Apr 16 — Phoenix of Charlotte, NC

4:00 p.m.: I find a nail salon and cash in my bet with a pedicure. What, you think I’m actually going to have Markus massage my feet?

6:00 p.m.: Crew is still working diligently to fit the production into the venue, so that we can bring a mega-club experience to a smaller market. We can’t fit the entire staging inside this time, but club staff is impressed and excited for the show. The DJ booth is unrecognizable. Markus steps in to help, as well. He’s very hands-on. He cares about every aspect.

8:00 p.m.: I step away from the worker bees to get a quiet beer at a local pub. My bartender asks why I’m here, and I vaguely mention the nightclub around the corner. It’s a small world, as I’ve said over and over, and it turns out that this barkeep had golfing plans with a bartender from the Phoenix, but they canceled, having to work on a typically dark day, and so he, too, is working now. Oops.

9:50 p.m.: I walk KhoMha onto the stage. The first beat of his first track gives me a heart attack, and it’s immediately an earplug night.

11:05 p.m.: While people are waiting for their meet-&-greet with Markus, KhoMha ends his set and goes backstage, where he is met by cheers. One of the fans waiting says that his was the best opening set they’ve ever seen in Charlotte. Markus arrives a few moments later, and overhearing the fans say how much he’s affected their lives, how honored they are to have his caliber of talent in town, etc. It’s touching.

Midnight: The M Machine finishes its set, and the crowd chants “one more song,” apparently not realizing that the headliner is taking over, and that they’re in for another great ride.

12:30 a.m.: I step out to the patio for fresh air, glance at the bus, and can’t believe that I’ll be on the road to Nashville in just a few hours. It feels like everything is going so fast. We’re only one week into the tour, and I’m already seeing the end, and missing everything and everyone

1:00 a.m.: A Phoenix manager proclaims, “I’ve never seen the club like this. It’s like a festival! It’s crazy.” A black bra is thrown at Markus on stage.

1:20 a.m.: My cold medicine wears off and I send myself onto the bus to play doctor… with myself. Wait, that doesn’t sound right….

2:20 a.m.: Markus enters the bus whooping and hollering, and he sends tweets out to thank the crowd. I get called back to the club to do some businessing. #neverquit

3:03 a.m.: Markus is subjecting me to the hair-metal-loving film Rock of Ages, and the only thing I’m entertained by is his enthusiasm for its music. I just want to hurry up and get to Nashville. “Don’t you know—it’s the Sarah Gianetto tour?” Markus announces. “We’re just the soundtrack.”

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