Louis did not lose his shit, exactly, when we told him we were changing the set, but as I think I told you, he’s a pretty deadpan individual, so maybe running his hands through his hair and staring at the ceiling for a few long moments was the equivalent of a tantrum for him.
“We’re just adding the one song,” I said. “Not changing anything else. And it’s in the encore anyway, which we talked about maybe switching up from night to night depending.”
“Yeah,” he said, sitting back down behind his makeshift console. “Yeah, okay. Let’s hear it.”
We hadn’t played Wonderland in a couple of months and we’d never played it live, I don’t think. The studio version was pretty straightforward.
“I have an idea,” Bart said, as we were plugging in.
“What do you think about starting with just the riff from the middle, solo, using it as a kind of stealth intro, and then it takes a while before you hit the actual opening riff. And even then, I think if you do it acoustic, or with the 12-string maybe, people won’t get it until the words come in.”
I pondered this. Ziggy pondered it, too. “When would the rhythm section come in?”
“After a verse or two? No, maybe the first time when you hit the chorus?” Bart shrugged. “We could try it both ways.”
The 12-string was in a case in the wings and I had to tune it a bit before it was ready to be played. While I sat there tuning it, I asked him, “What gave you that idea?”
“Remember that Tull show we saw in Providence?”
“At the civic center? Wait, I don’t think I went with you to that show. You just told me about it later. Fairport Convention opened for them… that’s all I remember. You telling me about all the metalheads wondering who the fuck Fairport Convention were.”
“Yeah, well, they did something like that with one of their recognizable songs, and I’ve always wanted to do something like it ever since. And Zig’s got the pipes for it.”
It took us a few false starts, since first we hadn’t played the song in a while and on top of that now we were starting in the middle and screwing around with it. But Ziggy and I eventually got our parts straight. I sat on a stool, facing him, while we turned it into a kind of duet, except I wasn’t singing, just playing. That is, until Louis said, “I think instead of the whole band coming in on the second verse, you ought to both sing. On the album it has a sweet countermelody.”
He was right, but on the album version Ziggy had sung both parts.
I tried to argue and I’m not even sure why. “If we do it as an actual duet, it’s kind of too ‘country’ there, don’t you think?”
“Only if you sing it in a twangy style,” Ziggy said, wrinkling his nose. “So don’t. Come on, Daron. It’ll sound great.”
“Okay, fine, give me a mic.” I moved the stool over to my mic stand. “From the top. I’ll come in when I’m supposed to.”
I did it with my eyes closed, trying to concentrate on the notes I was supposed to hit and worrying that our voices didn’t match enough to be featured like that, one on one. I thought I’d really have to belt. But he came down to my level, really, and it worked pretty well. Well enough that Louis asked if I’d consider using a cordless mic, so that he could block us face to face at center stage.
Ziggy seemed to love the idea. Funny, I wouldn’t have thought he’d be interested in sharing the actual spotlight, but it didn’t seem to faze him one bit. Maybe Prozac really did work.
We worked on that song for almost two hours. Then we ran through the whole set, start to finish, and that pretty much ate up the rest of our time.
We told Louis about the video stuff and how we weren’t sure if that meant we’d get to rehearsal tomorrow or not. We met Shiree for a late dinner at a Chinese restaurant a couple of miles away and had a fun time listening to her tell stories about some of the bands she and Louis had worked with when they were younger.
Then we went home and went to bed early, since we had to get up early.
I would have called it a perfect night, except that once I lay there for a while not sleeping, I started to feel anxious. There was no good reason for it, I’m sure, other than I wasn’t sleepy yet, but lying there made me feel anxious.
The obvious solution was to jerk off. When I started, I even did the corny thing of pretending it was Jonathan’s hand. But then my mind wandered, and I went sort of in and out of a dream, and the next thing I knew I was biting the edge of the comforter to keep from crying out someone’s name, possibly the wrong someone. We’ll never know for sure, though, because I kept my fucking mouth shut.