suspect Detroit had the right idea about him… GO TIGERS :)

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