Farewell Tour Reports - Mercury Lounge Party
Report by Matthew Cawley
| MERCURY LOUNGE 4TH APRIL 2001: DREAMS CAN COME TRUE
Melbourne Crown Casino 10:00 pm
It all started on the 3rd of April 2001, the day of the long waited KISS concert. I was stressed that day, because the removalists were coming a day earlier. After 3 long hours of putting on my Gene Simmons make-up, we got to the concert. The Rod laver arena looked unreal, we got their quite early; early enough to change my life.
Joanne, Gonzalo and myself all scanned our tickets to get through the turnstile, as the metal bars churned with movement. I had my eye caught on something, something red; something which involved a big bold header of KISS AFTER PARTY: MERCURY LOUNGE APRIL 4TH 2001.
Next day, a cold night. There was nothing in the house except the creepy sounds of the crickets. I left home at about 9:15pm to meet Gonz at 10:00pm. I was still pissed off with my mates for pulling out. Frankie said " Man I doubt they will be there, what about the Bon Jovi rumour?".I jumped in the car and took off. While I was driving down the Western Ring Road I had a silent prayer, I don't know the exact words of it but it was something along the lines of " Dear God, I know there is more important things to worry about like world peace, but if I could meet KISS, it would be instant bliss"
Got to the casino just before 10pm. The plan was to meet Gonz outside Sanity music store in the crown casino. Ironically the store was playing Kiss music, so I was preoccupied in song until Gonz rocked up. I met Gonz at about 10:15pm.
We decided not to waste any time and go straight to the lounge. The good thing was that it was free before 11:00pm. It was dead when we got in, they were playing all sorts of crappy music. The Mercury lounge is a nightclub as such. Its a rock club. They have a big dance floor and to the left of it there is a bar. They also have an upstairs section which overlooks the dance floor and another smaller room which is titled Spy Bar. Gonz and I were getting impatient as there was nothing to do. A band called Blimp 69 came on and played requests (no kiss tunes). After the bands set, a video came on the large screen, it was the Kiss Xtreme video. More and more people came in until it was packed. I managed to look upstairs and I saw people up there and by the staircase a security guard was there and next to him was a barrier. I thought to myself why would there be a barrier when people are up there.
Another band came on called Stamp, they did a couple of covers, more so originals. Gonz and I thought we might take a walk. We got near the other staircase, where another guard and barrier was there. Gonz then shouted to me " wait a minute is that Paul Stanley". I quickly turned and glanced up, and just outside the Spy Bar was Mr Stanley. We shouted, he only waved. I was ecstatic with excitement. I could feel the anticipation in my blood, it was like there was a party in my body and everyone was invited, it was an awesome feeling. About a minute after Gene Simmons came out with a girl. I couldn't believe my luck and the funny thing was that the band was still playing and no one noticed that Paul and Gene was here, so there was only a handful of us. I thought to myself heres my chance to make myself noticed, so I screamed to him. I even started to show him my tattoo, but I don't think he noticed. Gene was with a girl as I was saying before which really isn't unusual but Gene started to lift her top, to show the little handful of people her goodies. The girls was resisting but laughing at the same time. Gene made a gesture to beg her. So me being me I did it, he then noticed me and pointed to me, to show the girl that we are begging. Gene then told me to come closer, he said to me " Say Bunny". I was rapped he actually talked to me. I raised my hand and the I started to chant Bunny, the whole handful crowd started to chant with me. Gene then looked at the girl and pointed to us, he then without hesitation started to lift her top, very slowly until it all was exposed. Gene then unzipped his pants and showed his ass. It was so funny, he then proceeded to walk back in the spy lounge with her.
I thought to myself, I have to get upstairs. A security guard was near me, I approached him and asked " How much to get upstairs". The guard smiled with a smart ass grin and said " one thousand dollars" I said " How about you do me a favour and let me up there for free". He proceeded to say " Not a problem Ill let you up there and lose my job" with a smart ass voice. I thought to myself I am getting no where.
I looked at Gonz and said " Dude I have to get upstairs, I am going to try to get up" Gonz smiled and said he was going to stay there. I looked around the balcony, thinking of a way to climb up, but I quickly dismissed that notion, when I saw the other staircase and the Security guard in deep discussion with someone. I thought that Ill try the direct approach and pretend I am supposed to be up there. I started to walk to towards the guard, my stomach was going to explode, I wanted to make it. As I approached , the guard was still talking and his hand was on the barrier, he started to move it back, for me to get in. I started to walk up the stair case. I was ecstatic with passion, It worked. But that all faded when he grabbed my arm and said " Have you got a pass". I reacted quickly and replied with a calm voice " I'm touring with the Jets", I couldn't believe I said that, but he let go of my arm and said he was sorry.
MERCURY LOUNGE UPSTAIRS SECTION: PRIVATE FUNCTION
I couldn't believe that that actually worked, I walked upstairs to find very few people around, I could see the spy lounge, it was a little room with two misty glass doors, all you could see was shadows, I knew they were in there. A big bouncer was outside, he wouldn't let anyone in except people with backstage passes or girls.
