The small round lights above the stage provided neither warmth nor illumination. The crowd, such as it was, supplied only indifference, which was preferable to hostility but vastly inferior to the adulation Joe felt was his due.
Joe saw two options:
1. Plow through their performance
2. Slip out the back door when nobody’s looking
Skirl saw a third option:
Improvise a new set on the spot.
Skirl felt the set they’d rehearsed was a little stiff for the room. As he looked out at the assembled death masks staring at the stage, Skirl was inspired to improvise some new material. He’d had a song tickling a soft spot in the back of his skull for days and he was genuinely concerned that if he didn’t perform it right now it would be lost forever to the shifting winds of could’t-give-a-fuck that surrounded his every move.
Joe liked the idea of plowing through the performance they’d rehearsed. He liked the flow of up-tempo and mid-tempo numbers, especially when they were mixed with a couple of ballads that showcased Skirl’s vocals and his keyboard wizardry. Unfortunately for Joe, Skirl was the front man and he called the shots.
“Riff on a G, slow, like Duh, duh-duh, duh-duh,” Skirl hissed into Joe’s ear as they hit the stage.