Monday, August 2, 2010

20 Concerts: Looking Back

On Saturday, I went to what I consider to be my 20th concert, all of which I have attended in just over 2 years. So here is a blog post that is sort of looking back, in a way, partly because it’s a way for me to marvel at how incredibly blessed I am.

I still consider the Skillet concert in April 2008 as my first show, because it was the first one that I understood, wanted to be at, and enjoyed. However, some years earlier (in September 2004) I went to see Seven Places (who broke up a few years later), Sanctus Real, and Jeremy Camp with some friends. I knew only three contemporary songs (Shine by Newsboys, Jesus Freak by DC Talk, and Dive by Stephen Curtis Chapman), so for me it was an experience that was confusing and somewhat frightening-- so much so that I barely remember it now. In fact, here’s what 13-year-old Elraen wrote in her journal the next day:

We found a seat near the back on the hard, metal bleachers. I put my earplugs in. Than it began.
Yikes! It was to loud with earplugs! And “7 places” is a trashy band. I hate most modern music-- they were no exception. Then “Sanctus real” came on. They were slightly, very slightly, better. It was when they were playing that I suddenly thought “What ever am I doing here?” People on the floor by the stage, yelling and screaming, were having fun. Not me. Jeremy Camp was quite a bit better. By now there was at least 1,000 people there, by my reckoning. What a... well, I can’t find the word. Rowdy... no. Loud... no. Crazy... no. Weird... no. Miserable... no. Somewhere in between all those, or rather a mix of all!

Moving right along.

I have much better memories of the Skillet show in 2008, which I actually wanted to go to. It was 3 days after my 17th birthday. I was at the very front in the pit, pressed against the stage right in front of Ben. I had no idea what headbanging was before that, but when Decyfer Down was playing, I started imitating what the people around me were doing. I remember John Cooper saying “OK, everyone who has never hurt your neck headbanging, raise your hand. Don’t be afraid. OK, we’re going to change that tonight.” And I was sitting there thinking “wait, headbanging hurts?” ...And then the next morning I woke up and thought I must have broken my neck. Fun times.

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Ben Kasica, April 24, 2008

Now that I’ve talked about the first of the 20, it’s only fair to talk about the last of the 20, which also happened to be Skillet (and Sanctus Real, coincidentally). I went to Sixflags with two of my siblings and my friend Anywhere who is visiting from Colorado. There I got to meet up with my awesome friend Mikayla, who I know from the Skillet fan world. We had pretty good seats, and it was fun to be there with friends. But more than that, Skillet put on one of the best shows I have ever seen. And not just because it was a show, but because there was a sense of being united. Everyone in that stadium was having fun and getting into it, the band included. There was laughter and tears and enough headbanging to ensure that my neck won’t fully recover for at least another week.
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John Cooper, July 31, 2010
All of the shows that are the most significant to me are the ones where I take something away from it. This one on Saturday fits into that category. God gave me a promise that I’m not letting go of...

Bands I’ve Seen:
Seven Places, Sanctus Real x3, Jeremy Camp, Decyfer Down x4, ~ Skillet!!!!! x6, Ginny Owens, AG Silver, High Flight Society, ~*Bread of Stone, ~*VOTA x2, *DecembeRadio x2, ~*Newsboys x2, ~*Disciple x3, ~*Red x4, Brandon Heath, ~*Dekree, Luminate, ~*FM Static, ~*B. Reith, ~*Audio Unplugged, ~*Thousand Foot Krutch, ~*Jars of Clay, Barcelona, Copeland, ~ Relient K, Ivoryline, ~*Superchic[k] x2, ~*BarlowGirl, Hawk Nelson, *The Letter Black, ~*Me in Motion, ~*Pillar, Sattelites and Sirens, *Jason Gray x2, ~*Jon Foreman, ~*House of Heroes x2, TobyMac, ~*Kutless, *The Museum x2, ~*Chasen x2, ~*Manic Drive, Remedy Drive, Downhere, Living Anthem, Fireflight, Echoing Angels, Seventh Day Slumber, Kids in the Way, ~*Family Force 5, Reilly, Addison Road, Britt Nicole, Tenth Avenue North, Canton Jones, Jeff Chandler, ~*Manafest, Set Free, David Dunn
[58 in all]

* Means I've met them.
~ Means I have their autograph, whether or not I've actually met them.

Top Five Shows
Skillet, Red, Disciple, Decyfer Down - April 11, 2009
Disciple, Decyfer Down, Satellites and Sirens - March 4, 2010
Jon Foreman - April 1, 2010
Skillet, Sanctus Real, David Dunn - July 31, 2010
Jars of Clay, Thousand Foot Krutch, Audio Talks, B. Reith, FM Static - September 19, 2009

Top Five Band Meeting Experiences
Disciple (the first time)
Thousand Foot Krutch
Jon Foreman
Family Force 5
Me in Motion

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[click thumbnails]
Top Five Bands I Want to See

Switchfoot (!!!)
The Almost
Owl City (don’t judge!)

Five Random Other Goals
Meet Skillet
Go to Cornerstone
Road trip to a show in another state
Get a guitar signed by a band
Work merch again

I have enough concert stories to fill a book, enough band merch and autographs to overflow my desk, more epic show memories than most people would have in a lifetime... and I’m just two years in.

