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Sheen finds 'winning' formula in Chicago

By Rachel Wells, CNN Entertainment Producer
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Charlie Sheen's #notwinning tour opener
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Charlie Sheen completely revamps the show that bombed in Detroit
  • He turns his "Violent Torpedo of Truth" tour into a talk show
  • Why does he pay for sex? He "ran out of things to buy," he says

For the latest on Charlie Sheen, watch HLN's "Showbiz Tonight" at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on Monday.

Chicago (CNN) -- Was Saturday night some crazy bad dream? Because the Charlie Sheen show I saw at the Chicago Theatre on Sunday night bore absolutely no resemblance to whatever it was the Detroit crowd and I witnessed Saturday.

The entire nonsensical, rambling, random multimedia production? Scrapped.

In its place: a live 90-minute talk show, with Sheen as the guest. From the start it was obvious a whole new show was planned.

Gone was the sadly unfunny comedian warming up the crowd. Instead, a guy who never introduced himself to the audience was on stage at about 8:15 p.m. to introduce Sheen to Chicago. (I happened to recognize him since I interviewed him the day before in Detroit -- Sheen's tour promoter from Live Nation, Joey Scoleri).

The crowd gave the headliner a standing ovation.

Sheen replied, "Wow ... wow," inserting one of his trademark expletives.

The actor and the still-unknown-to-audience "other guy" (Scoleri) sat down in two chairs on a spartan stage, with the audience still standing and cheering, then chanting "Detroit sucks! Detroit sucks!"

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"No, they don't," Sheen said into the mic.

Scoleri was now the emcee, simply asking Sheen preplanned questions covering everything, including the "goddesses," his marriages, his firing from "Two and a Half Men," troubles with the law in Aspen, Colorado, call girls at New York's Plaza Hotel and why he pays for sex.

Answer: "I have millions to blow, and I ran out of stuff to buy."

It was classic Sheen -- caustically funny, crude, shocking and downright hilarious.

He was relaxed and smoking and playing with audience members with the emcee as referee.

He told the story of how he passed up being the original "Karate Kid" so he could take a much better opportunity in "Grizzlies 2," based on his dad's unwise advice.

Laid back and comfortable, Sheen became the guy Detroit came to see but didn't get. This was just funny, funny Charlie.

Yes, booze abounded here, too. And throughout, the highly intoxicated crowd was so pleased with Sheen that many just shouted, "(Expletive) Detroit!"

It was as though the packed house of about 3,600 fans in Chicago couldn't understand how Detroiters could have booed this show.

I wanted to stand up and scream at them, "Detroit didn't have this show!" and then scream back at Sheen and the "other interviewer guy," "Can you please bring this show back to Detroit?"

iReport: Fans cheer Sheen in Chicago

Detroit was apparently some demented practice session. Here in Chicago, not much circuitous babble about Vatican assassins and trolls and warlocks -- some, just not 20-minute rants.

Sheen felt the love and got his game on in Chicago.

At the merchandise stand, I bypassed the shirt that said "Sheenius" and instead bought the $15 dog tag, which on one side says: "Charlie Sheen's Violent Torpedo of Truth Defeat is Not an Option Tour 2011."

The flip side says....wait for it..... #winning. I'm wearing it now.

CNN's Kareen Wynter and Rachel Wells contributed to this report

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