The Westin Horton Hotel in San Diego served as the final resting place for Rocket From The Crypt as they took to the stage one final time on Halloween night for some good old rock & roll mayhem. Only RFTC can turn a hotel ballroom into a full blown rock venue. With sixteen years, hundreds of shows, almost a dozen records and too many singles to count under their belt, Speedo, JC 2000, Ruby Mars, (the sometimes Notorious) N.D., Apollo Nine, and Petey X, blasted off into rock & roll heaven, leaving their fans with a genuine rock experience not to be forgotten.
The 450-room hotel also became the temporary home for many of the show’s attendees. Folks from all over the globe converged on the Westin and settled in rather quickly. The parties started well before the show, with case-loads of beer from the neighborhood Ralph’s streaming into the hotel steadily. Every floor I visited in the 16-floor hotel had a party, and everyone was very excited and welcoming and ready to rock.
What normally acts as a venue for meetings, banquets, and weddings served as the mecca for happy, drunken RFTC fans clad in costumes that could both frighten and amuse. My good friend Stella Artois helped warm me up for the evening’s festivities as I made my way down to the ballroom to catch the end of Deadbolt’s set. The self-proclaimed scariest band in the world softened up their appearance for the evening and dressed as ladies, albeit tough ladies.
Following Deadbolt, the MC for the evening came onstage to introduce a video montage set to sentimental and reminiscent music of images spanning the entire career of RFTC. It displayed the boys as the young, mighty bucks they were at the very start and tracked their progression into the rock heroes they ended up becoming. At the conclusion of the montage, the crowd erupted in excitement, knowing the guys were about to take the stage.
RFTC arrived on stage in their first of three costumes (tiki men) to the thunderous roar of the audience. It seemed as though everyone in the crowd had a camera, and although the crowd was rowdy, the cameras were all up in the air, snapping away moments to savor for the future. The band’s energy and enthusiasm transferred over to an already eager crowd. There wasn’t a still body in the room - everyone was jumping, dancing, and shaking their butts, shoulders and heads, singing along with Speedo. Wanting to make the most of the evening and get the entire experience, I was up front (where else would I rather be?), at times getting crushed and knocked over along with many others, but I was also seeing the small things - the looks the guys give to each other, their facial expressions, etc. In between songs, Speedo would acknowledge those in the audience who came from far away places, not only yelling out U.S. cities, but also various countries around the world.
The band played for nearly three hours, although they could have played a lot longer to the hungry-for-more crowd. The stamina they displayed was fantastic to witness. They just didn’t seem to want it to end. A good deal of The State of Art is on Fire was performed, in the order many of the songs appear on the record. RFTC was also performed in abundance. The video montage that was showcased before the show was repeatedly playing on the giant screen behind the band.
Throughout the set, Speedo eulogized the band, but the first of two really heartfelt eulogies occurred during an even longer version than the original long version of "Glazed". He introduced the band one by one and interacted with the crowd, thanking all of those who came out for the evening. For the second and final encore, I made my way back to get a different perspective of the show (and some much needed water). What I witnessed from the back still gives me chills to think about. Every single person in that room was moving along to the music - the crowd, the videographers, the guys in the sound booth, the guys running the video montage, the people serving refreshments, even the security guys were moving their heads. And this was almost three hours in. The final eulogy by Speedo came during "You Gotta Move", when he discussed his thoughts on the early days and his memories all the way through the years to this show. He again acknowledged his band mates before finishing the song in true rock & roll fashion - to the feverish uproar of applause and screams from their forever fans.
Rocket from the Crypt ended their run with the intensity they've unleashed from the very beginning, leaving a legacy to be cherished for years to come. Thank you so very much Rocket from the Crypt. You guys will be dearly missed.
Source: Jamie Froehlich