Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Calling all 90s CCM fans!

#63: Go to 5 concerts.
Well, put on your fat pants; the fair is in town! The KY State Fair has a free concert every night, and last night's was the Newsboys (with Sanctus Real). My sister Beulah got me hooked on the Newsboys years ago, and even though they've changed band members like high-school girls change BFFs, my love for them remains. I saw them once before; they came to Charleston back in 2008 as part of a Franklin Graham festival. Funny story with that, actually...

It was a Saturday afternoon. Tom and I had just finished up one of our many "phone dates" (we lived in separate states for the first several months of our courtship, so we had to get creative), and this one was at Starbucks. I was at the one right across the street from the coliseum where the festival was going to be, so I told Mom, Beulah, and Phil that I would just meet them there. Well, I was just enjoying my beverage and probably reading or journaling, when this guy walked in and went right past my table. He was dressed in black from head to toe; he had these big clunky-looking combat boots, and a jacket that had all kinds of buckles and straps all over it. I immediately thought, "He looks like he could be one of the guys playing tonight; I wonder if I should ask him." Then I thought, "Esther, don't be stupid; imagine how humiliated you would be if he turned out to be some regular guy who just dressed like that all the time? Besides, you know what the Newsboys look like, and he doesn't look like one of them." Well...later that same evening, Beulah, Phil, and I were right in front of the stage, jumping around and singing along with the Newsboys; and the lead singer at the time, Peter Furler, started introducing all of the other band members. When he pointed to Jeff Frankenstein (yes, that is his real name) on bass guitar, I looked over and saw the guy from Starbucks. Talk about a missed opportunity!

Anyway, a few changes since then...just to name a few, Jeff now plays keyboards, and Peter left the group a few years ago. Their current lead singer is Michael Tait. As someone who grew up listening to nothing but CCM (contemporary Christian music), this was a really big deal to me. Huge. Michael Tait used to be a part of the group dcTalk, who I absolutely loved, and I was so sad when they split up to pursue their own individual musical endeavors because I never got to see them live. So when my friend Heather invited me to the concert last night, I jumped on it. I mean, seeing Michael Tait singing with dcTalk would have been amazing, but Michael Tait singing with the Newsboys is pretty awesome in its own right.

It was a great show! I can't remember the last time I went to a Christian rock concert that was so clearly all about Jesus. I know that sounds weird, but I think it's easy to get caught up in the loud music and the flashing lights and lose sight of what it's all about. Not the case here. Michael's not only a great showman, but he's clearly passionate about Jesus and the Gospel. Of course, they still had loud music and flashing lights; I think I'd be more than a little disappointed if they didn't. :) Obviously, I wasn't as close to the stage as last time, but the view was still pretty good. The highlight of the evening was what I call the "fake closer"...you know, when a band plays what they say is going to be their last song, and then they leave for like, two minutes and come back and play something else. They were talking about "reaching back into the archives," which of course made everyone think they were going to play "Shine" which was released in 1994 or 1995 (?) and is still the Newsboys' biggest single ever. Instead, they played dcTalk's biggest single, "Jesus Freak." What a fun surprise!

That song also included another surprise, featuring drummer Duncan Phillips (who I always refer to as "Dunny" because that's how he's listed on the first album he did with the group). This video isn't from last night's show, but it was basically the exact same thing. Enjoy!

DUNNY!!! That was so crazy!!!

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