I went over near the other staircase where I saw Gene before, I was keeping low because I didn't want that smart ass guard to see me. I managed to see Gonz still there, I waved to him, he looked up at me and couldn't believe it. His expression on his face was priceless, I really couldn't explain it. I felt like a duck out of water up there, it was all mini celebs and gorgeous women every where I looked. I went straight to the toilet, which was next door the Spy Bar. I walked through the toilet door and noticed another door facing the side of the spy lounge. On the door it wrote " NO ENTRY". I passed the door and went in the mens toilet. I called Gonz on his mobile.
It was hard to speak to Gonz to tell him how I fooled the security guard because people just kept walking in, and I had to act cool and try to blend in. After walking around upstairs by myself, I had to try and look occupied, I didn't want to get thrown out.
Ace all of a sudden appeared near the entrance of the Spy Bar, my eyes lit up, I was so happy. I went straight up to him and shook his hand. I couldn't really talk to him because he wanted to get inside. I thought to myself, not to worry I'll see him later.
At this point in time I tried to make conversation with people, it was hard because they were all snobby guests. I managed to get with a group of fans that were given the passes for upstairs. The funny thing was, is that they thought I was roadie for Kiss. So they were
really nice to me. They asked me if I was American and what part of America are you from? I tried to put on my best American accent and told them I was from California.
They were really interested in me, they even bought me a coke as I was on the job!
While I was in their group Paul came out of the Spy Bar and walked around, heres my chance to meet him. I went to Paul shook his hand, but he was in a rush, I think he was trying to look for someone. Sure enough Gene came out, he was stopped by a few people. He kept walking around and he got closer and closer till he had his back to me. I tapped him on the shoulder and shook his hand, I then said " It is great to see you". He looked tired and he proceeded to work towards the balcony. He was by himself, I wanted badly to talk to him so I followed him. He turned around and saw me, and said " I'm exhausted" he put his arm around me and said "Why don't you find yourself a girlfriend". I was still shocked, I really couldn't move, here is the man Gene Simmons, with his arm around me talking to me. I told him very nervously that I can't. He then pointed to five women dancing in the middle of the upper section and walked away.
After that fantastic experience I thought I was in heaven. I rejoined the group of kiss fans, By this time my mobile phone beeped, It was a message from Andy. I told him previously that I had to try to make it upstairs to see kiss, the message read: You are a legend! This must be a dream come true for you. Do all that you can, take the risks, and have the best night of you life. KISS KISS KISS KISS KISS... The time was 1:52am.
I laughed and wished Andy was with me.
I managed to see Ace again he was near the toilet with a group of guys drinking corona and smoking a cigarette. I looked at him trying to find the right moment to approach him. But that moment never came, so I interrupted and stuck my hand out. In one hand Ace had a smoke and in the other was a beer so he laughed and looked at me and lifted his hands, he then shook my hand and held his smoke at the same time. He was with a woman with a leopard jacket, that looked stunning. I went back to the boys, they told me they had to go. I felt worried as I had no one to hang out with, I then got a call from Gonz, he said to try and get him a pass to come up. I told him to meet me near the balcony and said ill come down. Now I cant believe I did this because I faced the risk of not being allowed up, I must have been on drugs. At first I asked the security guards at both ends if Gonz could come up, but the answer was the NO. So I walked down the staircase and asked the guard if I could go out and come back in. The guard said " Do you have your pass on you". I told him no. He said ok Ill let you come back up. What a fucking risk I took.
Back downstairs, I met with Gonz and told him so far what happened, he couldn't believe it, he told me to get hi a pass, I said ill try. I walked back to the staircase and the guard let me back up ( lucky ). I went back to the toilet and saw James. James is a member of the Screaming Jets, he was areal nice guy, he was pissed out of his head, but still I nice guy. Gonz called me as I was speaking to James. I asked James if he could get Gonz up here. James replied with " I don't have my pass on me", I then asked him if he could get me in the Spy Bar. He said he couldn't, I told him thanks and I told Gonz ill keep trying.
As I was leaving James walked through the NO ENTRY door which led to the Spy Bar. I looked on with great interest until a guy came out and stopped me following him. I said " can I get in" he said "No way". I walked through the door and tried to ask people for their pass. I tried to explain to them about Gonz and that I could borrow their pass. But no one would say yes, which is understandable. I rang Gonz and told him I couldn't get a pass. He said that he is going to leave, I said just hold on for five minutes. At this time Kiss weren't leaving the Spy Bar. I was getting annoyed because I never saw enough of them and at the same time I was happy that at least I got to shake their hands.
