BILLY: I find Rod and he’s already in damage control mode. I said to him, “Is it really that bad if Daisy doesn’t play one night?”
And then I realized, as I said that, that he was probably her manager now. And so, you know, to him…yeah, it was.
ROD: Jonah Berg was in the audience. From Rolling Stone.
KAREN: Everybody was trying to figure out what to do. But Graham is trying to catch my eye every second no one’s looking. I was laughing to myself thinking, We are supposed to be trying to solve a problem here.
GRAHAM: I couldn’t stop looking at Karen.
KAREN: Graham was always the guy I would talk to about stuff. And that night I found myself wanting to tell him about this great afternoon I’d had. It was like I wanted to talk to him about him.
DAISY: I said to Rod, “Maybe I should go out there on my own.” I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to do something.
EDDIE: Rod had suggested that Graham go out there with Daisy and the two of them do a few acoustic versions of some of the songs from her album. But Graham wasn’t really paying attention. I said, “I can do it.”
ROD: I sent Daisy and Eddie out there with no idea what was going to happen and the whole time I’m watching them walk out to the mike like a cat on hot bricks.
DAISY: Eddie and I did a few songs. Really pared down. Just his guitar and me singing. I think we did “One Fine Day” and “Until You’re Home.” It was fine but we did not blow anybody away. And I knew Rolling Stone was out there and I needed to make a good impression. So on the last song, I decided to go off script.
EDDIE: Daisy leaned over to me and she gave me this vague beat and a key and told me to come up with something. That was it. Just “Come up with something.” I did my best, you know what I mean? You can’t exactly make up a song on the fly like that.
DAISY: I was trying to get Eddie to play something I could sing my new song to. I wanted to sing “When You Fly Low.” He started and I sang a few bars, tried to get into a rhythm with him, but it wasn’t working. I finally said, “Okay, forget that.” I said it right in the mike. The audience was laughing with me. They were rooting for me. I could feel it. So I started singing it a cappella. Just me and my voice, singing this song I’d written.
I’d worked hard on it, I’d polished it up from beginning to end. There wasn’t a stray word in the whole thing. And it was just me and my tambourine with the stomp of my feet.
EDDIE: I was there behind her, tapping a beat out on the body of the guitar for her, helping her out. The crowd was into it. They were watching our every move.
DAISY: It was such a rush, singing like that. Singing a song that I felt in my heart. Words that I had written that were all mine.
I watched the people at the front of the crowd listening to me, hearing me. These people from a different country, people I’d never met in my life, I felt connected to them in a way that I hadn’t felt connected to anyone before.
It is what I have always loved about music. Not the sounds or the crowds or the good times as much as the words—the emotions, and the stories, the truth—that you can let flow right out of your mouth.
Music can dig, you know? It can take a shovel to your chest and just start digging until it hits something. That night, singing that, just reaffirmed that I wanted to put out an album of my own songs.
BILLY: I was standing backstage watching Daisy and Eddie when she started singing “When You Fly Low.” She was good. Better than…Better than I’d realized.
KAREN: Billy was staring at her.
DAISY: When I was done, the audience was hooting and hollering and I felt like I’d gone out there and done the very best with what I had. I felt like I’d really turned it around and put on a good show for them.
BILLY: After she finished the song, I heard her saying goodbye to the audience and I thought, We could do “Honeycomb” now. Just me and her.
GRAHAM: I was surprised to see Billy going out there.
DAISY: I used my usual line, “That’s it for me tonight! It’s time for The Six! Everybody get your hands together.” But in the middle of me talking, Billy walked out onto the stage.
Billy really shined onstage. Some people, you bathe them in those lights and they disappear. But some people, they glow. Billy was like that. I mean, offstage, no. Offstage, he was sullen and sober and he barely had any sense of humor that I could see. At that point, I thought he was sort of a bore, to be honest with you.
But onstage he looked like there was no place he’d rather be than standing right there with you.
EDDIE: I was sitting there with the guitar and Billy comes up to me. I said, “What do you want me to play?”
But instead, Billy put his hand out, asking for my guitar. I’m the fucking guitarist. And he’s trying to take my guitar.
