Original

“Thank you all so much, thank you. Thank you. That was I’m Looking Through You, by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The Beatles.” Neely wasn’t sure what else to say. Someone gave another whoop when he said that band’s name, the most famous band that had ever been.

Epochcalypso was less well-known. Nevertheless, they had managed to fill this venue. Whatever role the half-price drinks might have had, a crowd of this size felt like a mandate.

“Thank you. You’re a beautiful audience. Does anyone have any requests?”

No one shouted anything, but most audiences are shy. If they weren’t, they’d have their own acts on their own stages. Signaling to Rugal, the drummer, Neely started Take It Easy, always a favorite. A few people sang along with the chorus, which was always encouraging.

“Thank you, that was Take It Easy, by The Eagles. Good song. Good advice, too. You guys like taking it easy?”

Waiting for a reply, Neely scratched the microphone against his chin. The feedback turned a few heads in his direction.

“Excuse me. So we’re going to switch things up a little bit now. We’re going to play you one of our originals—“

“Do Take It Easy! came a shout, and Neely chuckled a fake chuckle. The applause that followed prompted Rugal to start drumming. Donalds and Merchant followed the cue, and Neely had to join in too. They played the song to its completion, and the crowd applauded more vigorously than they had a moment ago. Maybe they’d played it better.

The next time they played Take It Easy, they got a standing ovation. The fourteenth time, a record contract. Once they’d played it enough, it had become their song.

They played it again.

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