I was thinking a way to sneak into the Spy Bar, I was nervous because I didn't want to get thrown out. I thought I will have more luck trying to get into the NO ENTRY door, I walked towards the toilet and walked in, No one was there, I was thinking of a way to get in, all of a sudden the toilet door swung open and in walked Doc Mcgee ( Kiss manager). I said hello and shook his hand quickly before he had a piss. I walked out of the toilet and waited looking at the NO ENTRY DOOR. I tried to open it, but it was locked, I was cursing. The toilet door swung open again and Doc walked out, used a key and walked in the NO ENTRY DOOR, as he walked through, the door started to close, but it didn't close all the way. I walked straight to the door opened it and walked in.
SPY BAR (KISS PRIVATE ROOM)
I cant explain the feeling I got once I walked in, straight away I turned the corner and saw that same guy that blocked me off before. I quickly turned and walked the other way. Beside me was a seat, I quickly sat down. Just opposite me was Ace Frehley, sitting down relaxing talking to a couple of guys. I was just in owe, I couldn't see around the corner, and I didn't want to get up and walk around yet, so I just sat there looking at Ace. All of sudden Ace yelled out who's got the time, I quickly raced to my phone and yelled out "3:22pm", everyone looked at me funny, but Ace said "Thanks".
The room was quite small, with about four couch's, to the right of me was a bar, but that's all I could see in this view. I noticed that James ( from the Screaming Jets ) was there, he had his back to me, I watched Ace until he got up and walked to the bar, I then tapped James on the shoulder and said "Hello". He looked at me at first not recognising me but he then clicked and said " You got in, about time, I tried to get you in before, I left the door open I thought you would have jerried, anyway let me introduce you the rest of the band (Screaming jets), I don't want to be rude, but what was your name again?" I replied "Matthew". He then proceeded to introduce me to his engineer ( who earlier I asked if I could have his pass to get Gonz in, as which he said no) and the other members of the band, the last person which he introduced to me was David Leeson (the lead singer of Screaming Jets). He had a cap on and beer in his hand, I shook his hand and told him " Its really nice meeting you" which he replied "likewise". James then put his arm around me and said " I've known this guy since grade 2, I used to bash him and his back for vengeance, just look how tall he is now"
The other members actually believed this story in which James said " I'm only kidding". I started talking to Dave, telling him that the Jets rocked etc...
We talked for a while, when a girl approached us, she said she was 32, but she looked younger, She then blurted out stupid things until she mentioned the Rainbow Cafe in the US. I recognised this name and said that "Gunners had a Video clip Don't cry outside that Cafe" in which they both agreed. Dave told me that he met Lemmie from Motorhead there, and that he hangs out there every night". The girl whose name I forgot, started coming on to Dave and me, I told her that I wasn't interested and Dave showed his wedding ring, but that didn't stop her giving her number to him. Dave then told me that he once went to a bar in New York and saw Mike Munro ( A Current Affair ) wasted on Alcohol, I laughed. He then said that he had to go and at the same time even though Dave was a great guy I wanted to explore this bar and talk to Kiss.
We said our goodbyes, and I walked to the bar. I could now see the entrance where the big body guard stood blocking people through the misty doors. I stood at the bar near Ace, he was leaning on it talking to a couple of American dudes. I just stood there looking at him, as if I was in line for a drink. I laughed because Ace was drinking a Vb. After standing there for a while, one of those American dudes asks me " What's your twenty" I replied "What are you talking about" another one of the guys said " He means where are you?" And laughed. That only proved to me that yanks are wanks.
I sat down on one of the couch's facing the misty doors, I was surprised to see Eric singer, in his short black hair, with two beautiful girls sitting on his lap. This was amazing I was so lucky, this is the best night of my life. I sat there for a while looking around until Gene walked in, and out of all the places he sat next to me. I couldn't believe this. My mouth was open at the time in excitement, he turned and looked at me and closed my mouth by pushing up my chin. Two girls came and sat on Gene, I thought to myself what a legend, he is 53 and he is still pulling in girls half his age. Another guy sat next him covered in Tatts, he had a few kiss tatts which Gene signed.
I couldn't talk to him I was stunned, but I told him that " It was a pleasure and a honour to finally meet you" he replied " Thankyou" in which he stood up and I hugged him.
I then took off my top and got Gene to sign my arm to reveal my Tattoo. The guy with the tatts looked at hit and said " That looks unreal" Gene proceeded to sign my arm. He said goodbye to me and walked out of the Spy Bar. At this time everyone was asked to leave, because Kiss have already left. I didn't even see the others leave. While I was in the Bar I never saw Paul, he must have left early ( Later on I was told by Gonz that he left earlier on that night). I was in this room looking at my favourite band for about one hour. It was so unrealistic.
LEAVING THE MERCURY LOUNGE
I walked out through the front of the misty doors, down the stairs and out of the lounge. I immediately rang Andy and told him of the news. I then rang Gonz and told him what happened. It was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life I was so happy, I cant explain the emotions I was feeling. I hung out with the greatest rock band in the world. KISS.
I conclude by saying this " what was the odds of Kiss turning up at the lounge, what was the odds of me seeing them upstairs, what was the odds of me passing security and getting upstairs without a pass, what was the odds of me getting in the Spy Bar without a access pass. It was like winning Tattslotto.
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