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My night at the Rose Bar

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Okay, now this is something I written in my spare time, involving my night at the Rose Bar the night GNR played. It's a funny but long story, so if you got some spare time, have and interest, or just want a bedtime story this is it, and hopefully I can fix the structure on here, so it is more clearer to read. I showed this to my teacher who was a huge GNR fan and she loved it (just throwing that out there haha), and with the help of a fellow forum member encouraging me to put it back up, here it is. Now I know alot of people here think these shows are only filled with rich people who don't care about music, but Hopefully this story shows that these private shows do have real fans attending and not some random celebs at a trendy spot. So I hope you enjoy it. Here it is:

The Rose Bar

It’s sometime after mid January of 2010. My birthday had just passed and there I was sitting in school, a local punk that’s just counting his birthday money given to him by some friends and family. I was saving it up hoping to get at least 200 dollars put away, you see, my favorite band Guns N’ Roses just began touring last month, and any minute they could announce a US tour and since I live in New York, the only spot they were going to play close to me was Madison Square Garden, the most famous arena in the world, and if I wanted general admission floor seating, (not that mid level seating I was at when I saw them in ’06, but they were still good seats nonetheless, and good enough for my first concert.) I got to be fast, and get tickets or they will sell out. As I sat there I was a little bummed out, considering Guns was playing a show the 17th, and considering they go on round midnight it’d be like a birthday show, only problem, it was in Canada.

So there I was, in class just letting the day go by. I was actually coming off a big show my school does called the Winter Concert, where they have numerous ensembles, the big one towards the end is the guitar classes, where I was going to be playing the solo to Sweet Child O’ Mine from Guns N’ Roses (ironic huh?). It was pretty cool to do a song you love in front of all your peers, and get so much respect and recognition for it. I was still feeling great after the show, and I felt invincible, like I am king of the world, all that was left was to just hang out, see some killer concerts along the way, and graduate high school.

Fast forward to early February. I was downtown in the morning, for a dentist appointment. After the dentist, I usually hit up some record stores along Bleecker Street. Now on Bleecker, used to be a little rock and roll club, known as CBGB’s. It was a place that had acts that ranged from rock to pop, punk, to hardcore. CBGB’s was one of the most legendary places to be in New York when talking about music, and I always had a fascination for it. Unfortunately when it closed, I didn’t start going to concerts, until the end of that year, when I saw Guns in 06. I always wanted to go to CBGB’s though, despite it being a clothing store that is under the name of John Varvatos, legendary fashion designer, it still would be cool to just be in that type of place, for the history and everything. So while I was on Bleecker, I decided, I should give it a shot, check it out, but I declined. I figured I’d do it another time with a friend, because things are more funny and less weird with a buddy right, especially if I was to walk in a high end fashion store alone looking like a schmuck, it wouldn’t be a good look. So instead after seeing some stores, and If I remember correctly, buying the Replacements “Tim” album, I took the train and went home. (The expanded version of “Tim” is a great album by the way, love the demos, along with the album, highly recommend it.)

Later that night, when I was sleeping I had my phone in my hand. Now I usually keep it next to my bed, but for some reason, I guess I really wanted the alarm to make me go deaf in the morning, so it was in my hand. But that was not what waked me in the morning to start my day, at the time I had my phone connected to twitter, why? I really did not know, but regardless, I felt the phone vibrate in my hand, as I woke I had a text from twitter. It read, and I will remember it to this day at like 4 or 5 in the morning, “GUNSNROSES: At John Varvatos CBGBS, Rocking it!!”. I looked, and said in my head, John Varvatos? CBGBS? NAHHH… but in my head I knew exactly it was more of a YEAAHHH. I tried going back to sleep until my five thirty alarm woke me, but the possibility of insane irony and coincidence bugged the hell out of me, so as I laid in my bed I finally got up, went to the computer, and went on a forum for Guns N’ Roses, to which I read as the headline of latest news: Guns N’ Roses plays surprise acoustic show in New York City. As I read on, it was finally confirmed, GNR played a free show, at John Varvatos, the same spot I was going to go to the same day, on the same street I was on.

