The show begins with Dave and Joe being flown to Lake Mead by Wayne in his personal helicopter. After what appears to be a very serious, if not boring, afternoon with Wayne, they return back to the Hilton. Everyone is awakened at 4:00am by fatigues-clad soldiers and hustled off to Fort Irwin, California to entertain the troops preparing for deployment to Iraq. I’m a mom, and love apple pie, so let’s grab our tissues, because tonight’s patriotic episode will have us smiling and crying (and I thought only The Contender knew how to do that).
Come Away With Me
As their reward from last week’s contest, Dave and Joe will be spending the afternoon with Wayne at Lake Mead. They begin their adventure with Wayne personally flying them in his private helicopter. From the height of the helicopter, Dave, Joe and the cameraman look down upon Lake Mead, and I am sorely disappointed. I had a completely different picture in my head as to what Lake Mead would look like, and this is not it. Basically, Lake Mead resembles the mud holes my sister and I would make in our backyard after it rained…on a much greater scale, of course. There is nothing, absolutely nothing around for miles…no vegetation, no people. It is completely desolate. Perhaps this is the peace he seeks when leaving the glitz, gold and constant ringing of slot machines of Las Vegas. It’s probably a great place to take a nap and let your mind wander, but it seems like a major snooze-fest to me. From the helicopter, they head to his private yacht, which is docked inside a semi-enclosed marina. I hope the conversation is stimulating, because the view is sub-par. Inside the yacht, it’s apparent Wayne doesn’t spend his money on decorating. The interior design is a time-warp back to the pastels of the 1980’s, and actually the fabric used on the cornices above the windows is the exact fabric I used in 1985. Hmmm…I had several yards left over, and sold it dirt cheap at a garage sale in 1987. I had no idea the woman who bought it was actually working for Wayne, ha. Disney is right…it is a small world after all.
Wayne’s personal chef whips up a private dinner for the three of them, which they enjoy along with several bottles of wine. I carefully note how much alcohol Wayne seems to put away, because I’m expecting him to be flying our boys back to the hotel later. If anyone is interested, unless there was some sneaky editing going on, I’m here to report it appears he had one glass of wine; oh, and a frothy pink beverage in a delicate champagne flute. They enjoy some small talk, until Wayne mentions critics, and says people in the entertainment business have thin skin, or they wouldn’t be “doing what they’re doing.” Huh? Apparently the question of Wayne’s alcohol intake has been answered. Could we get some coffee over here, and perhaps a breathalyzer? Dave corrects Wayne, and says that entertainers have thick skin, or they couldn’t take the criticism. No, Wayne insists, entertainers want thick skin, but the truth is they all wear their hearts on their sleeves. He’s got me pretty confused at the moment, and I haven’t had any wine at all tonight. Nevertheless, they bond and the hapless trio seem to have a good time together. I think I’ll have that wine now.
Once back at the suite, our boys are so giddy with excitement, they enlist Delisco and Sarah to join them dancing, laughing, and having a pillow fight, just like a typical group of American adults. I don’t know about you, but my friends and I do this every chance we get. I have no idea where Jennifer is, but she does not join in the frivolity.
Everybody Up, Uncle Sam Wants YOU
Very early in the morning two soldiers decked out in fatigues, enter the suite with whistles blowing and shouting for everyone to get up. With sleep still in their eyes, our friends are hustled out of bed, and are immediately encouraged, okay forced, into doing a variety of physical exercises.
From there they are told to pack some things, and board a bus to an unknown destination, which Delisco and Jennifer think is going to be Iraq…by bus? Excuse me while I pick myself up from falling on the floor laughing. (All right, all right, I know what they meant). They arrive at their destination, Ft. Irwin, near Barstow, California. As it turns out, Ft. Irwin is a National Training Center, and is the “only instrumented training facility in the world that is suitable for force-on-force and live fire training of heavy brigade-sized military forces.” According to their website, they train 4000-5000 soldiers a month. To read more, go here ---> http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...fort-irwin.htm. How about that, a recap and a link for military trivia. I aim to please.
Lt. General Honore’ greets them (not exactly a friendly greet, more like your typical military brusqueness), and informs them they will be challenged and rewarded today. Our group thinks they are going to be put through some kind of boot camp, but Wayne finally tells them they will be putting on a USO show for the troops, and depending on how they do, someone may be going home. He goes on to say he believes “no one has the right to live, unless ultimately at some time and point in their life, they really do something good for mankind.” After contemplating this for a moment, I realize how glad I am to be doing these recaps for mankind. Phew. So I’m good to go, how about you? Seriously though, he does touch on the importance of bringing a bit of home to the men and women who are taking such good care of us, our liberty, freedom and security.
