|The entire show was a blur|
I have a rule for myself at shows: one photo as the show begins then, put the fucking phone away.
That's why, when Frank mentioned friends from the stage, and then Samantha and I specifically, I didn't record it.
In fact, TGB and I looked at each other with huge this is really is our life grins.
Then Frank tasked me with leading a conga line through the venue, to the bar for shots to be brought to the merch booth and then to the stage to be done together.
I've never made it a secret that I am a horrible fucking alcoholic.
The damage my drinking has done was written across TGB's face as soon as she heard my marching orders.
There are certain looks on a woman's face that stay with a man.
This particular look is not a look any man who loves a woman should ever want to see across her face. It was abject fear, hurt, pleading.
In the midst of the joy of the moment things stopped. The air in my lungs was gone and for a nanosecond I was back in California the day after the last time I drank. The damage I'd done written across her face. She could have left and not one fucking person would have blamed her.
I certainly wouldn't have.
I took her face in my hands and told her, I got this.
I took the conga line and danced my dick off around that venue, to the bar - two shots of Jameson and, after a brief hesitation, a shot of water.
The bartender, god fucking love him, didn't miss a beat and blasted a shot glass full of water for me.
I marched that conga line to merch then to the stage. Somewhere along the way I realized my right hand was shaking violently. It wasn't some drunkards white knuckling or nerves or anything.
It was just that I wanted to get back to her to let her know that it was all okay. That her faith and investment in me was not being wasted.
I honestly didn't hear any music the entire time. I kept thinking about her. About that time on the boat when I said I wanted a drink and she offered to pray with me because she knew that a higher power was a part of the 12 steps. I kept wanting to scream, IT'S JUST WATER, BABE!
I got on stage and did a shot with Frank Turner. I looked for her in the crowd and could see the disconcerted look on her face. IT'S JUST WATER, BABE!
I got off stage and ran over to her. It was just a shot of water, baby. I told you, I got this.
I'm going to tell you a secret. It is so much cooler to be able to allay those fears on a woman's face than to cause them.
I'm a grown ass man. It's not Frank's or anyone else I spend time with's responibility to accommodate my sobriety. That is all on me. Always.
And nobody got a single fucking picture of me on stage with Frank.
Now you decide to put your phones away, fuckers?