My luck, I thought that maybe if I went in there, something could have happened with me and the staff, or it would have just been cool to go to that place, and get a view from outside the window, or something at least. But in reality, chances of me getting in were slim to none since it was a private show, anyway, so it KIND OF eased the pain. I texted my friend about it, and she told me the same thing also. Don’t you just love irony? I then showered, dressed up, threw on a Murphy’s Law vinyl, and got ready for school.

Fast forward again to Valentines Day, it was the last day of school for winter break, I was coming home from Manhattan, and I began playing guitar. I was playing Shackler’s Revenge, my favorite song off the album Chinese Democracy, from GNR. As I finished, and started putting my gear back, I got another update from twitter, it read GUNSNROSES: Where will we be tonight? Hmmm…? Now I don’t know if it was fate, or someone is fucking with me, but it was just the weirdest thing that every time I went downtown, Guns would just happen to show up and do a show out of nowhere. Now I got this text around nine thirty, at night, to which I was like, “Oh no, no no no, seriously give me a break!!”. Well, what was I going to do, it was the last day of school, I got nothing to lose, and shit to do, so I went on the forum to see if any insider info was going on. As I did some skimming through a topic about “Secret Show # 2”, I found out that Guns was playing a place called the Rose Bar. I went on Google maps got directions, and the hunt was on.

I took the train at ten at night, and for all I knew Guns, was probably already playing, but maybe I could get a video or picture from my phone outside a window and see the show from there, and hell, maybe even meet the band on their way out. So I rode the train, got out on 23rd street station, called my dad, gave him some BS story about me hanging out with my cousin in the local park, walked around, asked a couple (who smelled like straight alcohol, and good time) for some minor directions, and as the boyfriend looked it up on his phone, I eventually found the location, The Rose Bar. I am still very thankful for that couple, and I hope they got home safe, which I’m sure they did.

Now as I walked down Lexington onto 22nd street I approached my destination, the Rose Bar is located at the Gramercy Park Hotel, and while I got onto the block, I saw a group of people standing around in different areas in front of the place. This has to be it, I said to myself, so I went to one guy, and asked “Do you know what’s going on here?” “I don’t know” he said. I think he knew damn well, and did not want to ruin any little chance more he had than I had of getting in. So I went to this group of upper class people in their twenties and asked “Do you guys know what’s going on here?” This one guy with a fedora kneels over, gets in my face, and goes “Guns N’ Fucking Roses”. I put on a stupid happy face, moving my fist up and down and everyone laughed, and we all began talking “Did they go on yet?” I asked, “Not yet we are waiting” he said, and we all began talking.

“So what are you listening to?” The fedora guy asked (I had my headphones on, but they were off). “I was just listening to Iggy Pop on my way over I said”, to which he goes “Oh yeah? What song?” “A newer song, but it’s really good!! It’s called Little Know It All.” “Oh that’s cool, but you got to listen to the older stuff…” (So he was an Iggy guy… Awesome!!), we then talked on and enjoyed each other’s company. He then asked me if I had a pink band around my wrist (I’m guessing that was the pass to get in), to which I said no, then he said the coolest thing, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you in, we just need to wait for two friends.” This was it, not only did I go to the Rose bar, but these random people (A guy in a fedora, his girlfriend, and a tall Indian guy, for those keeping score), who I just met, were going to get me into the show. Now I will say, that if it wasn’t for them this story will not have happened, plain and simple. These people really did a lot for just some local punk, and it was all out of kindness, they could have just ignored me and said nothing was going on, but instead they accepted me into their group, and took me in to see my favorite band of all time. I have the upmost love and respect for all of them, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity they gave to me.

As we waited in the cold the two other friends showed up. One was a tall woman, who looked like a model, the other was a man with semi long blond hair, a beard, and a suave European accent, you just knew they were important people in the socialite world of New York. We all got ready and started to go inside, through this glass doorway type thing into the bar. As we walked up the stairs this security guard asked my friend with the fedora if we were on the list. He was not, but he told the guard that he knew the people that was, and that was the tall model woman, and the guy with the beard, They were able to get in, but he told us we had to leave, or something like that, saying the bar was full, and he is having a difficult time, and his hands were tied, or something along these lines, and we couldn’t get in, despite the wrist bands my friends had. The remainder of us, Fedora guy, his girlfriend, and the tall Indian guy where outside waiting. I had no idea what was going on, but I had a bad feeling that I won’t be able to get into the show, my friends either.

