Rock Hard: And The Winner Is

Continues from here.

I didn’t need to think about Adam’s wager, I was Mighty confident that I was going to win the bet and his wager wasn’t going to be an issue so I agreed instantly.

“You’re on buddy!” I said as I held my hand out to shake his and seal the bet.

Grabbing my hand Adam shook it once then yanked me forward and kissed me on the lips, the moment he broke the kiss he said, “Be prepared to lose!”

I laughed at him, let go of his hand and started to walk away. “Wont be me that is losing, now excuse me I’ve got a soundcheck to do.”

“Want to practice Master of my Universe?” he asked cheekily to my back as I kept walking.

Soundcheck went great, despite the difficulties of the hall which took Adam a few tries to get right, especially with the drums and my foldbacks. The issue with the drums was simply enough it just required a bit of tweaking because there was a little too much natural reverb for them. The issues with my foldbacks should have be easy but after nearly twenty minutes of stuffing around it was eluding us. At first we thought it was a volume issue and that maybe the settings from the previous setup had been bumped or knocked but we finally tracked it down to a dodgy connection in one of the extension boxes near the side of the stage.

Once those two issues were solved things were great, we played a couple of full songs and went through some standard tests, after that we were all happy with what we’d achieved and we all went our separate ways before dinner.

For the first time in I don’t remember how long we all had a pre-gig dinner together, there was the meal we had before the meeting in New Orleans but that wasn’t before a gig so it didn’t count. I have to say it was quite enjoyable to have everyone around a few tables talking and chatting as if they were friends rather than enemies. There might still have been a few secrets and whispers between the boys but nothing too harmful. A couple of times during dinner Jason and I crossed paths and while he was polite enough not to make a scene I could tell he was still nervous, but I posed him no threat while he behaved.

After dinner Dean and I made a quick run back to the motel to get our stage gear, because dinner was such a pleasant affair we’d spent a little longer around the tables than usual so our trip to the motel was a quick one and done in the mini bus. With nothing upsetting me I was feeling hyped for the show and I was feeling quietly confident that I would be able to drag three encores from the crowd. Texas might be known for their love of big hats, boots and everything country but the metal fans were very loyal and loved a good show and I was prepared to give it to them.

When we got back to the venue the support act was on stage, again I’d broken my own promise to try and catch more of our support bands so instead of hitting the band room I went out into the venue stood next to Adam’s sound desk and listened to the music. The punters of course recognized me and while I was happy to sign autographs or have ‘selfies’ (how can it be a selfie with two people in it?) I really wanted to listen to the music so after ten minutes I returned back stage and watched from the wings of the stage. Battlement, put on a good show, they were raw and their immaturity as a band showed through, as did ours once, but they were fairly tight and they owned their mistakes as opposed to playing loud enough to hide them. I liked that in a band, especially as an up and coming band.

I watched Battlement until the end of their set and when they came off stage I congratulated them on their performance. They would be with us for the next three nights while we did gigs in Texas and even if they weren’t that good I’d have extended the olive branch, as I’m sure others in our team would have, to join us for drinks afterwards. Actually liking them and their music was just a added bonus.

On stage we went off like a frog in a sock! From the second we hit the stage the crowd were thrashing around in the pit and getting into the songs. By the end of the second song which is usually my first chance to talk to the crowd and welcome them to the show the noise was so loud I could barely hear myself even with foldbacks and ear pieces. I’d gone from quietly confident about getting three encores to thinking there was no way it wouldn’t happen.

We powered through the rest of the set, a few silly little gremlins popped up which is pretty much the norm for every show but none of them slowed us down or put a dampener on the crowd. During the first encore I powered through Master of My Universe and couldn’t help but think of Adam’s words, I actually came close to singing the damn things because of how much I was thinking of them but I caught myself just in time.

It was at the end of Master of my Universe, a time which we’d usually head off stage grab a quick drink and wait for the crowd to cheer us back for the second encore, that I realized to win the bet Adam had played dirty.

Instead of breaking at the end of the song Dean immediately started banging out the drum intro to Hell’s Fire. I looked over at Benji our bass player, he didn’t look surprised. I looked over at Mark our lead guitarist and he actually had a smile on his face. I knew I’d been played. I knew we’d end up doing two more songs, go off stage, then come back for the final three songs of the night ensuring only two encores. So much for not being able to change our stage show without the entire band agreeing!

We played on, the crowd had no idea what was going on and strangely enough I wasn’t annoyed with Adam cheating on our bet, I was actually willing to give him credit for being sneaky enough to think about it. I might think a little differently as I realized that I was going to be singing his verse of Master of my Universe on stage the following night but at that stage I was willing to think that way.

When we got back to the band room their was smirks all around but I decided the best way to handle such cockiness was to ignore it as if nothing happened. I knew ignoring the incident would annoy the boys in the band more than bringing it up and giving them a chance to laugh at my expense. Ignoring it worked fine for a few minutes until Adam walked into the band room. I sat down.

“What happened up there Dean, you missed the cue for the encore.” Adam said grabbing a drink from the table.

“I have no idea, I must have been thinking about something else!” Dean was smirking and was only seconds away from laughing.

Adam then plonked himself on the arm of the chair I was sitting in, looked at me as said, “Only two encores tonight, guess that means I won the bet!”

Although it was playful I actually shoved Adam so hard in the side he fell off the chair and onto the floor.


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