Saturday, March 7, 2009

Newsboys + DecembeRadio + VOTA + Bread of Stone + Meeting all of them = Awesomesauce

So, last night I went to a long awaited concert. Newsboys is on tour, and they came to my school (with the opening bands Bread of Stone, VOTA, and DecembeRadio). I had been looking forward to this for some time. Newsboys has always been a little special to me. The very first contemporary Christian song I ever heard was Shine, when I was at a skating party at 8 or 9 years old. We've never listened to that sort of thing at home – growing up the only “bands” I ever heard were Beatles, Beach Boys, and ABBA. I didn't know anything about the music world, or even what instruments they used, or that normal people listened to that kind of thing all the time. All I knew was that I loved the song, and every time I went to a skating party with our homeschool group I awaited it eagerly. It always made me smile.

That was about ten years ago now. So perhaps it's understandable that I'd be a little sentimental about finally getting to see them live, after so many years.

We got there early. I had a seat in the sixth row back from the stage. Everyone else I knew well was up in the second orchestra, so I was alone, but that's OK. I like going to concerts alone – in fact, I don't like going with people. Music is too special, in some ways. Concerts belong to God, and to honesty, and to abandonment of masks and pretenses.

We had some announcements from both my school and the local radio station who was sponsoring the concert, and then Bread of Stone came out. I had never heard them before, but I very much enjoyed them. Videos may be inserted later, if I manage to get YouTube to cooperate (it's just become slower and slower every month since I first started using it, I swear).


They didn't do that many songs, but I really enjoyed them. They reminded me almost more of Korean pop-rock rather than American.

After that, VOTA came out. I had only heard of them because my friend Joy had mentioned them on her blog – I had never heard any of their music. I had no idea what to expect from them.

I was absolutely blown away. They were by far my favorite of the opening band. With a unique style, great lyrics, and an explosive stage presence, I could easily see them gaining a lot more recognition in years to come. Indeed, I hope they do. The lead singer actually came down into the audience and was holding the microphone up to different audience members (he was all of 4 or 5 feet away from me).

They slowed it down a few songs in, and I started filming, because I loved what he was saying. Then they started playing a song, as I continued to film. It was the song Honestly (which I also intend to upload at some point). That was the song that hit me hardest by far out of everything that was played all night.

After that they sped it up again. The lead singer turned over his guitar to reveal big letters saying “VOTA LOVES TX!” on the back. I wish I'd caught it on camera. It made me laugh.


I was very sad when VOTA went off stage, but before doing so, they offered a free digital album to everyone in the room, which made me glad (because honestly, I'm too poor to afford a CD right now, but I really wanted to be able to get some of their music).

DecembeRadio came on next. They'd played for worship in Chapel that morning, so I knew what to expect. They were also a lot of fun. I love it when bands look like they're totally enjoying their time on stage – all the bands were like that last night.


After DecembeRadio, Duncan (Newsboys' drummer) came out and introduced the president of Join the Tribe, the mission this tour is supporting. He spoke for a while, which was really good, and thought provoking. I don't have any pictures of that. Afterwards we had an intermission. I went out to wander around and get some water, and Linte came and found me. We walked and talked, and got back into the auditorium right about on time.

Newsboys opened up with Wherever We Go. I can't remember the exact order of all their songs – it went by way too fast, and I was having too much fun to bother with remembering exact orders. I filmed and took some pictures.


One of the most memorable moments for me was they they started up playing Shine. I have a video of it, but it's not upload-worthy, considering I was jumping up and down and screaming and singing along so loud you can hear it in the video, and you really don't need to see/hear that. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed it very much.

Then they played The Breakfast Song, which was also pretty much awesome (once again, a video belongs here...). Of course towards the end they had to do the classic spinning drum set which they're famous for. That, of course, was cool.

And they finished off with I Am Free and another worship song. Afterwards, I went out, saying hi to friends I met along the way. I worked my way through the packed lobby with Linte, who then went to find Telpe. I really wanted to talk to VOTA. I found the lead singer, and hung back for a moment, terrified. I'd never talked to a band member before. He finally noticed me and said hello with the friendliest smile imagineable, so I shook his hand and talked to him for a moment, just to tell him that I really enjoyed their music and it was an encouragement and a blessing to me. He was really, really nice. I was too nervous to ask for an autograph or a picture, but I was glad to get to talk to him. Fortunately, he was so nice that I felt much more confident talking to other bands later.

Then I went back to find Linte and Telpe. I found Telpe with my friends Basil, Ian, and Caleb. Linte was apparently now looking for me. Eventually we all got back together. It turned out that Mercy had been given a sticker that would get her into a personal autograph line with the Newsboys – most people were only getting them if they signed up to “Join the Tribe,” but a lady had an extra, so she gave it to Mercy. So I borrowed Caleb's cellphone and called home to let my family know we'd be late.

Since we were waiting around, I decided to be brave again. I went to wait to talk to DecembeRadio. I took a picture for some other girls, then Telpe took a picture of me with the band. The first one was blurry, so she had to do another. As we waited, the drummer cracked a joke, so we all ended up making faces!


Then Telpe got their autographs, and I took a picture of her with them.


They were great guys – they were really funny (obviously, considering the above picture incident).

I went over then to talk to Bread of Stone. They were really nice guys, and I got them all to sign as well as talking to them for a minute or two. They're sort of small and unknown still, and I hope they do well.

Then, as Caleb, Basil, Telpe, Linte and I waited around, the same lady who had given Telpe her sticker came and said she had more extra, and she didn't want them to go to waste. So she gave one to the rest of us, and directed us to the signing line.

We were all freaking out. We went to stand in line, just about bouncing off the walls of the hallway we were so excited. I was afraid I'd be too impatient to stand in line, but I was having fun just talking, so it wasn't too bad. My line friends:


Then we actually got to the band. We all got autographs, and we got to chat briefly. Linte asked Peter, the lead singer, if he's ever actually barbecued and eaten hamster (a reference to the song Shine). I have no idea what inspired her to ask that, but it made me laugh.

Then Caleb asked for a picture, so we all got a picture with the lead singer:


We went out the door, and after a few minutes just broke down in random exclamations. None of us could really believe that had just happened. We were beyond hyper.

The boys walked Linte, Telpe and I home, and we all said goodnight and went inside. Any was there, as was Mar (who came home long before we did – he was also at the concert). Telpe and I were talking non-stop about everything that had happened, and Any was just listening and watching and laughing and laughing. It was late, but we couldn't calm down.

It was a special night. Not just because I got to meet some cool people. Not just because I got to hear some good music. But because sometimes it's good to step back, re-evaluate why I enjoy what I enjoy, and why I so rarely allow myself to enjoy it. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I'm still kind of in a daze. And I was given a few things to think about. Hopefully I'll have the time to actually do so.

God bless,

- Elraen -

[PS - in case you're not sick of pictures yet, there are a bunch more on facebook: here's the public link.]

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