Gateway Squad Members Appear On Stage With Weird Al Yankovic

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mrivorey
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Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:54 pm
First Name: Christopher
Last Name: Moody
TK Number: 394
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Gateway Squad Members Appear On Stage With Weird Al Yankovic

Post by mrivorey »

Members of the Gateway Squad, assisted by central Missouri members of the 70th Explorers appeared on stage with Weird Al Yankovic on August 8, 2008 at the St. Charles Family Arena. Six Stormtoopers, two Biker Scouts, two Tie Fighter Pilots, and Darth Vader himself danced behind Weird Al while he sang the Saga Begins.

The evening started off with members arriving at the Family Arena to receive our backstage passes. Troops were presented with custom "501st Legion" passes with a picture of Vader underneath the official Legion banner logo. They were also surprised to discover that they would have their own dressing room complete with couches, coffee table, and assortment of cold drinks.

"Hammer", the stage manager, showed up quickly to do a run through of the routine and lay down the ground rules for being back stage. He also informed the troops that they would be fed, just as soon as Al and the band was finished with their dinner.

With full bellies, members started rehearsing a few more times and going over the plans for recording the video. Someone eventually noticed the time and the troops suited up for some dress rehearsals. After a few of those, "Hammer" was back to do another run through... or so they thought.

Instead, he says "Lets go!" Asked when they were going on, his reply was "Four minutes." At this point TK-394 yelled "We're on! Let's go!" spurring the rest into action. Darth Vader and TB-8101 struggled to get the Sith's helmet on while the rest of the of troops filed out of the dressing room and eventually to the side of the stage. The squad waited there nervously expecting their cue at any moment, and wondering whether the Dark Lord and biker scout would make it in time.

Luckily, they did. With mere seconds to spare, they stumbled through the dark and into place. And suddenly everyone was lining up on stage while an audience of thousands cheered and screamed. Video of the performance can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6iJp5ZVVhk .

The troops were invited to watch the rest of the concert after the show was over, which they did from literally the top row of an apparently sold out arena. When the show was over and members were waiting for a meet and greet with Weird Al, a few troops took some of their gear out to their cars.... and were surprised to find fans waiting for Al by the loading dock gate. They were even more surprised when those fans cheered for them yelling out "501st!" One stormtrooper was quoted as saying, "Really? Me??"

Weird Al showed up shortly thereafter for photos and autographs. Each trooper had him sign their backstage pass, and got an individual picture with him. They all then took a large group shot. You can find these photos, and more from this event, at http://70thexplorers.com/event_pics/200 ... StCharles/ .

Troopers appearing on stage this event are as follows. From the Gateway Squad: Dave Barkovitz (TK-6206), George Bryson (TK-5593), Tristan Bryson (TK-8229), Christopher Moody (TK-394), Christina Person (TI-2629), Curt Stanfill (TK-1161), Alexandria Wheeler (TB-4807), Milissa Wheeler (TI-2482), and Ral Wheeler (TK-0488). Traveling from Central Missouri: Chris Adams (SL-8100), and Bernadette Adams (TB-8101). Assisting with costumes, still photography, and running video: Maggie Barkovitz, and Eric Wickes (ID-6720).
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