Meat and Co are the last to play. "For Crying Out Loud" spills from the stage. Meat, as always, pours his heart into the nine minute song. His eyes are closed as pure emotion rips that final note from his lips.
Not a cough. Not a clap. Not a screech of a moving chair.
Meat's positive the audience has run for the hills. That at some point during this heart-wrenching ballad the PtB once again failed to get it. They've bailed. Gone home to luxury homes. Established groups are rockin' out in their swank hotel rooms.
Finally, sick with another failure, he opens his eyes.
Everyone is there. Everyone is staring agog. One hoot. One holler. The audience of his peers and pockets erupts in applause. Not just any applause. The kind that whistles. The kind that drives people to chairs and table tops. The kind that rushes the stage when Meat and Co. kick off an encore.
For Cryin' Out Loud, they love Meat, they really love him.