Charlie Sheen debuted his highly hyped "My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not An Option" tour at Detroit's Fox Theatre on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd that went from giving the star standing ovations to showering him with boos and finally crying "refund!"
So was it a winning performance? Not so much.
Things began inauspiciously. Comedian Kirk Fox came on at 8:10 pm to warm up the boisterous crowd, most of whom spent a lot of time booing the poor guy.
A few minutes later, Charlie came out and tried to save Fox by kissing him Jimmy Kimmel-style, saying: "Celebrate this man. I'll be right back, I promise." But as it turned out, that may have been the high point of the evening.
Charlie returned to start the show around nine, bringing out goddesses Nat and Bree in "Winning" T-shirts and had them make out. (OK, maybe that was the high point.) Later, the goddesses burned one of his trademark Two and a Half Men shirts. The show quickly devolved into a pastiche of movie clips (Jaws, Dirty Harry, Platoon, etc.), odd skits and erratic pronouncements.
Delivering a long, rambling faux-Presidential address, his "Manny-Fest-Oh," Sheen seemed to lose the crowd, and about 20 minutes into his address the boos began raining down in earnest.
The next set piece on the video screen was "Stalker Vids," a collection of random news clips, fan-generated videos referencing drugs and an animation of the "Call of Duty" video being played to Sheen voiceovers. "Winning!" All set to drum-and-bass music thumping.
After that, Charlie came down to sit in the front row to watch a short film titled "RPG" (Rocket Propelled Grenade). "It's about redemption," Sheen explained.
But about 5 minutes into it, the boos drowned out the film too.
So Sheen came out, played catch with a former baseball player, and apologized. "OK, so RPG is a bomb. Whatever! Tonight is an experiment."
And after a few more skits and bits, the crowd really began to turn on Sheen, shouting insults amid the steady chorus of boos.
Sheen finally snapped, "Park your voices for one second and pay attention to the man you paid to see. Tell the guy next to you to stop booing because he's ruining it for the rest of ya."
Sheen, clearly flustered, went off script and told the crowd he was "calling an audible" and changed course. But the crowd's reception didn't improve as a rapper performed before introducing a video by Snoop Dogg of Sheen's new song, "Winning." But by then Sheen had even lost most of his diehard fans. And when it ended at 10:10 pm, the house lights came up without explanation or announcement and the show was over.
"I'm not impressed. I was expecting more because of all the hype," concert-goer Tricia Price told E! News after the show. "Big train wreck."
"I felt bad for him," said her husband Don Price. "It was so bad I wanted to run up there and rescue him."
The sold-out show was the first of 22 he is scheduled to perform across the U.S. and Canada over the next month. Former Korn guitarist Rob Patterson provided musical interludes on guitar.
The 4,700-seat theatre was officially sold out, with hundreds of fans paying up to $575 for a backstage meet-and-greet package. Tickets ranged from $35 in the balcony to about $80 for premium seats. Sheen had announced on his website that he would be donating $1 from every ticket to sold to the Red Cross Japanese Earthquake Relief Fund. So at least the show did someone some good.
The warlock now heads to Chicago for a Sunday night show, with the tour scheduled to continue until May 3 in Seattle.
More than 15 minutes after the show inexplicably ended (ushers were literally vacuuming carpets), Charlie came back out on stage!
He greeted the approximately 500 remaining fans and took pics for two minutes. "Thank you all!" he said and then abruptly walked off. He seemed subdued and bummed out as security scrambled to get him off.