Atlantic City

December 12, 2004

Where do I start?

On Saturday morning, December 11, I headed off to Atlantic City with my mother and sister to see Kevin perform in his Beyond The Sea concert tour at the Xanadu showroom at the Taj Mahal.

spaceyatlanticcityIt rained all the way in spite of the weatherman’s prediction that it would be sunny and cool all day long. We stopped at the last rest area before “A.C.” and I found a local entertainment guide for the week. Kevin’s picture was on the cover.

We saw no billboards advertising his concert and if there was a marquee with his name on the front of the hotel or theater, we missed it.

We were staying down the street at Caesars so after we rested and had a bite to eat and put on some nicer clothes, we drove down to the Taj Mahal and decided to find the Xanadu and then do a little bit of gambling while we waited for the doors to open.

This is where I’ll say hat’s off to whoever scrounged up some “stuff” for Kevin’s fans to take away as souvenirs. The only disappointment for fans has been that there have been no souvenir programs but last night, if you were early enough, you were able to grab some BTS cocktail napkins, a BTS advertising card, a glossy two-sided page that had facts about Darin on one side and Sandra Dee facts on the other, and one of those folded ad things that you usually find on a table advertising desserts or something.

The two things I heard most were “Where did you get those?” and “Did they cost anything?”.

There were a couple of young women standing around when we arrived. One of them had some red roses wrapped in florist’s cellophane that she wanted Kevin to have. My mother overheard someone say that they’d have one of Kevin’s people come out and get them. I hope Kevin’s “people” did! I admired the woman’s courage in bringing them to the Xanadu and saying the words out loud. I’m still feeling embarrassed about the roses sent to Kevin in San Francisco and *that* transaction was done over the phone!

BTW – did I ever mention the 18 yellow roses delivered to Kevin at Bimbo’s in San Francisco on the 5th? Linda, the owner of the Legacy-Unleashed email group and I came up with this plan several months ago, to send Kevin flowers when Beyond The Sea opened. Sort of an opening night kind of thing. We felt that the one thing that would immediately say “Bobby Darin” was 18 yellow roses. But they kept moving the release dates around and we weren’t sure when or where to send the flowers. Then the concert tour was announced and we wanted to send the flowers at the beginning of the tour and since we knew he’d be in San Francisco on December 5th and so would Linda, we picked that day. A Sunday. Not a day when a lot of florists deliver!

I found a florist who would deliver the flowers on that day and placed the order a few weeks before the concert to make sure they’d have yellow roses in stock. The phone call went smoothly until I got to the part where I had to say who the flowers were for and I could feel the redness creeping across my face as I said the name. To my great relief, as soon as I said Kevin’s name, the man on the phone said that Kevin was going to be at Bimbo’s and I said yes, that’s where the flowers were going to. I was so embarrassed! You know, when I’m sitting in front of the computer, conversing with other fans, this fan stuff seems completely normal. But when talking with an “outsider” it seems kind of screwy.

So anyway, we had the card signed Bravo Kevin, Congratulations on realizing your Darin dream. From your fans at Driving Mr. Spacey! and Legacy-Unleashed. And after chatting with the florist for several minutes about Kevin and his film and his soundtrack which was about to come out, I was promised that the flowers would be delivered and the man on the phone would be doing the flowers himself. That just left me with the worrying about it, which I did very well.

On the evening of the concert, Spacey fan Linda started to become concerned because she’d been waiting in line at Bimbo’s for several hours and never saw a delivery van so she asked an employee of the club if the flowers had been delivered. He said they had arrived earlier in the day and were beautiful. They were in Kevin’s dressing room and that he was sure to love them when he saw them because they were such beautiful roses. I hope he received as much pleasure from the flowers as we had in sending them.

Oh .. I was talking about the concert in Atlantic City, wasn’t I? So then we chatted briefly with other fans who wanted to know where the things we were holding were to be found. One fan asked my sister if she ever thought we’d be there to see Kevin sing and my sister said, no, she never did.

It occurs to me now that everyone should have been asking each other if we were fans from the Internet. I’d like to have known who was there for Kevin and who was there for Bobby Darin.

So after while, they opened the doors and let us in. The place was quite large. The first row of tables was up against the stage. We were in the second row and were a lot closer than I had expected we’d be. By the time everyone was seated, we were packed in like sardines. But no one seemed to mind.

We’d been told that the Taj Mahal allowed no camera use in the showroom. But just before the show started, an usher came by and said that everyone could take pictures during the first song as long as they didn’t use flash. There was a noticeable ripple of excitement spreading through our area.

