With Incubus set to perform at Jones Beach, the band decided to play an acoustic show in the parking lot before showtime. A tailgate affair of sorts, we parked cars near each other, creating a performance space powered by battery-operated generators. After a short sound check, we immediately jumped into our performance, gathering a small crowd of spectators who appreciated our efforts. Incubus fans, smiling at the authenticity of our sound, stopped in their tracks. We finished our set and loaded all the equipment back into our vehicles before making our way into the theater. Our 2 groups were separated by seating arrangements. Mikey Pop and his family would sit near the stage, while the rest of the band headed toward the nosebleed seats. I didn’t mind at all and appreciated the full scope of my vantage point. The show begins, and Incubus makes their grand entrance in support of their latest release, “If Not Now, When?”. After a few songs, I would receive a message from Mikey, requesting my presence near the bathroom area. With his family’s tickets, he would sneak the rest of the band toward the stage, where we collectively stood in amazement at the closeness of this experience. “Tomorrow’s Food” comes blaring from the speakers, and as the entirety of the front row stares up toward the stage, I look back at the crowd and begin to cry. Every compliment I had ever received, and every comparison to Brandon Boyd that I held with such honor, now felt meaningless. Here I was, a cheap replica of this man on stage, completely invisible to the thousands of people who had just watched me perform these songs in the half-empty parking lot right outside. I hit a low point mentally, and as we collectively exited the arena, the enthusiasm for our upcoming shows no longer resonated with me. I needed the spotlight, and this wouldn’t get me there.

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