... or, more aptly titled, the Guitar Hero World Tour Launch Party sponsored by Best Buy, Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola. If that's not the longest-titled event we've attended, then we're not sure what is. (Although you're in trouble, Guitar Hero, if the Japanese game Tohoku Daigaku Mirai-Kagaku-Gijutsu-Kyodo-Kenkyu-Center Kawashima Ryuta Kyoju Kanshu: Motto Nou wo Kitaeru Otona no DS Training ever has a launch party.)
We were inside the midnight sale / launch party at Best Buy in West Hollywood last night, where DJ Jazzy Jeff opened for the Smashing Pumpkins. Several bands were in attendance, along with the requisite roundup of actors and actresses from the Hollywood alphabet list. Head after the break for highlights and a full rundown.
Best Buy had multiple Guitar Hero World Tour kiosks set up in front of their West Hollywood location, including one full-sized setup on a band platform at the end of the red carpet. The idea was that the bands and celebs would walk the paparazzi line before getting to play. This probably looked good on paper, but it didn't turn out so well when the All-American Rejects tried their hand. They failed pretty quickly on "Eye of the Tiger" and never really recovered. They blamed their poor performance (it was medium!) on the fact that their bassist was playing drums, and vice-versa; however, they still failed out after they rearranged their lineup to which bass player Tyson Ritter said "It takes 13-year-olds with better motor skills than we have to rock this game."
All-American Rejects playing (and failing) GH:WT
Several other bands, including The Donnas, Hoobastank, and Jes Live were in attendance ... along with most of the cast of 90210 (the new one, not the old one, so we didn't get to see Brenda being bitchy while rocking the drums). Also walking the red carpet was Oscar Nunez from The Office, who admitted he doesn't play video games. "We play poker on set, but that's about it." So, you won't see a Scrantonicity comeback tour on Guitar Hero. It's a tad weird when arguably the biggest non-musical star walking the red carpet at your event is a supporting actor who doesn't play video games.
However, the Smashing Pumpkins did show up and walk the line and, based on the number of people crowding the barricades to take snaps with their cellphones, they were what everyone was here to see. Their single "G.L.O.W." is premiering exclusively in the game as yet another salvo fired in the Guitar Hero vs. Rock Band battle. Sadly, they didn't take up the plastic instruments on the mini-stage to try out their own motor skills; instead, they wafted past the free pretzels, cotton candy, and popcorn that Best Buy was handing out, heading over to play at on a nearby studio lot.
Party invitees and contest winners who were lucky enough to attend the actual launch party were taken by enormous buses (sticker-fied all over with Guitar Hero and Best Buy logos) to the location ... 1000 feet away. Yes, they loaded up enormous buses with partygoers in order to drop them off at the party that you could have literally hit with a well-thrown stone. Let's hope those buses run on natural gas because if Al Gore hears that they were flaunting the environment like that, he'll immediately start working on another Powerpoint presentation.
The GH-themed drink selection
The party was held inside a sound stage, partially made-over into the "Xbox Frat Party" experience, complete with fold-out couches, corn dogs, pizza, and of course bathtubs full of beer. They had over 30 playable kiosks set up, ranging from single-player to full-band getups, and they included all three consoles. They even had the DS version set up with headphones so you could play and lounge at the same time. Our favorite part was the open bar, replete with Guitar Hero themed drinks.
Next door on the stage, DJ Jazzy Jeff opened up for the Smashing Pumpkins, and the whole thing was hosted by Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath, which is a triumvirate that you probably never thought would be on one stage together (and surely a sign of the impending apocalypse). We sat through a few songs (you can listen to a couple at the bottom of the post) and then gathered a small group together to rock it out old-school style with some "Band on the Run" from Wings (89%, not too shabby!) before heading back over to the sale. We also caught up with a slightly buzzed Brian Bright, project director for Guitar Hero World Tour. He told us about a few easter eggs in the game, just before he hugged us and told us he loved us. Check out that interview here.
Billy Corgan, in a rare moment, not smashing pumpkins
Back at Best Buy – which was rebranded as "Guitar Hero World Tour Headquarters" – the line of people waiting to buy the game at midnight had grown to several dozen as they patiently waited while downing energy drinks and more carnival food. At the stroke of 12:00, they rolled up the steel shutters and the registers started ringing. As we ran to the parking lot to avoid the rush of people heading home, we imagined the sounds of thousands of plastic instruments, thunking away through the night.