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The Final Curtain Call

by Ryan Barbin 2 months ago in concert · updated 2 months ago

Long Live Rock and Roll

My eyes open and I can hear the hubbub of the crowd on the other side of the curtain. I take a deep breath and ever-so carefully, lightly graze each string on my guitar to double-triple check the tuning, ensuring not to accidentally pluck one loud enough to be heard in the audience. I'm staring at the glowing red power lights of my foot pedals, as they pierce through the darkness and the slight blueish hues of the stage wing lights. The remaining performers creep out from stage right, and make their way into their starting positions for the opening number.

As I listen closely, I can hear the stage crew speaking German and can pick up on a word here and there from the past three months touring the country. I hear the word "funf", meaning five, though I am not sure if that means five minutes or seconds until the curtain raises. I assume seconds, just to be prepared. I blink a couple times and reach for my guitar pick, resting between the strings on the headstock of my Gibson SG. The intro speech starts playing into the house and the crowd erupts in a frenzy. The curtain starts to lift for the final time on this tour. I look over to the drummer and give him a wink and a nod. He points his drumstick directly at me, then begins lowly rumbling on his double-bass pedal, increasing in volume and intensity as the curtain raises higher and higher. As I strum my first notes, the lights flash into a colorfully controlled chaos of pure electric rock and roll. The show has officially begun!

After the final song concludes, I take my guitar and place it on the stand before hopping down from the risers and joining the rest of the performers front and center stage, as the house lights illuminate to reveal a standing ovation of Germans clapping in sync with one another. Funny thing about some foreign countries is that they don't clap like we do in America. They often clap on 1 and 3, instead of 2 and 4, and they applaud in-sync, rather than the sporadic hullabaloo of American audiences, each clapping in their own individual rhythm and timing. Germans also don't typically show their emotions the same way that Americans do. So, as the house lights brighten, the look on most of the audience members' faces appears somewhat discerning almost. Though, I've become used to it by now and know that its just a cultural difference mostly, unlike the wacky, overly-expressive emotional American audience reactions.

The applause continues for what seems like forever, as we bow and wave and then move into our final places for the acapella number that we close every show with. This time will be the last of this particular tour, and I can already see many of the performer's emotions starting to show as we high-five, hug and celebrate alongside each other while moving into position. As we begin singing our final song of the tour, the crowd grows silent and retakes their seats. I can hear the sounds of my fellow performers struggling to stay on pitch as they hold back their tears during this emotional closing to an absolutely amazing tour. I feel the person to my left grab my hand, and I squeeze tightly in admiration and love to let them know that I too am feeling the same emotions presently, living this speechless and so incredibly blessed moment in a crazy and beautiful life.

We finish the first part of the song, and switch over to the second verse, which we have translated and rehearsed in German to show our appreciation for this beautiful country. Most of us aren't so sure of our pronunciation and struggle through most of it, but it's obvious the audience appreciates the gesture and are loving every minute of it. If my heart stopped right here, right now, there would be no regrets whatsoever. This is a moment that makes all of the struggles and difficult parts of life worth living. This is THAT moment, and I am so glad that I have found my way here. So much so, that I will continue to do so over and over again, as long as I shall live. Long Live Rock and Roll!

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Ryan Barbin

Creative Arts Specialist. Writer/Copywriter, Musician, Producer, Visual Artist, and Entertainer. Owner of IYAM Entertainment Studios in Las Vegas, NV. (

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