I have decided that I want my blog to become more interactive, I guess. I want it to be more of a conversation that me always talking at you. I have found I have no motivation to write here unless I have hope of getting a response echoed back.

And so I’ll end it with a question (I should probably end it with five questions, just to stick to the general theme here, but that might be a bit overwhelming): what is the best live music experience you’ve ever had, and what made it so good? I don’t care if it was the symphony or a Metallica show-- this one’s wide open.

I’m headed to Colorado early tomorrow. Until I return, God bless.

- Elraen -


Legossi_ said...

I'm glad you have such a good time at the concerts. :) Though. I will never understand head banging. ;)

My favorite music experience would have to be my own. Running around backstage and goofing off with friends before concerts when I was 9 and then getting to wear a tux shirt and long fancy skirt and performing (terribly :P ) in front of an entire concert hall.

ElfinDragon said...

If this is inclusive of all performances, I gotta say that operas are way up there. We used to get $5 tickets as students to go see rehearsals for the San Diego Opera. I think my favorite was Die Fledermaus (The Bat)by Strauss. It was the first opera in English that I had seen, plus it was a comedy and more of an operetta.
I know, I'm a nerd. :P

Sarah said...

Skillet at Sonshine 2009. Closely followed by a tie between Higher Ground 2009 and Sonshine 2010. The main reason they were so memorable was because I could clearly see God there, even when I wasn't expecting it.
Sonshine 2009: Skillet performing "How Deep The Father's Love For Us" and the speech that went with that. The part that really hit home was John saying that he wouldn't die for rock music, but would give his life for Jesus if asked (most of the other artists didn't even mention God except in passing). I had this feeling the whole time of "YES, this is the real deal."
Higher Ground 2009: Disciple's set, especially Kevin's sermon, which completely caught me by surprise and once again showed me that they were "the real deal." Mark Schultz's set: he's one of the only quiet CCM artists I like that's still alive, and I love his shows. And yeah, he made me cry. Haha. Oh yeah, and Hyland. Mainly the fact that they had a good show and plenty of energy even though none of them had slept for over 24 hours.
Sonshine 2010: The whole thing. I'm not gonna put much more down now because I'm still processing and blogging about it, but it'll be up soon. Mainly though, Skillet, Casting Crowns (who I thought I would hate), FF5, Hyland, Children 18:3, etc., etc., were all awesome.

Kate said...

That journal entry is both sad and very amusing, considering your current position on contemporary music.

Seven Places actually got back together for another album in 2007, but it wasn't original enough for me to buy it (I have their other two CDs. The main attraction is their lyrics stand out from other artists, so I still have a lot of respect for them despite not liking their sound as much now [too upbeat] but their new CD doesn't ). They were one of my very favorite bands for a while, which started with the concert I went to on that same tour. :lol:

The best show I've been really loved the Disciple concert at AtlantaFest. I know I liked Skillet's ATLFest show more than the other two I've attended, so that's a LOT of likingness, but for some reason I don't have a clear memory of it now or I'd say it's my favorite.

Linda B said...

Best live music experience I've ever had? Well, probably the most enjoyable performance was Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado before you were born. It was such a huge splurge at the time and so much fun. But best live music experience--well, that would probably have to be pretty much all the singing at the Sakeji 75th anniversary reunion in 2000. Especially singing the school hymn (well, trying to while sobbing) and one evening everyone singing "There is a Redeemer" together. I still get choked up when I think about it.

Liz said...

"Five Random Other Goals
Road trip to a show in another state"

we could arrange that. flying might be involved though.

also, i shed some tears reading this. it's such a happy happy thing.

also also, the fact that Disciple is in your top 2 concerts ever does not shock me. i never even thought about top 5 until you posted that and i realized disciple are in my top 2 as well. incredible.

♥ :)

Lethie said...

Im glad you've had such good memories with concerts and decided to share them with us!

I have only been to two concerts Flyleaf at a fair before i was Christian ( i went more for the roadtrip and being with friends) so i dont consider that my first concert.

My other was Satellites and Sirens, Decyfer Down and DISCIPLE in april '10. Which we traveled 3 hours, waited outside for at least another 3 and got in for free! There were so many amazing songs, emotions and memories in that one night. It will always have a special place in my heart because of Kevin's preaching, it was as though he was talking right to me, answer questions i didnt know how to ask and telling me things i needed to hear. It was the first time (in 7 months of being a Christian) that i truely felt God fill a room and speak. Im afraid it might have ruined other concerts for me though :oops: because i dont know if any other band or any other show will top it...but we will have to wait and see. My goal for future concerts. Travel to another state(hopefully texas) to see disciple and/or skillet. And go to my first Christian festival in the next two years.

Hope you have a great time on your trip.

Mary said...

Probably Barlowgirl's concert in October 2009. I don't even remember what date it was or who else played... (now that I think of it, I think VOTA was there too) but I remember walking away from that concert with hope, singing "Though it won't be today, someday I'll hope again". That meant more to me than any other concert so far.

Elenawen said...

I think I have to agree with the Decyfer Down/Red/Skillet in 2009 one we went to....that was the best I've ever seen, rock or otherwise. There was something about the day, about it raining that night, about hopes going up and down and being blessed by God. And honestly, that's the only concert where God's so visibly shown me a quality about Himself.