He said, “Can I borrow it, man?”
I wanted to say, “No, you cannot borrow it.” But what could I do? I’m standing up in front of thousands of people. I handed it over and Billy took it and walked right up to the mike with Daisy. I’m standing there with my dick in my hand, no reason to be on the stage. I had to slink off.
BILLY: I waved to the crowd and said, “How about this Daisy Jones, everybody?” And the audience cheered. “Do you all mind if I ask Daisy a question?” I put my hand on the mike and I said, “How about ‘Honeycomb’ now? Just me and you?”
DAISY: I said, “All right, let’s do it.” There was only one mike out there. So Billy stood right next to me. He smelled like Old Spice and his breath smelled like cigarettes and Binaca.
BILLY: I started playing it acoustic.
DAISY: It was a bit slower than we normally played the song. It gave it a tender feel. And then he started singing, “One day things will quiet down/we’ll pick it all up and move town/we’ll walk through the switchgrass down to the rocks/and the kids will come around.”
BILLY: And Daisy sang, “Oh, honey, I can wait/to call that home/I can wait for the blooms and the honeycomb.”
KAREN: You know how sometimes people will describe other people and say they make you feel like you’re the only one in the room? Billy and Daisy could both do that. But they somehow did it with each other. They each seemed like they thought the other one was the only person in the room. Like we were watching two people who didn’t realize thousands of people were watching them.
DAISY: Billy was a great guitar player. There was an intricacy, a delicateness when he played.
BILLY: At that slower tempo, the song started to seem even more intimate. It was gentler, softer. And I was sort of taken aback, in that moment, that Daisy could so easily go where I was taking us. If I played slower, she could bring a warmth to it. If I played faster, she’d bring the energy. She was so easy to be good with.
DAISY: When we finished, he put the guitar in one hand and he grabbed my hand with the other. All the skin on the soft side of his fingers was callused. Just by touching you, he’d scrape you.
BILLY: Daisy and I waved to the audience and they cheered and whooped and hollered.
DAISY: And then Billy said, “All right, ladies and gentlemen, we are The Six!” And the rest of the band came out onstage and went right into “Hold Your Breath.”
EDDIE: I came back out onto that stage and my guitar is sitting on the side there and I have to go and pick it up. And that chapped my ass. It’s not enough he tells me how to do my job, he controls when we can go on tour, now he’s taking my goddamn instrument from me and taking my place onstage. And he can’t even bother to hand it back to me when I get back up there? Do you understand where I’m coming from?
DAISY: As they were all walking out, I whispered into Billy’s ear. “Should I leave?” And he shook his head no. So I joined in, started harmonizing when I could, banging my tambourine. It was such a fun show being up there with them the whole time.
BILLY: I don’t remember why Daisy stayed that night. I think I assumed she’d leave but when she didn’t, I thought, All right, then. I guess she’s staying. I mean, the whole night was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of deal.
WARREN: I swear to you, Karen had this “I just got laid” vibe to her all night. And I was convinced Bones was lighting her special.
BILLY: I leaned over to Eddie, between one of the songs, and I was going to thank him for earlier but he wouldn’t even look at me. I couldn’t get his eye.
EDDIE: I was so over Billy’s nice-guy routine. He was an asshole. A complete and utter selfish prick. Sorry to say it but that’s how I saw it. To be honest, I still see it that way now.
BILLY: I finally tapped Eddie on the shoulder, right before the finale, I said, “Thanks, man. I just wanted to really give ’em a good show since Rolling Stone is out there.”
EDDIE: He said he’d normally let me play but since it was Rolling Stone, he wanted to really do it right.
GRAHAM: Pete gave me a look between sets and I was trying to figure out what the problem was. He finally nodded toward Eddie.
Look, I got it. With Billy, it was easy to feel like a second-class citizen. But how we all feel about it doesn’t change the fact that people were paying money to see Billy. People liked his songs, the way he wrote them. They liked watching him up there. Billy was right to go out onto that stage and take Eddie’s guitar. It wasn’t respectful, necessarily. It certainly wasn’t flattering or nice. But it made for a better show.