224. Back on the Chain Gang

We didn’t work on Candelight that night, but we did do Why the Sky, which far as I was concerned was probably the bigger hit than Candlelight because the video had gotten so much more play. At least that had been my impression. But then I remembered what Jonathan had said, about Candlelight crossing over into multiple radio formats. Would those be the people who would come to the shows? I had no idea. It was kind of odd to think that thousands of people–well, hundreds of thousands actually, if the sales projections held up–had paid money for our music and I had no idea why. Because they liked it, I guess. Liked it enough to buy it instead of something else, even.

I was thinking way too much.

We had a few debates about song order, nothing major. Which was fairly amazing. But maybe it was that we actually agreed on some things, and the warm-up tour had done its job in helping us figure out what worked. You try to build things up, pace out which songs are fast, which are slow, which are intense, which are well known. We knew, for example, it was a bad idea to put Candlelight after a song like Grenadier, because Ziggy’s voice needed to recover enough to handle it. Grenadier was even rough on my throat and I only sang the chorus.

The one thing we did debate, and didn’t settle, was whether Candlelight should be the first encore, or part of the main set.

“I feel like it’s cheap to hold it back for the encore,” I said. “Because people are going to be waiting for it, they’re going to demand it, so it’s like we ransomed their applause.”

“But what do you think the first encore ought to be, then?” Bart asked. “I’m assuming two encores at least.”

“I don’t know. If we get Why the Sky out of the way early… I mean, if we’re opening with Welcome, which just works on every level… I dunno.” My fingers picked through a melody while I thought about it. “We can come back from break big, or we can come back quiet and let it build slowly again…”

“In which case Candlelight actually would work perfectly,” Chris pointed out. “But I see your point about it being cheesy to hold it back.”

“What are they releasing next?” Ziggy asked. “I think we ought to know that before we figure it out. Maybe that should be the one we hold back.”

I didn’t see Carynne anywhere. “Last I heard we didn’t know.”

“We don’t? It’s not going to be Windfall?” Chris asked. “I thought that was the one Jordan was pushing as lead single.”

“Yeah, Windfall’s already out,” I said. “The question is whether they kick a second single out when we hit the road. I guess we better find out.”

Louis listened to all this keenly but said nothing until we were done. What he said, when I was putting the guitar in the case, was, “I’m meeting Shiree for a beer. You want to come along and talk about some stuff?”

“Um, sure.”

Ziggy crouched down next to me. “You mind if I come along?”

“Everyone can come along as far as I’m concerned,” Louis said. He pulled a beat-up baseball cap onto his head.

Bart wanted to get home to Michelle, Chris didn’t feel like it, and Carynne had to get up in the morning, so in the end it was just me and Ziggy and Louis who went for a drink. I rode with Louis and Ziggy drove behind us.

“Is it going to be okay to talk business with your ex-wife there?” I asked.

“It’ll be fine,” Louis said, with a little chuckle.

I admit I was picturing a typical wallflower woman who tags along with her “man” to band stuff. I’m not sure why, since none of us had a girl like that, but there was a type, and I was uncomfortable about how even women who weren’t that type got treated like it. Call it the Carynne Effect.

As we got out of the van, though, Louis clued me in on why I shouldn’t worry. “Sh’ree taught me everything I know about lights,” he said. “She’s the real genius.”

Ziggy’s hair garnered a few looks as we scoped out a place to sit, but that was about it. In the city no one would’ve even looked twice, but we were jut into the suburbs here, where space aliens were rare. We’d already ordered when Sh’ree came in.

“Louis, you’re an incredible dork!” She had some kind of an accent, Australian maybe.

He stood up and kissed her on the cheek. “Why’s that, love?”

“This isn’t even the bar I told you to go to. But I saw your car out front and figured I’d look and see… sure enough.”

“Is the other place better?” he asked, pulling out a chair for her.

She plopped down in it. “That isn’t the point. The point is, if I didn’t know you’re the kind of dope who would just go into a place because he parked in front of it, instead of the place where he’s supposed to be meeting people, I’d still be sitting over there, wondering where the hell you are.” She reached a hand across the table. “Hi, I’m Shiree. Nice to meet you.”

She shook my, then Ziggy’s hand, then waved to the waitress and ordered something stiff.

“So you’re the guys he’s working for?” she asked.

Before I could say anything Louis jumped in. “Daron here used to be in Nomad, you remember, Remo Cutler’s band?”

“Yes! How is Remo, anyway?”

“He’s fine. Still living in L.A.,” I said.

“He’s a nut to live there,” Shiree said with a shake of her head. “God, I hated the West Coast. Plus the schools are terrible.”

“Oh, um, is that why you’re here?”

“Pretty much. It isn’t for the weather, that’s for damn sure.” She took the shot glass eagerly from the waitress and knocked it back, then daintily set the empty glass upon the still pristine napkin. “Plus there’s plenty of work around here, at least at my level.”

“Doing lights?” I guessed.

“Yeah. between my regular gig with the Wang Center and Boston Ballet, and all the moonlighting for Boston Center for the Arts, plus child support, it adds up to enough.” She punched Louis on the arm playfully. “So what do you got cooking with these guys?” she asked him. “Big arena show is it?”

“Well, that’s the challenge. This tour they’re on, three different size venues, and they go from being headliner, to one of four bands, back to being headliner.” He shook his head.

“Nowhere you haven’t worked before though,” Shiree said.


“Piece of cake then,” she said.

“Yeah, we need to work out a couple of set pieces, two to three big effects I don’t want to overuse, and the rest standard.”

“That song you were singing this morning, that’s them?”

“Candlelight,” he said to me and Ziggy. “Yeah. That’s going to be one of the set pieces.”

He went on to describe our thoughts about the single overhead spot.

She shook her head. “Some of these venues, it won’t be enough. You don’t want to make it seem like, I mean… here.” She took a napkin and drew a candle on it, with rings of light around it like ripples. “Your downspot, it’s backwards. The place where it’s dark when a candle’s lit is right at the base of the candle, while the light goes everywhere else. You want something like this.” She drew beams of light emanating from the candle and then looked at Ziggy. “I take it you’re the candle.”

“I suppose I am,” he said, looking at her curiously.

“Are you talking lasers or something here, dear?” Louis asked.

“God, no. Too cheesy, too expensive, and fussy as hell to work with. Just do it with a Solar 250.”

“Hm, that could work.”

“What’s a Solar 250?” I asked.

Louis chuckled. “It’s…”

“Kind of like a light, kind of like a projector,” Shiree said. “And not expensive as these things go. It’ll make it look like sunbeams come out of your butt,” she said, raising an eyebrow at Ziggy.

“Suits me,” he said and crossed his legs.

“You got one at the Wang I can borrow,” Louis asked, “just to show these guys?”

“Yeah, I probably do, but it’s your balls in a sling if you break it. By which I mean all of your balls.” She looked around at the three of us.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

(By the way, thanks to all who donated in the past four weeks! Donations topped $100, which means I owe you all a WHOLE MONTH of triple-posting, three posts a week. So for the next month, there will be new posts Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday! Thank you all so very much! -ctan)


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