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I was neither worried nor upset by the fact that Ziggy was nowhere to be found when we left the hotel. Digger and Carynne were both around, and managing him was their job now.

As it turned out he was sitting on the loading dock of the music hall when we pulled up, holding hands with Susan Walsh, who looked much more comfortable in a UC-Berkeley sweatshirt and jeans than she had yesterday. The crew and gear had arrived some hours ago and I walked onto the stage to find my rig already set up and Colin half asleep backstage with his Walkman on. He opened his eyes when I tapped him on the shoulder and quickly hit the stop button.

“Hey,” he said opening his eyes wide like they were yawning.

“Hey.” I didn’t ask him what he was listening to, because I was pretty sure it was Prone to Relapse, our CR album, and I was pretty sure he was embarrassed about it for some reason. “We’re here.”

“Cool. Let me show you around.” He led the way from the dim cinderblock back into the wood-paneled, curtain-hung front. The place had the shabby look of a very old theater, carpet worn thin by the current generation of combat boots and high tops. Renovation money had been spent only on the sound system, it seemed, from the look of the black grilles peering like giant insect eyes from rough cut holes high up in the old paneling. The control board nested halfway up the orchestra section of seats, huge and many-dialed.

Colin introduced the man standing behind the board, an almost freakishly tall and skinny guy with no hair and tattoos of black knotwork on his scalp. “Graham,” he said and shook my hand. “Really looking forward to it, man.”

“Thanks.” I couldn’t stand too close to him or I had to crane my neck when we talked.

“You’ll never believe who was here last week,” Colin said. “Robert Fripp and theLeague of Crafty Guitarists.”

“Cool.” I had seen the show they did at University of Rhode Island and was now reasonably sure we would have good sound. I’d seen plenty of nice-looking set-ups that still produced crappy sound. But if it was good enough for Fripp… “Not too much bass no matter what Bart says, okay Graham?”

“Okay, boss,” he said, just like Chris or somebody.

I went to the stage. Chris was taking his place behind the kit. He yelled in Colin and Graham’s direction. “Should we get miked up?”

“Already did it,” Colin yelled back as Graham’s hands went to the controls.

Chris spat out a little roll on the snare and then extended it into a long trip with the sticks over the rest of the kit, cymbals, toms, blocks, and ended with a steady bass drum thump. Out in the hall the sound reverberated, the PA pumping it up so it came back twice as loud to us as it went out. In the wings there was another board, a short-haired blonde woman in a tank top on a stool behind it. She spoke into a microphone and her voice came out of the monitors at my feet, softly spoken but loud in volume: “I’ll need all four of you to do monitor levels.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Chris said with a salute of the sticks in her direction.

Bart and Ziggy came up, Ziggy half in stage clothes already–a pair of black pants criss-crossed all over with silver zippers and a black fishnet tank top. “Hey boss,” he said, his mouth all shining teeth, and took a hold of the cordless mic waiting for him at center stage.

We played something soft, Rain’s opening, and something loud, the chorus and bridge of “Welcome,” we played a little individually, just us three without vocals, then all together again, backing vocals, lead vocals… the permutations shifting as Graham and Colin and the monitor girl nodded. Their fingers moved over the sound boards like some kind of big pianos.

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