The novel's two main characters, young Paul and rock star Rory, have just met and bonded a little bit. For the rest of the start of the book, go here.
During the impressive and melodic solo performance by Rory, I could see that I clearly liked his music and his worldview. He switched from singing about space exploration to global causes to the pains and pleasures of love effortlessly, sometimes in the same song. He even looked over and smiled at me a couple of times. Luckily, my shift was over and it was alright for me to stick around and enjoy the show for free. I think the other people attending had paid to get in.
I took the effort to stick around afterwards to say goodbye to Rory and tell him how much I liked his music, and to maybe have him sign the records some of his friends had given to me. To my surprise, he asked if I wanted to go get some coffee and pie at Admiller’s Deli, not something I would turn down doing with my worst enemy.
After ordering from our corner booth near the window, Rory asked, “That went well, don’t you think, Paul?”
“Yes, I really like your music, Rory,” I paused. “What was that one about staring at Earth about? It was weird, but I can’t get it out of my head.”
“Cool. Yeah, that’s my one take at prog rock. Progressive rock. You know, like the more spaced-out elements of Zeppelin, or like Yes or Fleetwood Mac. I wrote it three years ago when Earth Day was starting up. I thought about what Earth must have looked like to the astronauts on the Moon. You know, this life-giving force of a planet. It must have been impossible for them to miss just how fragile our systems are, and how the green trees feed off the blue waters and the clouds in the sky. Having that image should make everyone on this planet realize that we’ve got to start taking care of it one of these days.
“I actually got my start playing a festival with the Mac when Peter Green freaked out on LSD and started slipping into schizophrenia. I was one of many fill-ins for him. But, man, it was a great experience, and they totally helped me into the biz. And it was just because I had offered to help lift their equipment at a gig down in the city and ended up hanging around with them all night. My parents weren’t too happy, but I even played some of my songs for Christie McVie and Mick Fleetwood and they said they were floored. They must have been because I got to play them again at the big Earth Day Fest not too long afterwards, thanks to Mick pulling some strings. That was enough for me to get all kinds of offers from people who wanted to play in my band and, voila, here I am. Local boy done good.”
“Wow, it sounds so easy.”
“Well, I worked hard on writing songs before all that. And I worked really hard to make sure they sounded perfect once I was more or less put under deadline by the demands of the Mac.”