No one fainted at the amphitheater show, at least, not that I saw. The audience was less raucous, and stayed in their seats for the most part, and those who wanted to dance moved off to the sides and up the hill. The stage was a straight edge across the front, no tongue, not even a curve, and made of concrete and stone, so maybe it was a good thing people weren’t flinging themselves against it. The sun was just setting when we started, which I think was timed on purpose, because it was beautiful. Our stage lights didn’t have as much effect, but the natural light of the sky was just gorgeous.
I had my moment of “fingers meandering without me” partway through the first set when there was a glitch with Ziggy’s microphone and while they scrambled to replace it (he was using a wireless one, but handheld). I filled the silence (such as it was, people were cheering during it anyway) with something… Bart was again the first one to pick it up, and Chris very quickly thereafter: Girl from Ipanema. Right. Like it had moved like a virus from Bart’s fingers to mine the other night.
Even funnier, Ziggy then jumped in with new mic in hand and knew the fucking words. I could hear Colin cracking up in the wings. We didn’t do a long rendition of it, maybe two minutes, but a pretty credible one when you consider we were faking our way through it, in front of a live audience.
We got back on the setlist after that, but the whole show felt more improvisational. Somehow the outdoor air and the more intimate crowd just loosened us up, I think.
The venue was similar to the one where they’d filmed a lot of the Candlelight video, but what was amazing was, with the steep hill in front of us, when the whole audience held up their lighters and flashlights it was like looking into a wall of fireflies. I basically fell to my knees and worshipped with my solo.
And that was the highlight of the day, even better than the gold record.
Afterward we went back to the hotel which was in LA. We hadn’t been there yet, though the crew had, I guess, so we already had keys.
I recognized the place the moment we walked into the lobby though. I think I stood still in my tracks and Bart bumped into me. He made an inquisitive noise?
“Deja vu,” I said.
“It’s not deja vu,” he said, “because we have actually been here before.”
I got in the elevator wondering if my cheeks were burning. I felt very unstable all of a sudden. This was the hotel where Ziggy and I… yeah.
I went straight to my room and got in bed. I’m not kidding. I put my headphones on and a pillow over my head and just… shut down.
I don’t know if I would have stayed that way all night. Someone was banging on the door a while later, and the phone was ringing and so I gave up and went to get the door.
Bart. I opened the door. He had a kind of skeptical look on his face. “Soooo, there’s a big party upstairs.”
“Is it basically identical to the one that BNC threw for MNB the last time we were here?”
“Do I have to go?”
“Unless you’re actually sick or on the nod, I think so,” Bart said. “If you really don’t want to, I’ll make some excuses for you.”
I sagged. “I’m kind of wiped out.”
“So I gathered. Come up and just have seltzer and shake a few hands and then we can come back down and watch MTV.”
“You sure? Michelle leaves soon.”
“She’s having a good time schmoozing these fashion industry people Lacey introduced her to.”
I took a deep breath. “Where’s Ziggy?”
Bart cocked his head. “Are you getting along okay?”
“We’re getting along great,” I said, with some vehemence. “I’m just… wondering where he is.”
“Already banging the panties off some chick,” Bart said.
“Okay. Give me a minute to try to get some of this crap off.” I went and washed my face, leaving just a little darkness under my lashes, and changed my shirt. I brushed out my hair. It was shiny. Good enough.
Upstairs was either the same suite or one with the same layout, I couldn’t swear to what floor we’d been on before. The usual suspects were in attendance, Mills, Digger…
Oh jeez, and Remo, of course. What kind of a moron was I to have forgotten he’d be around? I cornered him immediately. “Did you see the show?”
“Nope, couldn’t get there tonight, but I’ll be there tomorrow.”
“Man, it was amazing.” I gave him some half-assed description of the sunset and the people and the lights.
He pulled something out of his pocket. “Your old man is proud of these.”
He handed me a small plastic flashlight on a string. It had the image from the Candlelight record sleeve printed on it, and a pointy, flame-shaped cap on the end. I pulled that off and underneath it was just a normal small flashlight with a double A battery in it. I put it back together and handed it back to him. “This is something new.”
“I know. He talked my ear off about how hard it was to get them made on time and shipped in and yadda yadda. But they’re selling them for ten bucks a pop at the concession stand, and he’s already going on about how you’re going to run out before you get to Texas.” Remo stuck the light back into his pocket. “But how’s that for a win-win situation? You make a mint selling these things and they actually add to the show.”
I wondered if the lights had been Digger’s idea, or what. I certainly hadn’t thought of it. “Well, cool.”
“Don’t look now, but here he comes.”
A moment later Digger’s arm was over my shoulder, which was necessary because he could hardly stand. “Great job tonight, boys,” he said, either accidentally slurring on the “s” or not aware it was only me standing there. “Eat up. Everything here’s on BNC’s tab tonight, so go for it.”
“Thanks, daddy-o. Champagne and oysters?”
“Exactly,” he said, like I’d nailed down a hard question to answer. “G’wan.”
I took that as a cue to leave, slipping out from under his arm and letting him slide to a couch where he began hitting on some young publicist or something. Remo got caught in another conversation, so I plowed on without him.