After pushing open one of the bathroom stalls in our dressing room, Carlo stepped up onto the toilet seat, twirled around to face the mirror, and began scrutinizing his stage clothes.To me this was not unusual behavior, not just because I'm used to Carlo's unusual behavior in general by now, but back in my apartment in Austin, before a night out on the town, I often hop onto the edge of my bathtub so I can see how my shoes look with my evening outfit.
Carlo looked good.
Nick began nervously adjusting his tie which made me nervous because…well, Nick is never nervous. I took the tag off the neck of my new dress I bought specifically for these shows just as Dia pranced into the room still wearing her cheetah print pajama pants. We hadn't seen her all day. She is usually busy with telephone and t.v. interviews. Glad to see her energy was still running on high.
The whole day seemed to pass in slow motion up until the point of actually playing. The hour right before our time to go on seemed to pass in about five minutes. Hair strategically placed with bobby pins. Check! Time to put on the uncomfortable stage heels. Check! (You should have seen the relief in Blake's stage manager's eyes after I stepped off the stage after our first set injury free.), No lipstick in streaks across my chin or forehead. Check! (don't ask me how it gets there.)
Aah. My stomach turns even right now simply writing the words: "show time". While we were back stage behind the curtain, I focused on deep breathing, and may have given my guitar tech minor indian burns on his forearms while grabbing and shaking him to ask him if he had "remembered everything, Rob?!" It's cool. He's a tough guy. (He actually doubles as Dia's security guard.)
I peeked out to see a filled stadium. I had figured that the audience would still be filing in while we played, a beer in one hand a kid in the other. Our monitor man, Zach, asked if we would like the lights to be "killed". "For heavens sake" I thought to myself. "Kill the lights! Kill the lights!" Dia told them to kill the lights, and BOOM…
And so the five of us trailed out to our doom..ahem, I mean our first show. We shuffled onto the stage, slowly finding our positions in the dark behind our microphones and instruments. Our intro music began playing. I felt a tremendous amount of energy flow through me with lightning speed as I watched random flashes of light begin to burst around the stadium from the distant cameras everywhere. It was like being bathed in a shower of shooting stars.
I wish I had words to explain what playing on that stage felt like. I imagine that playing up there felt like doing drugs. (Which I haven't btw.) Once you've tried it, you want more…MORE!
I am so proud of Dia. I thought she might be overwhelmed by the pressure and shrink into a frightened little ball in the corner of the stage. But, NO! That girl blossomed. I found myself surprised by the goosebumps forming on my bare arms as she courageously braved the catwalk. She dove into that gigantic audience and began twirling like a little sugar fairy, bending over to hug and clasp hands with members of a captivated audience.
Now, I'm not going to tell you that there weren't any technical problems (like my guitar amp not being on for instance…Rob, YOUR fault! O.K. o.k. It might have been a teensy bit my mistake.)
Good Night Toledo!