If You Show Us Yours, We’ll Show You Ours
Before show time, however, they are given a mock demonstration of what our troops might have to face in a sniper attack in Iraq. Our group is shuttled to some bleachers, with a view of a mock-up of an Iraqi town. It’s much like what you would see at Universal Studios of a movie set for a western, except this is training for real life. As our group watches from above, a much-too realistic scene plays out with extremely loud gunfire. The emotional toll is quite obvious on our entertainers’ faces. They are pumped up and ready to put their all into the show.
As they prepare, Wayne brings out some other entertainers who will be joining them. First to arrive are the Dallas Cheerleaders, and Delisco removes the sunglasses he’s been wearing, to get a better look, ha! They are followed by country-western singer, Neal McCoy, and Brittany Murphy. As the show begins, the cheerleaders pick some lucky guys to come on stage and proceed to dance with them, with boas, of course. Aah, once again, the powerful boa. What’s interesting to me, is that everyone looks like they’re bundled up against the cold, and the cheerleaders are in their skimpy outfits. I try to tell just how cold they are, but I can’t discern. *ahem* Brittany tells the troops to “kick some hiney” and Neal sings some good-ol’-boy music. The soldiers have a great time, and yell their approval. Sarah is up next and sings a song that’s a little more upbeat than her usual fare. The guys look mesmerized by her, and she enjoys herself. Lots of cameras are being used, and Wayne has a big smile on his face. There’s a small band behind her, and three back-up singers. She’s very proud to be a part of this.
Jennifer really gets the crowd going and sings a very respectable version of Lady Marmalade, which earns her a lot of wolf whistles and catcalls. She is very engaging, and the soldiers dance along to the music. They enjoy her singing, and someone comes on stage to dance with her. As the camera pans the audience, I sincerely hope their loved ones are able to see them having such a good time. In two weeks, they will be making the trip to Iraq.
Let Me Entertain You…No, Let Me…No, Let Me
As Joe is getting ready for his turn to perform, Wayne informs them there is only time for one more performer. Now, being of a skeptical nature, I can’t help but wonder…is that really true, or is this Wayne’s doing to see how Dave, Joe and Delisco will handle the situation? Dave is the first to offer a solution. He suggests they let the last performance be another singer, which means Delisco will do it. Joe is disappointed, but agrees to go along with the decision. Delisco knows that Joe is extremely disappointed, and feels since they already had several singers perform, maybe Joe’s comedy would be better for the troops, and he passes the baton back to Joe. As the guys go to the tent to get Joe prepared, Dave starts having second thoughts, and throws it back up for grabs. While Joe and Delisco are muttering to themselves about how the decision has already been made, Dave runs to the stage, and as he admits later, selfishly takes the stage. Dave desperately tries to justify that he actually did it for the troops, but he’s already admitted he did it for selfish reasons, so it’s a moot point. While Delisco is miffed, and Joe is fuming, Dave does his act, and *meh* is the only word I can think of to describe it. I’m not impressed, but it looks like the men in the crowd are, so that’s what matters.
Suddenly Wayne decides to throw caution to the wind, and lets Delisco and Joe perform after all (yeah, sure, Wayne, I’m still not buying the “don’t have time” thing). They are thrilled, and with only five minutes to prepare, Joe scurries off to get his props. He shares with us he’s always wanted to do a USO show. He says it takes a lot of connections to be in a show like this…you have to either know Wayne Newton or Bob Hope. I’m afraid he’s a little late for knowing Bob, but I’ll let someone else tell him the bad news. He starts his act off with the blue man act, the shower cap swimming thing, which then turns into The Titanic. The crowd loves it, and Joe tells us later he felt like a rock star. He ends with some break dancing, and the guys are cheering. He high fives Dave, so there’s hope they’ll be able to work things out.
Delisco sings Higher Ground, and there is a lot of dancing in the crowd, with groups of soldiers grooving’ and movin’ to the music. Delisco really pumps them up, and the show closes with Wayne singing America, as the other entertainers, and soldiers join in. There are tears on a lot of faces, and I think everyone who was there got something out of the show. The soldiers were touched by the generosity of the performers, and the performers were touched by the courage of the troops. Our fab five have pictures taken with the soldiers and one soldier in particular says the show made him feel, “loose.” Ha! Another wants to marry Jennifer.
The show ends with Wayne telling our friends after a day like they’ve just had, he just can’t ask anyone to go home, and applauds them for doing an incredible job. He lets them know how proud he is of each of them. To thank them, he has set up a night of pampering back at the hotel, but first, they are requested to sign autographs, and Wayne has provided 8x10 glossies for each of them to sign for the soldiers. They’ve had a special day, and I suspect they’ll all be asleep before the bus leaves the base. Next week we’re probably back to business as usual…Vegas business, that is. Have an 8x10 you’d like autographed? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.