“What? What did he say?? Pictures? We can take pictures???”

The funniest thing was seeing people grabbing their phones that take pictures and trying to figure out how to use them in the 30 seconds before the show started. It was especially funny because I wondered how many of those people had been so careful to make sure their phones had been turned off so that the phone wouldn’t ring during the show.

I was hoping for a picture opportunity such as at Iceman, when we got pictures as Kevin left. I gave no thought to taking pictures during the concert. I had been playing with my camera in the car on the way to AC and didn’t bother to change the batteries at the hotel and didn’t have any fresh batteries in my purse and I didn’t think my camera would take a picture without flash anyway but just as Kevin was introduced I decided to try the video part of my camera. You can take tiny little video or sound clips as well as regular pictures and to my surprise, I got 13 seconds of Kevin walking across the stage and back before the camera went dead.

My mother had better luck with her camera and even managed to sneak in a few pictures later in the show. As expected, people ignored the first song only rule. These pictures were taken by my mother.

Kevin was fantastic! We were sitting close enough to Kevin that we could see his bald spot, his little bags under his eyes and as my sister said, the veins in his hands. Fans of his behind-the-ear curls will be interested to know that his hair was short but while you could see a bit of curl under his left ear, there was none on the right.

MomAC1He wasn’t wearing the black tux that he’d been seen wearing in earlier concerts. This one was very snappy. I think the vest was the one seen on the inside cover of the soundtrack. The jacket lining was a bright green, kind of chartreuse. I half expected the yellow suit but maybe he’s saving it for Las Vegas. As a fan of his MGGE Christmas party vest, I liked the one last night.

He sings beautifully in person. He has such a mesmerizing stage presence. When I saw him in the Iceman Cometh 5 years ago, I never dreamed that one day I’d be sitting in the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City watching him sing for 90 minutes!

I think that underneath that serious ac-TOR stage presence beats the heart of a true entertainer.  The audience loved him from the second he hit the stage. Probably before that!

The jokes he told were the same jokes that he has told at all of the other concerts but they sounded off the cuff last night. If you hadn’t read about them in other reports, you’d have thought they were brand new. One thing that got a laugh was when he was introducing one song and said the title speaks for itself but they started playing a different song. Kevin joked that the song had spoken to *him* and that looked like it wasn’t planned. Especially since he went back to his music stand and rifled through the sheet music and was talking but forgot to use the mic. That happened a few times. We were close enough to hear him without the mic, but I don’t think the back of the room could!

Kevin dedicated the song Once Upon a Time to Sandra Dee. He said she’d seen the film 2 weeks ago and said she wouldn’t change a thing. He also said she was doing well. (There have been rumors that she is in very bad health.)

My mother enjoyed Bridge Over Troubled Water. I liked If I Were a Carpenter. His Beyond The Sea, Mack the Knife and Splish Splash are better in person than on the CD.

The crowd was very enthusiastic. There was quite an age range too.

There was one fan front and center who kept standing up and dancing in place to the slower songs. She was wearing a red shirt. Does anyone want to admit to being the lady in red?

spaceyrose2At the end of the show, one of the women sitting up against the stage handed Kevin a red silk rose and he thanked her as he was shaking hands. Is she one of the BAS ladies? I thought I’d heard that one of them was going to try to do that.

The band was great. The back up singers were great. My ears were ringing from being too close to the stage! During the second standing ovation, the guy sitting next to me was clapping so enthusiastically that I was afraid to stand up because I thought he was going to hit me in the head.

From my vantage point, as Kevin left the stage for the last time, I could see someone waiting for him in the wings with a white robe, the kind they throw on rock stars as they leave the stage!

On the way out, a woman walking past me told the gentleman she was with that she thought she liked Kevin better as a singer than she did as an actor. She was wearing a red/white/blue puffed heart pin. I wondered if she was there as a Spacey fan or a Darin fan.

After we left the Xanadu, we walked through the casino to go get the car and as we walked and then waited for the car, people kept staring at the BTS items we had in our hands. Probably wondering where we got the free stuff!

When we got back to Caesars, the Johnny Mathis concert was letting out. They had programs. But I’ll bet they didn’t have Johnny Mathis cocktail napkins!

*Below is the video I took with my camera. I had spent months telling people to remember to change their batteries before they went to the concerts and I had been playing with my camera all the way to New Jersey and forgot to change the batteries and they died just as Kevin walked out on stage. A few stragglers were walking past at the same time as you can see. A critic who later reviewed the concert said the audience was old and badly dressed.