The Opening Band.

Oh man, this is embarrassing. Umm, I’m not here to see you. Yeah, not at all. I don’t even know your name or what you sound like, and to tell ya the truth I don’t really care.

I’m here for the other band, the main act. I came a little late because I thought you’d be done by now, saving me the shame of checking my Instagram while you pour your heart out. But there you are still, tapping your foot, guitar in hand, performing in such an open, earnest way that it makes me take notice. How you squint for real when you croon, not faking or pushing.

Empty chairs all around. People talk over you, coming and going to the bar, to the loo, for a smoke, for a catch up with an old friend - basically anything to pass the time until you unplug and the guys listed on the ticket stub start. But you keep those eyes half-closed. You believe your lyrics. You’re here to give. And my lastima surprises me. I sit down and listen.  

A concert. Perhaps our last communal experience, somehow sacred because of it, because we’re all in this together singing along like little lambs and swaying our hips like big dorks and waving our hands like we’re lost at sea. And all you want is to lead us ashore.

Once upon a time even the famous guys were where you stand now, needing to prove themselves, to earn our devotion. The heartbreak of beginning, of pressing on despite thousands of people who resist paying attention, who are shut off to you. I can barely take it! I almost leave, abandon the show entirely. Maybe I’ll scalp the ticket. Until I hear it, that note, that space between the chords - you’ve got something. Someday when you’re the entree, when you’re the headliner, I’ll be able to remember this moment. Remember you humble and needy and pure. You’re music will be sweeter because I’ll know you deserve it, because I’ll know the you before the after. And every seat will be filled with a fan but I’ll be your #1.

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p.s. Just don’t be a sell out, please. I don’t have much lastima for that.