The McBride Diaries (Vol.5)
Posted on 10/18/2002at 1:23 AM
What a gig I had on Monday night in Beverly Hills! The Carousel of Hope foundation had its annual charity event, and the performers were Sting, B.B.King, and Elton John. Excuse me...SIR Elton John. A few days before the show, I received a call from the musical director asking would I "mind" playing behind B.B.King. You dig that? Would I "mind??" Needless to say, I told him yes. My only hope was that we would get time to rehearse. B.B.King is the LAST man on earth who's music I would want to screw up, you know? Anyway, getting to play behind Sting and B.B.King on the same night was a true blessing. With B.B., we played "Let The Good Times Roll" and of course, "The Thrill Is Gone".
This was indeed the first gig I've ever done being that close to so many superstars. It was a private event, so there were no fans or paparazzi cluttering up the joint. The guests included Sylvester Stallone, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier, Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, Elizabeth Hurley, Lisa Kudrow, etc, etc, etc. Jay Leno was the emcee. The gig was in the Beverly Hilton Ballroom, so it was an intimate, cozy atmosphere considering all the stars in the joint. (yes, i'm fully aware that i just used "joint" two sentences ago) Anyway, the show got started with Mr.B.B.King. Can I tell you that he is the coolest, sweetest, most humble man one could ever meet. Because we didn't have a lot of time to rehearse, he said, "Don't worry, fellas. We'll just talk it down before we hit, and we'll take it from there. You'll feel it." He was MAD cool. As we walked onstage, sitting DIRECTLY in front of me at the front table - I mean like, six feet away - was Raquel Welch. Maaaaannnnnnn.... Jeez, she is absolutely GORGEOUS!! Her skin was perfect. Her teeth were perfect. Her hair was perfect. The band was completely shell-shocked. I don't know who the joker was she was with, but his vibe wasn't right. (I know - I'm hatin', right? Ha-Ha!) After we opened with "Let The Good Times Roll", we were to be joined by Kelsey Grammar for a quick - VERY quick - rendition of the theme from "Frasier". I know - weird, right? Anyway, we're about 12 bars into the theme from "Fraiser" when all hell breaks loose. People are jumping up from their tables, some are gasping in horror, and all of us on stage have no idea what's going on. Needless to say, we were quite worried. Jay Leno jumps onstage and says "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a medical emergency. Is there a doctor in the house?" You never ever want to hear that. Especially at a function like this. It turned out that Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, had collapsed. The paramedics rushed in, and worked on him. There was such commotion, we couldn't see what was really going on. Turns out that he was ok. The news report was that he "pulled a muscle in his neck." However, I saw what I saw and I don't think you need a two-alarm paramedic team for a neck spasm. I never fully believe what I hear on the news. Anyway, the best part of this story (and possibly the best part of the entire night), is that when all of this commotion was going on and people and paramedics were running around in a frenzy, B.B.King grabs my sleeve and says, "Hey Bassman..........................................sure are some fine looking mamas in here tonight, huh?" What timing, man!
We went on to finish BB's set (we never did finish Kelsey Grammar's thing), then Sting came on and did his set (gawking at Raquel Welch just like the rest of the band!). After the show, we all went to our hotel to have a nightcap. Then me, Sting, Chris Botti, pianist Dave Hartley, and about 25 innocent bystanders were treated to a drunken medley of show tunes by me and Sting! See, the crew still had my bass at the gig, so I couldn't play. I had to sing! Sting and I sang, "Luck Be A Lady", "Love For Sale", "Fly Me to The Moon", and "My One And Only Love". Then we did somewhat of a slapstick thing on "My Funny Valentine":
Sting: "My Funny Valentine...."
Me: "Back up - I don't play that!"
Sting: "Sweet Comic Valentine...."
Me: "Do I look like Trudie to you, chump?"
Sting: "You make me smile...."
Me: "That's nice - now back up!..."
What a great time we had. A night to remember forever.