If anyone in Chicago knows how to throw a party, it's Chicago
Bull's badboy, Dennis Rodman. So when it was announced that he was going to
have a party last Friday to celebrate his own 36th birthday, eyebrows raised
around the city. When word got out that Poi Dog Pondering was playing, people
shrugged, shelled out the $25 and sold the place out.
Rodman and his
entourage arrived by bus at the new Drink around 11 p. m. and the party shifted
into full name-dropping, star-gazing swing. He took the stage to announce Poi
around 11:30, beer in hand, celebrating the Miami Heat's playoff victory that
would mean their series with the Nicks would continue (and he could party all
night and not have to play the next day!).
Then as Poi came on, a funny
thing happened. Rodman didn't leave the stage. Nor would he for the entire
evening. It was his party and he was gonna hang in the spotlight if he wanted
to. And if he wanted to bring up some of the other Bulls, he'd just do it. And
some dancers. And some friends. Maybe he'd give them all tambourines.
mayhem? Was there ever a doubt?
Rodman's appearance was rather understated,
by his standards. T-shirt and shorts with his hair dyed a yellowish blond.
Pretty low-key for a guy who has been known to show up to book signings in
Poi Dog Pondering, fresh off the release of their new double live
album, Liquid White Light, did what they could to perform a normal set.
But they gave in and let the wave of the evening carry them. And somehow, even
as Rodman slung singer Frank Orrall over his shoulder and swung him around the
stage a bit, they managed to deliver a powerful performance, mixing their
thicker-grooved numbers like "Platetectonic," and some of their older, more
lush songs like "Be the One."
The rumors of special guests started as soon
as the show was announced. Last year's party featured Liquid Soul with Eddie
Vedder and Blues Traveler's Popper sitting in. Both of them were rumored this
year as well.
Instead, Chicagoan Billy Corgan sat in for David Bowie's
"Heroes," and he was joined by Living Colour's Corey Glover as well as Brian
Williams from the Bulls on "Love to be In Love With You." (A number of other
Bulls stayed up stairs in the V.I.P balcony, although Jordan didn't seem to be
Later, Poi was also joined by Byron Stingily, one of the
pioneers in the Chicago House scene on his song, "Get Up Everybody."
hyped up the crowd, and passed out free shots (served at the Drink in mason
jars) or sips from his gallon of Margarita jar. He brought people out of the
audience to dance and played tambourine.
Was the party a success? Well, Mr.
Rodman didn't make a scheduled book signing at Border's Saturday--you be the