I’m a Cancer and I love being the center of attention but I do not go out of my way to place myself in the spotlight. Don’t get me wrong. If the chance to be silly or do something crazy comes up, I usually take advantage of it. I’m not an actor or singer, I’m not a comedian and I don’t have the guts to get up on stage so the day I received my standing ovation I was quite overwhelmed and a bit embarrassed.
I was working for a company that specialized in safety products around the Las Vegas, Nevada area. I had been relocated there and my family had not yet joined me so that allowed me time to explore and work long hours. One of my favorite things to do was to go to the grand opening of new casinos.
I was invited to go to the grand opening of a new casino on the west side of town (the name is irrelevant for my story) I arrived a bit early but soon the place was hopping with well wishers and famous people trying to look cool. I had lived in Las Vegas for a short time so I wasn’t the best at these big events. I’m not a drinker, gambler or smoker so I quickly realized I was not in a spot where I could be myself. I felt very out-of-place to say the least. I decided to go for a walk.
As most who have visited Las Vegas know, it is very hard to find a place to be alone. When you are in these big casinos, there are always places full of people but this night was different. I walked down a back area and into a game room that looked as if it was eventually going to be a place to drop off kids while mom and dad gambled.
I was having fun messing with some of the games. I played a few but couldn’t get my eye of the large, round contraption in the center of the room. I walked around it several times and kept staring at the different things this machine offered. On one side was a guitar. The next side was a booth with a microphone in it. On the third side was a bass guitar and finally…drums. It looked as if you put in the money and then you and three friends can create a concert.
I scanned through the screen to see the song list. I knew most of them. I read the instructions and then I decided that, since I was alone in this side of the casino, it wouldn’t hurt to maybe play a song or two. No need to be embarrassed if I screw up because no one was going to hear me right?
I pulled five dollars out of my pocket, found the change machine and got some tokens. I then sat at the electric drum set on the one side of this machine. I went through the songs again and found a few that I knew I could play. I put the token in and made my selection. The machine recognized that I was going to play the drums so it instructed me to play and it would fill in the other parts of the song.
AC/DC was a great choice I thought. Not to hard and something I could have fun playing to. The music was spot on and the machine added all the parts so as I played I began to feel as if the band was with me playing. It was so cool.
I jumped up at the end of the song and exchanged more money for tokens so I could play something else. I found a great song by Journey and then one by Boston. Each time I played, the computer filled in the other parts and the singer as well. This was so much fun!.
Now, feeling completely confident, I decided to play one of my all time favorite songs. I knew this one the best having played it in my basement for years. We’re Not Going To Take It by Twisted Sister. I put in the money and it counted it down. I was to start. So, being totally wrapped up in the moment I counted it down with the computer.
“One! Two! One, Two, Three, Four! And magic. The drums sounded amazing and soon Dee Snider was singing at the top of his lungs. The band had joined in and I actually became the drummer for Twisted Sister. A dream come true. This machine was so real sounding that I lost track of reality and slipped into another world. As I pounded away and the music played on, I sang with the band. I was having the time of my life. This was better than any slot machine.
I kept playing but didn’t notice the crowd that had formed in the room behind me. I just kept going until, as the song came to an end, the audience that had gathered, erupted in a standing ovation. Their cheers startled me and I jumped up turning around to see about fifty people cheering me on.
I took a bow and thought about running for the door then one guy yelled out, “Hey, what else does that thing do?”
I asked if anyone sang or played bass guitar or lead guitar. Three people hesitated but after some prompting from their friends, they stepped up and took their spots on the different sides of the machine. I explained the rules and then put the money in and selected four players. We then selected a few songs that we all knew and suddenly, we were a band. We sounded great. I was actually surprised.
People tossed money at our feet and we played for about an hour or so as the crowd cheered us at the end of each song.
I really can’t explain the elation that came to my heart that day. I knew that when I woke up I hadn’t intended to perform in front of a room of fifty or so strangers but I will never forget my standing ovation and the fun we all had.