Gracie's - Wilmington, NC

The final and last 99 show, and instead of going out with a bang, it was more of a jumbled mess. With the newest keyboardist Marly added to the band, things had finally gelled so there was an actual and dependable core band once again. Exit and Darren keeping their usual roles, and Ray now on the electric drums instead of keys.

At this point, the band had been reconfigured to be 100% live and with no backing track, but could fall back on the backing tracks if needed. Ideally, there would have been another performer who would just play samples, but it was a challenge to get even one keyboardist, so samples were split between Marly and Exit.

But there was a major change in that Darren had left NY on Christmas night in 2004, so he was in NC while Exit, Ray, and Marly were all in NY. Exit had trained Marly on all the key parts for 99, and she had never even met Darren prior to arriving in NC. With the band bifurcated, it wasn't looking good, but they pressed on.

Come the day of the road trip from Upstate NY to Coastal NC, the van is packed up, and as Exit begins to back the van out, the brakes go out entirely. Ray yells to use the parking brake as the van rolls downhill, which worked. This, though felt ominous enough for Ray to refuse to go.

Exit immediately got the van to a nearby mechanic and had new brake lines run, and after several minutes trying to get Ray back on board, it was decided that the show must go on, so Marly and Exit jumped in the van and began the 16-hour overnight journey to NC.

It wasn't enough that the brakes were a problem, so 2 miles shy of the VA/NC border, a tire gave way. It wasn't a dramatic pop, rather a crumble. The tire was so old that the rubber had rotted away making for the most unusual tire failure.

Fortunately, there was the Welcome Center at the border, so Exit left an uneasy Marly in the van and walked the 2000 steps it took to reach a payphone to call the police for help. The NC trooper that arrived was extremely friendly, and even gave Exit a ride back to the van after calling a tow truck.

When the tow truck arrived, Marly and Exit were brought to the nearest town and left at a Walmart auto center. Being early in the morning still, it would require some waiting for the tire center to come alive. When they saw the tire, it was clear that all the tires needed to be replaced. With the $500 spend on the urgent brakeline repair, the travel expenses just went up another $200 for the tires. Good thing for credit cards.

Finally, Marly and Exit arrived and met up with Darren. All 3 took stock of the situation now that Ray was not there and make a plan as to how they will proceed. Ultimately, Exit decided to try and replace Ray and play the electronic kit while singing. This would turn out to be problematic, as Exit's skills as a drummer lack one of the more important and cohesive natures of drumming, a steady beat. This less-than-perfect drumming would then affect Darren's playing. Fortunately, some of the songs did use the backing tracks, so they weren't entirely messed up.

Another favorable aspect was there was only a handful of people there, although by chance, Krysti from Garden of Sirens was walking by and stuck around for the show.

Overall, this performance lacked in many ways, but it was the last 99 show and the first time a One Cent Left song was played live. During the reformation of 99, Exit had been writing new music which didn't quite fit 99, so the new song Again was rebranded as a One Cent Left song.
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