The Rocket has landed -- if only briefly and without warning.
Sunday night at Bar Pink in North Park, a group of very lucky fans were treated to a set from local stalwarts Rocket From the Crypt, who are gearing up for a run of April European dates that start in Berlin on Tuesday.
The onetime Interscope-signed rockers spent the early part of Sunday evening warming up in front of a hometown crowd. Formed by singer/guitarist John Reis in 1990, the seminal San Diego act released seven studio albums before calling it quits in 2005.
Bar Pink's Dang Nguyen said the Easter appearance was more of a rehearsal than anything else. The band has been getting together at Reis' studio, Swami's Grotto, but the show was really prompted by the band's desire to get in front of an audience. T\here were about 200 people at the 7 p.m. show, but it wasn't a full house.
"I think, personally, I only contacted 10 people," Nguyen said. "We wanted to wait till an hour before, then we just started texting people.... We didn't charge a cover or anything like that. I didn't get to invite many people 'cause I was too busy taking care of last-minute preparations for the show, getting the sound dialed in."
Fans saw an 80-minute performance -- "a little banter, but pretty much straight-through," Nguyen said -- and about 20 songs, including "Middle," "Born in '69," "On a Rope," "Ditchdigger," "Sturdy Wrists," "Come See Come Saw," "Boychucker" and "Glazed," which ended the set.
"After they were done, John grabbed the set list and asked the audience what songs they ought to trim out," Nguyen said. "He asked them where in the set they lost it.... He was joking about cutting out 'Ditchddigger' for the European audiences and replacing it with 'D--- on a Dog.' "
Social media came alive with news of the “secret” show.
"#Secret #RocketFromTheCrypt show at Bar Pink! I'm in the back. #duh pic.twitter.com/GuIcby6pmY," tweeted @VirtMartin.
On Facebook, local drummer Jake Najor of the Styletones and Lord Howler posted, "Such a nice surprise to see Rocket From the Crypt play last night," while Ryan Hand dropped a Back to the Future reference, "Holy s---. Thank you. I just had the equivalent experience of stepping into the Delorean."
Facebook was also where to vent about not seeing Rocket From the Crypt. FM 94/9s Tim Pyles wasn't alone voicing this opinion: "RFTC is playing Bar Pink right now! And I'm working damn, damn, damn!"
Taking advantage of April Fool's Day, Pyles posted on Monday, "I just heard Rocket From the Crypt is doing a secret surprise sunrise show on Monday morning at the Masonic Temple!"
On the heels of a one-off reunion in 2011 for an appearance on the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba, (which also regularly features appearances by Reis as the “Swami”), the band decided earlier this year to reunite for the aforementioned European tour. San Diego fans won’t have to take an international flight or hope they stumble upon another secret show to see them this year. RFTC will be playing at the Ink and Iron Festival in Long Beach on June 8.