It was Oldies Fest at the Four Corners nightclub. The yearly event included an open mike night.
The hours before open mike started included a concert of oldies by the Magnificent Seven, Four Corners's house band. Everything from "Sunshine of your love" to "Mary Mary" to "Layla", which showcased the much-underused talents of one Nathan Jackson on lead vocals.
The crowd groaned when the band left the stage -- that meant it was open mike time. Who knew what they would be subjected to?
Ten acts came and went -- about evenly split between good and horrid. Then there was a lull as the stage darkened.
When the lights came up-- one single spotlight-- it illuminated a stool near the center of the stage. Vin Tanner walked on and sat on it, cradling a single guitar.
He looked a bit uncomfortable, but his voice was strong as he spoke into the microphone. "It's come t'my attention some o'ya out there think I'm just followin' in Chris's coattails -- that y'think I ain't got no talent on m'own, an' that's why I play second guitar. I'm here t' show ya the truth."
Vin's head bowed then, and he lowered the microphone so it pointed at the guitar. He closed his eyes for a moment, centering himself. Then he opened his eyes and began to play.
The notes were unmistakable -- the soft opening notes of "Classical Gas". The crowd murmured, waiting for JD to leap in with the drums, then Ezra with the horns, then the others with the rest of the background.
But that didn't happen. Instead, there was merely the melody from the single guitar. Stronger as confidence was gained, sweeping as the song demanded it. On and on the song rolled -- an extra verse added for good measure -- louder, more aggressive notes as the song ended.
Vin looked up, startled, as applause rolled out. Flaming into the blue plaid shirt's collar, he stood up, nodded once to the crowd, and left the stage.
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