This shall be the last song for the night.
Ryan’s voice did little to bring me back from the world I had lost myself in the moment I walked into the crowd. This was our last gig on this tour, and my last gig with the band. Yeah, I know what the people present would think if they knew, is this going to be the end of Scatterbrain, or will they recruit another guitarist and move on? Well, to be honest, I didn’t really know. And I didn’t particularly care either. I just knew that this is the last night, the last time.
It started a couple of weeks ago, somewhere within the first few days of our touring. I remembered the last tour, our first set of gigs. I couldn’t wait to get on stage every night. This time, it was different. It was not as if I hated to get on stage or I hated to play music. Just that one fine day, I realized I was growing apathetic to this life. The theatrics, the screaming fans, the women, the highs, the whole deal. It took a bit of time to sink in, but once it did, it was a thought which took root inside my head and just wouldn’t let go. Night after night, on stage, in bed, through strange highs, I tried to convince myself this was not so, but the mirror which had always been my harshest critic now gleefully turned my biggest detractor. And now it had come to this. I still loved my mates, so I thought it fair that I go through this whole tour before I leave. And tonight I had told them, right before coming on stage.
You’re kidding, right?
Duuuude, you sure you know what you’re talking about?
Hey, you can have as much time off as you want. But don’t go.
They were surprisingly supportive. Maybe they had noticed it too? But I made it clear that this was it. That I would be leaving by the night’s train. That I needed a lot of time to figure this out, and they were welcome to move on without me. No hard feelings.
And so on and so forth.
So, this was our last show together.
The implications of my actions hit me only when I walked on for this show. I could see the tensed expressions on Ryan’s face. He always worried too much. Gus looked sad. He had always been the softy. Only Bryan had it right. He was energetic as ever behind the drums. We all wanted to make it our best gig ever. But my mind had started to wander by then. To the past. To the future. To every moment possible except now. Every place in the world but here. My fingers moved across the frets with practiced ease. I even occasionally heard my own voice sing out, backing Ryan’s whiskey vocals. But it couldn’t possibly have been me. I was there in the crowd, watching the band drift through the night’s playlist. One can’t possibly be at two places at once, right? The performance was tight, flawless. And all of them, knowing that this was it, were giving it that extra bit which probably made this a seminal performance, but I wasn’t sure it was me there with the band. Just a stranger who knew the right notes and the right moments to sing along.
The last song was our current trademark, a cover of one of Solace’s best known tracks, just if. It was somewhat prophetic, since this was part of the last record Solace had out before they split. And this had been the song which had, in a very roundabout and obscure fashion, if I might say so, had brought us together.
If I could have just one more dream/ a last poem put to song/ I don’t care if I dunno what it means/ but I don’t mind singing along.
This was how my favourite part of the song went. The guitars went silent. The bass just played the skeleton notes first time around, and then during the repeat pass, all the instruments would come in one by one till at last the lead guitars would come and lead to a short but devastating solo. We regularly covered this song, and had even played an acoustic version of it one time when a lot of our gear got misplaced right before a show and all that we had left were a pair of acoustic guitars. This was one of those songs that start out humble. Like, while being written, nobody really expects it to do very well. But somehow it ends up becoming one of those songs which defines careers. In this case, this ended up being Solace’s swansong. But as with swansongs, it ended there for Solace. And would end for us, too.