Fedora guy then got a text, and said “Okay, we can get in follow me.” I think that the girl and the guy told security at another point of entry about us, so we can get in, or something, that’s what I think, but anyway, we were good as we made our way through the main entrance of the Gramercy Park hotel, home of the Rose Bar. As we went in, we met up with the two other people, and we even saw some famous people along the way. Adrian Grenier, the star of the show Entourage hanging out with a girl, when Fedora guy brought us along to introduce him to everybody. I shook his hand, and they spoke for a bit (Now at the time, I knew who this guy Adrian was, but never really cared, afterwards, I decided, to watch Entourage to check it out, and I got to say, that’s one of my favorite shows now, go figure). We then walked through the GPH lobby into the Rose Bar, where the security let us in no problem. I was there. This was it.

“Don’t embarrass us”, the girlfriend said playfully, as we walked into the bar, the room was dimly lit, with blue lights over the rose decorated fire escape, which would later be the stage. How did I know? I saw the microphone that belonged to Axl Rose. Now if I was to get thrown out somehow, I would not care. I came far enough and you know what? I would have been happy, but I still wanted to see the show. As we continued walking, we saw numerous celebrities (Including my favorite actor, Mickey Rourke from the movie “the Wrestler”), Fedora guy saw, and spoke to Russell Simmons who was sitting down. It’s funny because I was wearing ripped jeans, a leather jacket, a flannel shirt, a Run DMC hoodie, and a CBGB’s shirt. Now for those who know Russell Simmons was the founder of Def Jam records, who’s top group in the 80’s was Run DMC, it did not hit me at the time, but the hoodie I was wearing basically belonged to this guy, and I should have shown him, but at that moment I just wanted to lay low, avoid security and enjoy the show. So we walked on into the middle of the back of the room, where they met the rest of their friends.

It’s funny because you know the wardrobe I had on? Well as I looked all it was around me was models and guys in suits basically, and this schmuck is in the middle of it. I even caught some stares from models walking by too, not like “Oh, he’s cute”, more like”Who is this motherfucker?” I did not care though; I just went about my business. Now usually, with friends I never shut the fuck up, but this time I did not speak until spoken to, and even then barley said a word, I did not want to mess this up. We all had fun waiting for the band, and I even met another dude who knew my new friends. “He’s my little brother”, Fedora guy’s girlfriend told the guy, to which I played along. He believed it, and he and I started talking about music, he saw my CBGB’s shirt, and he brought up the club, and I brought up legendary hardcore band the Cro Mags, who were famous for playing there, but not exactly famous everywhere else. “Cro Mags? Yeah I saw them back when they were touring the Age of Quarrel album”. Holy shit. These people are awesome. I thought this crowd was full of upper class people who only knew mainstream stuff, but this guy saw the Cro Mags, these people were real fans back in the day, and they know their shit. “Here ya go man”, fedora guy gave me a glass of champagne that he got from the bar, we all toasted and drank. “Oh yeah, here wear this…”, he then gave me his fedora to wear for the show. Guess he saw the schmuck sticking out in the crowd.

Now as we were still waiting, my friends wanted to smoke, but had no cigarettes. Now I recently turned eighteen last month, so for my birthday, I bought my first pack of cigarettes, just to have them really, I don’t really smoke much, once in a very long while. So when the girlfriend asked, you got anything to smoke? I came through, and gave everyone cigarettes, I had Marlboro medium reds, and they loved it. I guess I was a full fledged member of the crew now. Just as we were all having a good time, the band finally hit the stage approximately at 2:29 am. The drums kicked in to Mr. Brownstone, and we all started partying, as Axl went on and sang the first lines. After that song the lights dimmed red.

It was the greatest show of my life, and it was awesome to see everyone partying. When they played it’s so easy, Fedora guy even started moshing, and it was funny because all that was around him was models and guys in suits. He even started yelling “PLAY DON’T CRY!! DON’T YOU CRY MOTHERFUCKER!!”, (Rest in peace Shannon Hoon). He then got a great idea. “Hey James you wanna crowd surf?” “Hell yeah bro!!” He then told the big Indian guy, and we all got ready to send me over the crowd. I put my foot on his hand, he lifted me up, I grabbed onto the Indian guys shoulder, and they threw me up, only problem was, the people ahead of me saw me and said “I’m not catching this motherfucker”, and they parted better than Moses could part the red sea, I fell on my back broke a champagne glass, and laid there for a couple of seconds as I was helped up. Some guy gave me the hat back and goes “Are you going to do that again?”, “Nope!!”, and that was it. Great times.

