My band was booked into a venue that had just reopened after a lengthy COVID-19 lockdown.
I arrived at the venue to find only a handful of people waiting to get inside and felt both relieved and disappointed at the small crowd.
Once inside, a young woman who I was told would look after my band escorted me to the backstage area where the dressing rooms were.
On the way through a maze of corridors, I realized the building also served as a student residence and I asked the woman to wait while I entered one of the dormitory rooms to splash some water on my face.
Looking around, I found a white bath towel, patted my face dry and folded it neatly before putting it back where it had been.
We finally arrived at the dressing rooms and the woman unlocked a door and told me this would be my dressing room, telling me I had to have my own dressing room as I hadn’t received my COVID-19 vaccine yet.
I asked the woman where my daughter and other band mates were, and she told me they were in dorm rooms on an upper floor that had been converted into dressing rooms.
Once the woman left, I decided it would be okay to find my daughter’s dressing room and share it with her as we lived in the same house and it would be safe to do so.
I went back to the lobby downstairs and noticed the venue was starting to fill up and there was a flourish of activity in the hall.
I walked through the auditorium where journalists and television crews had already begun setting up and at once I started to feel nervous.
Seeing that it wasn’t a good idea to walk through the auditorium, I decided to double back through the lobby and take the stairs to my daughter’s dressing room.
Just then, I ran into one of my oldest friends, Jodi Gerst, who I had not seen or spoken to in more than 20 years.
Jodi was wearing a dark blue sequined dress and other than having put on a few pounds, looked the same as I remembered her from our youth.
I stopped her and told her it was me, but at first she didn’t recognize me having never seen me with a beard.
She burst into tears and moved towards me to offer me a hug saying she was fully vaccinated, but I recoiled saying I hadn’t had mine yet and we settled on exchanging a rather awkward sideways hip bump.
I told her I needed to get ready for the show and she wished me good luck, saying she had come all the way from Delaware to see my band perform and that she wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Finally getting to the dressing rooms, I popped my head in to tell my band mates I had arrived and that there would surely be a full house, despite our being convinced that no one would be going out on a Sunday evening.
I got to my daughter’s dressing room and my assistant, an old friend from high school, Mark Hyman, was waiting for me holding my change of clothes.
I told him I didn’t want to wear the outfit he had chosen, and preferred to keep on what I was wearing but asked him if he could bring me a change of underwear.
After a while, I was back downstairs and walking through the auditorium with my guitar trying to calm myself down as I walked to the backstage area preparing to go on stage.
My band mates were there and I told them we were going on first and they looked at each other, then at me, reminding me we were the headliners and, in fact, the only band on the bill that evening.
Then I woke up.