I had been to Las Vegas once in my life, right after I turned 21. This however was right after 9/11, so that always loomed in the back of your mind. It was nice to go back without any of that hovering in your head and knowing that the main reason you came was to see Rupert Grint himself.
Of course I have “met” Rupert in professional settings like premieres and whatnot. However I’ve never had the actual chance to really look him in the eye and see him in this capacity. It was a real treat for me and I think mainly because it was my birthday weekend (that Sunday being my birthday).
I’m not much of a clubber. Give me a quiet afternoon in a library any day of the week. But one should always try new experiences and while I’m still not very impressed with the night club scene, the place was quite interesting. I don’t know how it is most nights, though I suspect it isn’t much different aside from the dancing Gryffindor sluts! Hah! When Rupert did finally arrive, I think Anna described it best that it was like a zoo. Everyone clamoring to take pictures from a respectable distance. Unfortunately I believe security at the chateau made it worse by constantly trying to get in people’s way for the pictures and video. Had they just allowed people to take their photo and video and move, I bet there’d have been less crowding to where Rupert was. Still, it was so adorable to see him sitting there with a grin on his face and those goofy happy birthday glasses! It brought a smile to my face to an otherwise underwhelming evening for me.
The next day we got up bright and early for the Sugar Factory. We arrived about quarter to eight in the morning and stay there until just after 5pm. We were probably about 20th-30th in line at this point. By the time five o’clock rolled around there was at least 400-500 people waiting. When Rupert finally arrived you could tell by the screams he received and then the line finally moved! We got and were allowed to take a few pictures before we got up there. Once we got up to the table you could either have him sign something (I had my attitude magazine for him to sign!) and he asked your name and signed it directly to you with “love Rupert Grint”. I had told him it was my birthday, and with a genuine excitement on his face he said, “Really? Happy Birthday!” Which probably my birthday all the more special because, as I said, it was extremely genuine. He didn’t do it just to do it, he was very excited that it was my day.
I know a lot of people are blaming Rupert for how the event turned out. I beg you not to do that. It wasn’t his fault. Sugar Factory should be blamed here. They underestimated Rupert’s popularity, as they always do, and only contracted him for an HOUR. I will give them props as they did try VERY hard to get everyone in and Rupert did try to sign autographs as he went back outside.
All in all, having gone to other autographs sessions with other celebrities, this was about what to expect with only an hours time and a long line of people.
When we first arrived at the Paris Hotel where both the party and the Meet&Greet were to take place to pick up our “Couture Pops”, my mind was still back at the hotel, hoping my baggage, which had got lost in Chicago, would arrive in time for the party.
The party itself was quite nice. The balcony/terrace of the Chateau overlooked the Bellagio (and if you’ve seen the final scene of Ocean’s 11, you can imagine the view), while the interior was a pretty elegant and somewhat posh club. Very posh. Posh enough that we could have paid more money for one bottle of wine than for our hotel room.
Admittedly, having seen Rupert and his mates at Reading festival last year, this was not the kind of place I’d expect Rupert to normally go to, but then again, this was Vegas, and, being Vegas, the Gryffindor Go-Go Girls were quite tame.
After Rupert had spent about an hour in the club, he and his mates moved to the terrace outside (the music there was much better). Still being in the spotlight of people, Rupert wasn’t partying quite as hard as his mates, but it was still great to see him having animated discussions (no, he didn’t dance…) and enjoying himself. Neither the bunch of bodyguards nor the Go-Go girls gave him any chance to hide and mingle among the other people in the Club (the minority of them were fans), so he remained in the spotlight all time long.
Having bought our Couture Pops the day before, we managed the mighty amount of 2 hours of sleep before we headed back to get in line, and were somewhere among the first 30, having arrived at about 8am! With temperatures rising faaar too high, the crowd slowly grew until noon, by which time we were taking turns to walk into the air-conditioned Paris casino and sweating under our small sun-umbrellas.
It was in the afternoon that the line grew faster than ever, and they had to open up a second waiting area.
At the Meet&Greet, Rupert was just as lovely as always. Even though the securities ushered everyone past within seconds, Rupert gave everyone a smile and exchanged a few words, and of course gave them an autograph.
Most of that event was out of Rupert’s hands. Before the hour was over, they ushered him back outside, where he apparently signed for a few fans who were not let into the Store, and then ushered him off.
Having also been at the Meet&Greet for Cherrybomb last August, I had the impression the fans in Las Vegas weren’t that much different from those in London. However, the Meet&Greet in London was more personal and everyone had more time to talk to Rupert.
As many people were disappointed that they were not let into the Store, I agree with Tao that the setup was far from ideal. The shop itself was not closed, so random people (=non-fans) strolled inside to catch several glimpses of Rupert, effectively blocking the real fans from getting a better look. Also, it was pretty off-putting that you were told you had to buy a lollipop – and in the end nobody checked if you actually had one.