"Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck" he shouts, and the band snaps silent on the one.
A cheer goes up in the crowd. A tension releases and a connection sparks. This is what they'd hoped for. Not that they would say - but like a selfie with a passing comet this is the story they were hoping to be able to tell.
On stage, time stops and hands suspend. Fingers, picks and drumsticks poised, players watching and waiting in that open moment - the split-second shared acknowledgement of an imminent unknown. With a silent tempo still counting off they've all defaulted faithfully to rule number one: the singer is always right. They watch.
His left arm churns an explosion of dust particles in the spotlit blackness around his silhouette. What had begun as choreography has sped up and broken time and is now the only movement of his otherwise motionless body. Sweat drips down the side of his neck, tracing the in-ear wire under his shirt and down his back. Is the arm slowing or is awareness simply heightening? This down beat could drop. Or not. No one onstage has taken a breath.
Ten thousand people are now quiet. All but a very few at the far fringes are focused expectantly on one of two large screens. The face framed there is impossible to read, but most see what they need to see; a man lost in a powerful moment and deep in a reverie far beyond their understanding. He is in a place they would like to be. A place they are willing themselves to be with him. They watch.
The arm slows. The sound of an amplified breath.
"And the gatekeeper calls out your name"
And on "name" the band drops hard. The crowd roars. The face on the screens flushes with release. A guitar screams.