kimana517: (music : hanson)
[personal profile] kimana517
Friday night Isaac and I both left work a few hours early because we had to get downtown to be trained for working the Holt International Child Sponsorship table during Winter Jam. It was fun to cut the line (we had to be there an hour before the doors opened) and get right in for free. We went up to a Holt table near the Newsboys merchandise table and met some other volunteers, and then they asked us if we wanted to be stationed there or if we'd like to be down actually in the arena, where we would get mobbed at intermission but get to see the show. Um, yeah, no contest - we went down there. We ended up on the floor behind the sound/lighting guys, maybe the equivalent of 25 rows back from the stage and about 15 feet from the end of the runway from the stage. NICE. We were informed by the official Holt guy what to do, and we helped set up a bit, and we met some other volunteers, who were all incredibly nice. (Isaac even got to network a bit and gave out a business card, so hey, maybe his boss will really benefit from letting him leave work early!) 

The concert was great, but first let me tell you about volunteering. Turns out most of the Holt kids are up for adoption, and the sponsors are basically providing care for them until they are adopted - which could be any time from immediately to never. There were so many of them. There were about 12 full-length folding tables with at least 60 packets (one packet = one child) on each of them, and that's not even close to as many as Holt has. I had tears in my eyes when I realized that for all we knew our child/ren could be on one of those tables and maybe someone from Jacksonville would be caring for them until we can. I also almost cried when, after the concert had ended and the attendees had left, we had to put so many packets in a box to be taken to the next concert and those kids would have to wait another day to be chosen.

We really didn't have to do anything but enjoy the show until intermission, when we were indeed mobbed, but it was awesome to help so many people help impact kids' lives. I know a few Holt adoption brochures were given out too, so I am praying those people go for it. After the intermission the band Tenth Avenue North played and we were still helping people fill out forms during their whole set, so we pretty much missed them. After that we had a few more people come to the table, but we were pretty much done. Winter Jam still has a lot of tour dates, so if they're coming near you, I strongly encourage you to sign up to volunteer. If the awesome cause is not enough motivation for you, keep in mind that you will also get in free and get a free hat and CD.

Now, to the concert itself. Here are all the acts and what I thought of them.

Revive - They sound like a lot of other alt/rock bands (I think they most remind me of Sanctus Real), but since I like alt/rock bands, I think that's a good thing. I'm going to watch for a deal on downloading their CD. Also, they're Australian, which is a huge bonus, IMO.

Robert Pierre - He was good, but didn't stand out from other young guy soloists out there - which are not my favorite type of musician anyway. Also, he looks kind of like a metrosexual Tim Tebow. Hehe.

Sidewalk Prophets - At first I was like, "They're still around?" and then I realized I was confusing them with Smalltown Poets. Heh. I really like them though. I'm surprised they're not getting more radio play. They kind of remind me of Mercy Me. Also, their lead singer is a chubby, geeky guy who did one of the best Michael Jackson impressions I've ever heard.

Fireflight - I already liked them going in, but this is the first time I've seen a girl-fronted rock band in concert and the rocker chick-wannabe inside me was fangirling like whoa. Why didn't God give me a powerful voice and the ability to pull off rocker chick hair? They were awesome. In case you haven't heard of them, they sound a lot like Paramore sometimes and like Evanescence other times, and their set ROCKED. I think they were my second favorite performance of the night.

Tenth Avenue North - Like I said, we didn't get to actually watch them, so I can just judge their sound, which was exactly like it is on the radio - which is a good thing. I like a lot of their songs. I'm trying to think who they remind me of, because there's definitely someone, but it's not coming. Maybe they remind me of themselves, since they've been around for a few years now. - Aha! Figured it out. It's The Fray. They sound like The Fray mixed with Foolish Things.

I realize Winter Jam was their idea, but I have to say I'm wondering what the heck these guys are doing on this tour. LOL. Maybe it's to appease the parents who brought their kids? I still haven't forgiven them for putting "The Christmas Shoes" into song form and allowing radio stations to play it a zillion times each holiday season. They did have the best guitar solo of the night, which Isaac and I greatly appreciated (Christian music has far too few guitar solos), but there's something disturbing about middle-aged men dressing like men in their 20s or 30s and spiking their hair that way too. Their set was good, but it just didn't fit.