Later on in the show, Fedora man wanted to go up to the roof, “Hey man, where you going? You got to stay for the whole show!!” “I’m old man, I’m going upstairs, hey later on if you want come up tell the lady with the list that you know me, my name is Alexi.” “Alright Alexi, see you around bro, and thank you.” He then went upstairs with his friends. I stayed for the rest of the show, then went upstairs, but we will get to that later. As the show went on, I began to move closer and closer, to the point I was front and center of Axl. During Nightrain or Paradise City, I even gave him a fist bump, but I’m not sure if it was a fist bump considering his hand was open, more like a five bump. The show ended. I did it, I finally saw Guns, and the greatest show of my life was finally all over. Afterwards, there was this cute girl next to me and asked her, “Hey you want to go upstairs, I can get you in through the list?”, I got turned down, but what the hell, why not right? But at least I got a pick from Bumblefoot, that I asked some guy near his microphone stand to get me. He gave me two and I gave one to a guy near me who wanted one. He gave me a hug, and I said “We’re all family here!!” “Guns N’ Fucking Roses” he said. “Theres another pick on the stage on the floor someone told me so I was reaching around the stage and got the pick. It turned out to be Tommy Stinson’s pick, my favorite bass player, formerly of the Replacements, I even took a piece of broken guitar string that belonged to guitarist Dj Ashba, why not right? I then left for the roof.

As I waited in the lobby for the elevator, this short guy comes up to me. I seen this guy in pictures with Guns before, his name was Fernando, “Hey did you like the show?” he said, “Yeah bro!!” “Here you go”, He gave me Frank Ferrer’s drumstick that he used for the show. I was so happy, I thanked him, and continued to go into the elevator. I went to the bar at the roof, but my friends were gone. They must have left early I thought, but I figured I would stay because it was like four in the morning, and I had to take the train home, so I sat down and decided to wait it out till the sun came up. A waiter then asked me if I wanted anything to drink. “What do you got?” I asked him. “Amstel and something else” I did not remember the second one. “Amstel” I said, soon enough he came back with two bottles and, peanuts!! He brought me peanuts!! “It goes with the beer” he said, and I began drinking. When I was done, he came back. “Want more?” I hesitated since I still have to take the train, then he said “It’s free.” “Okay bring it on!!”, he came back with two more.

Now I’m drunk, and I’m sitting by myself in the bar, listening to Shackler’s Revenge, and other songs on my iPod. This cute waitress comes up to me asking if I’m okay, I go “Yeah”. She then said “We are actually going to close, so you might want to get ready.” “Okay” I got up and asked her where the bathroom is, I stumbled to the co gender bathroom, took a piss stumbled out, and took the train home. I still had some beer left in me, so when I was on the train, I had to take some pit stops along the way. I would get out of the train, find a wall, and in front of everybody in the station, I pissed on the wall and waited for the next train. There was even a cop in one train, but I played it cool, and did not get in trouble. I got out on my stop, ran home, took a piss, spanked my shit, and went to bed. That was it. My adventure was finally over. I did it. With the help of some good friends and the mentality of nothing to lose, I did it. I finally saw Guns N’ Roses and it all happened at the Rose Bar.

This story is for Alexi, and his friends, thank you so much!!

Edited by Shackler118
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Thank you very much for re-posting your story up. This is one rare time that a post this long held my interest all the way through. SOmetimes being in the right place at the right time surrounded by the right people makes things happen. I am glad you not only got to see this band, but got to experience then in such an intimate setting. Thanks again for sharing your story


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Thanks for all the positive feedback. More irony, I was a spot on a guest list today for a cruise with two bands, and remember in the story where I threw on a Murphy's Law vinyl? Well I went just now to check out whats going on in the show on facebook since I'm actually going, and Frontman Jimmy G is the guest Dj!! How sick is that, and I won the contest through a place called Blogs N' Roses.com haha!!

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