Rock Hard: The Final Gig

We were there to rock and rock we did. Nearly all the crowds we’d played to had been good, and a good musician doesn’t say which crowds weren’t, but like I’ve said Chicago was our town, our crowd and they knew all our songs. There is nothing quite like being on stage and hearing your own voice through the fold back speakers and then a fraction of a second later hearing the crowd as they sing the same words you just sang. For those that haven’t experienced it you might think that hearing the crowd over the roaring guitars and drums isn’t possible but believe me it’s possible and it’s such a good feeling. It’s the sort of feeling that keeps driving you on for the entire night.

Remember how I mentioned that our parents looked the part in their Magnild t-shirts? Well they looked even better when the show started and they were still wearing the shirts. Because they were our parents we did give them seats up in the stalls and because they are my parents I wont make any comments about Waldorf and Statler.

As I said it was a good show and the crowd was good but all that aside I was really happy that Mom and Dad were there too see it. I would have been happy for them to see any show but for some reason seeing the best show of our entire tour seemed somewhat fitting. I’m sure the other guys in the band felt the same as I did.

The show was so good that we did five encores, we banked on three but five was unexpected even for us, it really did appear that Chicago had missed us. Each time I said good night and walked off the stage the roar for us to come back on was deafening. After the end of the third encore as I stepped off stage I grabbed a bottle of water and downed half of it quickly. It wasn’t until I lowered the bottle from my lips that I realized the house lights hadn’t come on. The crowd was still roaring our name but with no house lights we all knew what was expected.

At the time we didn’t know who was responsible for the extra encore, we’d find out after the gig that it was the venue manager, something that was nearly unheard of in our industry, but the four of us all looked at each other with the same look on our faces. That look was one that is probably best described by the letters W.T.F.

Then Bob called from the dark of the stage. “Get back up here!”

So we did and because both the fourth and fifth encores were something we hadn’t planed for I did the only thing I could think of and that was ask the crowd what they wanted to hear. There was one song we were a bit rusty on, Goddess of Fire, because we hadn’t played it on stage ever before, (it’s amazing what the fans request given the chance) but all in all we did well and the fans loved .

The back stage party was a short lived party considering it was the final gig of the tour but since we’d promised to put on drinks and food the following afternoon at the Magnhild warehouse while we sorted through all the gear no one was disappointed. They were even less disappointed given that by the time we’d done the five encores it was nearly 1am when we finally got off that stage.

The following day at the warehouse it was like everyone we had ever known was there to either say hello, welcome back, congratulations or all three, it was very humbling. Sorting out Magnhild’s tour trucks and bus was a task that would take us about three days but none of us were worried too much about that while we were in relaxation mode because the gear was onsite and that was all that mattered at that time.

At sometime between the ribs being pulled out of the smoker and the third refill on my drink, bourbon of course, the party was brought to the attention of someone tapping a glass. I suddenly wished that glass would break and everyone would quickly go back to whatever they were doing but of course that was only because I knew what was going to happen.

“Ladies and gentlemen your attention please.”

It was of course my father and what followed was a ten minute speech that started out about him and how proud he and Mom were of me, then it move on to me, then it moved on to Adam, and finally onto Adam and me as one. Thankfully it wasn’t the embarrassing Dad speech that I knew my wonderful father was capable of but it was a speech none the less and just like that our after tour wind down turned in to an engagement celebration.

It wasn’t our official engagement party, you know the one you have where your mother gets to invite all the people she wants too, but it was a great little get together of pretty much everyone important to us and to the band.

All in all we didn’t get that much tidy up work done because everyone was too interested in partying and celebrating but no one seemed too worried and because all the rentals we had were open rentals there wasn’t really a big pressure on us to finish up with everything in the three days we originally allotted ourselves.

At 5:30pm, about twenty minutes after Sarah showed up, apologetic for work stopping her from making the final show, Adam said to me. “Would you like to go home with me tonight?”

Now that comment taken as it was spoken might not have sounded too romantic but honestly going home for the entire night, with nothing else to do but, well nothing, seemed like heaven.

“Your place or mine?” I asked him.

“Neither.” was his reply.


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