Newsboys - Duh. They're the Newsboys. But... I miss their old songs and their old sound. I miss hearing that Aussie accent when they sing. I liked Tait as lead singer better live than I have on their latest singles, although his dance moves were hilariously awful. (I'm glad he didn't dance like that when I went to dc Talk's Jesus Freak tour. That may have inhibited my 14-year-old self's humongous crush on him. Wait - maybe that would've been a good thing?) They rocked but it just didn't feel like the Newsboys without Peter Furler or Phil Joel. (Although that might sound silly because I never actually saw the Newsboys live until this concert, and I love Tait with an inexplicable love left over from my teenage years. That could partially be because he has aged immeasurably better than TobyMac has.) I'd love to see them again in one of their own shows where they could play for longer than half an hour and then play some of their old stuff. Highlights of their set were "He Reigns", and throwing in half of "Jesus Freak" at the end of the set. I jumped up and down like I did at the JFT in 1997, and Isaac laughed at me. Hehe. Disappointments were that no one loves "Woo-Hoo" as much as I do so of course they didn't play it.

Third Day - I've been a big Third Day fan since I won an autographed copy of their debut CD - the first CD I ever owned - on my favorite CCM station's "Jeopardy Bible Challenge" in 1996. I also saw them live that year and hardly anyone was there because no one had heard of them yet. LOL! And they just keep getting better. I loved how they made "Carry My Cross" and "Thief" into a medley. Little-known Bethany fact: I used to write Christian poetry, and each year would enter a poem into the WOL Teens Involved competition. One year (1999?) I had no ideas and the submission due date was near. I was listening to that song and decided to write a poem about the same subject. I won first place at the National level.  =oD  At Winter Jam they were excellent - great instrumental solos (their pianist's *almost* rivaled Taylor Hanson's mad skillz. Almost.), great mix of old and new songs, great stage presence, etc. Not to mention Mac Powell's shout out to Jacksonville's greatness in southern rock history, and being the hometown of Tim Tebow. They were definitely my favorite act of the night.

Random funny concert happening: during one of the acts someone on the tour had the brilliant idea to put several humongous balloons out in the crowd for people to bounce up and down. This is not the smartest idea ever when your sound/lighting/video guys are on the floor where there are only a few concert-goers available to hit said humongous balloons to keep them from knocking into expensive equipment. One of those balloons was heading straight for two flat-screen monitors. The rest of us were focused on the concert, but Isaac managed to attempt to hit one out of the way, but since he was just one person, it went on to hit one of the monitors and knocked it onto the ground! We were all like, "Oh, crap!" And I immediately though, "Aw, man, Holt's going to add this to our adoption bill!" LOL. Thankfully it wasn't broken (and, like I said, it probably would've hit both monitors and/or the video guy perched precariously nearby), but it was pretty funny.
. . .

So, Friday night we went to a rock concert for free. Saturday night we went to the symphony for free! Ha! Isaac had been looking forward to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's Organ Symphony Celebration for almost a year, because they were actually performing a piece (Symphony No. 3) by Camille Saint-Saens, his favorite composer. They also performed Bach's Toccata and Fugue and Jongen's Sinfonia Concertante (which neither of us had heard of), and it was all featuring a 23-year-old organ prodigy named Felix Hell, whose last name we made numerous original and very mature jokes about. We had seen online that there was something called "Words on Music" before the concert started and we figured we may as well go see what that is. I'm so glad we did! The conductor and organist told us about the pieces we would be hearing that night, about the organ (both generic organ-playing info and the JSO's historic and beautiful organ), and then answered questions. For someone like me, who is not a regular listener of classical music (I think it's beautiful, but I greatly prefer music with words to sing along to), that was extremely beneficial. It helped me understand and more greatly appreciate what we later heard in the concert. And it was an amazing concert. So gorgeous. I love watching the violinists out of the corner of my eye because when they raise their bows together it looks like reeds blowing in the wind. Isaac was enraptured when they finally started the Saint-Saens piece, because he had been waiting so long for it! I was proud of myself for recognizing a lot of it. (Although I owe that to Isaac since he listens to it all the time.)

Can I just say yet again how grateful I am to live in a place that, despite its small-town vibe, offers all the amenities of a city, like big rock concerts, and the symphony? And also how grateful I am that my dad works in a job that can get me free tickets to said symphony and free parking?
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September 2011

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