Light shined on his guitar while being accompanied by the raging horde that jumped in sync with the throb of his screeching solo. Anybody in that audience felt it was too long since the last time they saw him, and after the concert, everybody felt as if he had always been there. The stadium was full, and even the persons in the bleachers could feel the strength of the melodies conveyed by his fingers.
On stage, he hid well the feeling of a diluted performance. His bandmates were waiting for his usual abrupt ending: the unfinished solo, the storming off the stage, and the clapping they've grown to expect out of it. Behind the stage, they would endure two full hours of schoolyard tactics of ice treatment and evil glares of apathy. The night would have undoubtedly end with them trying to figure out what made him angry again, and apologising for it regardless if it was their fault or not. He'd look back at them with his usual condescending stare (which is the closest thing to redemption he can communicate), and they'd patch things up until the next gig.
This ritual had been going on for ten years, and the diluted feeling had been incorporated into his stage performance. The people were unaware of this: the standard of which they'd judged a performance had degraded so much, that anybody with a mediocre feel for the guitar could impress them. The bandmates wouldn't stop indulging him, as he was their only revenue stream. And he'd continue on, because, well, who wouldn't?
Every interviewer who dared ask him why did he always ended his performances so abruptly was rewarded with a smack in the face, and a ban of future face-time. His interviews brought ratings, and, thus, such question was then forgotten from all media. That resulted in that his abrupt endings were now his staple and audiences began brushing it off as only part of the show.
In this night, however, something was different. His bandmates noticed instantly. His stare was wide-eyed, as the one of an 8-year-old right before the first big drop of a roller coaster ride. He stepped back, seemingly frightened of the audience. He interrupted his solo, and he flaunted his guitar to the floor. He gasped for air, while his eyes begin tearing up. He was crying. His bandmates did what anyone would do in such a situation: they stopped playing.
He dropped to his knees, sobbing, and without no microphone, nobody could hear what later reports guessed as being a heartfelt apology. His bandmates turned to each other for symptoms of sanity, but none could concur. He stood up, and grabbed his guitar. Shaking, he struck a soft chord. And with tearful closed eyes, he begin playing what would later be dubbed as his "Gentle Cry".
He didn't ended it abruptly that night. He finished the setlist that had never been finished before, did two encores, and waved goodbye.
"Mellow, weird, but, hell, it's him, so it was good", an audience member said in an interview.
"Wow, he actually finished a set. I'm honoured!", a long-time listener said to his wife.
"I came here for kick ass solos, not winy-ass shit like that. Whatever, I hope he doesn't cry when he comes back, ruined it for me. The bassist was little off too, he should be replaced", a fan was heard saying after the show.
"Are you crazy? Best solo ever!", another fan screamed.
"I was kinda freaked out by the whole thing. I've listened to all of his records, and I haven't heard that solo before. Maybe it was one of his B Sides. The crying was too much I think", a radio host described it afterwards.
In an interview 30 years later, some old bandmates of his were asked, "What happened backstage after that show?" They responded, "We went back, and I asked him. He said something about a smell not being there anymore, and that he used to hate them before because they always looked the same, that they were indistinguishable."
"Yeah, indistinguishable. I never heard him talk like that before", another bandmate complemented. "He continued talking about how it used to be disgusting for him, that he couldn't bare looking at them for more than an hour. But that night, he said, he realised that he had it all wrong. That 'the smell went away' and that 'he saw them for what they really were'. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about."
After the tour was over, he financed what he called "The Never-Ending Sky Tour"; the title was not misleading. He didn't stop touring. Ever.
On his tombstone, the following was carved:
Each of you commands a single voice, bears a single face. When you're together, however, your faces blend with each other, and your chants become a prominent, beautiful whisper. A whisper from heaven that I can only hear through you. In this regard, each and every one of You is an angel, an indistinguishable messenger from God that accompanied me throughout my time in this planet. A better definition of angel does not exist.