This past week, my wife Carmen, my mother-in-law Linda, her friend Donnie and I attended two awesome Christian concerts so I thought I’d spend this time sharing them.
Last Saturday, we made the 90-mile trip up to Rupp Arena for Winter Jam 2013.
Arriving 15 minutes before the opening act, we found the place packed. A line of folks waiting to get in ran from the arena entrance all the way to the back parking lot. But the weather was nice and the line moved pretty quickly.
NewSong was the first group to take the stage. They were also the MC’s of the event so one of the band members would come back out to introduce all the following acts.
Jamie Grace came out next and performed her fun, pop-style music about loving God. TobyMac, who wound up being the headlining act that night, also made a surprise appearance during Grace’s set.
Sidewalk Prophets took the stage next. They sang a few songs including their popular hit “You Love Me Anyway,” which everyone sang along to.
Before the intermission, the rocker group Red made their entrance. With them came a theatrical set of props and pyrotechnics that really lit up the stage and the arena. Me and Carmen enjoyed their songs but I think it was a bit too loud for Linda and Donnie. The best part was they announced their new CD was on sale in the concourse area for just $5. So as soon as their set was through, me and Carmen made a bee-line for their merchandise table.
Speaker Nick Hall then took center stage and spoke about the dangers of lyrics sung by several popular artists. He mentioned how artists like Katy Perry and One Direction sing about sex, drugs and alcohol which are negative influences on our youth.
The most inspiring part of Winter Jam happened next when singer Matthew West brought out Jordan Jeffers. Jeffers was actually a University of the Cumberlands athlete who overcame drug addiction after he let God take control of his life. One of West’s songs, “Hello, My Name Is,” is actually based on the life story of Jeffers. Being from Corbin, I found this truly awesome.
Finally, the headlining act TobyMac came out and I thought the roof was going to blow off Rupp Arena. He definitely knows how to put on a great show. His music is very cool and he combined that with backup dancers, his own dancing, backup musicians, DJ’s and awe-inspiring pyrotechnics.
He closed out his set by bringing a bunch of children up on the stage with him as confetti fell from the Rupp Arena rafters. He has a hit song called “Steal My Show” and he definitely stole the show that night.
The second concert we all attended was actually right here in Corbin Thursday night at Immanuel Baptist Church.
It was called the Time’s Not Waiting Tour and it featured Seventh Time Down, Abandon and the headlining act, Stellar Kart.
As I’m still familiarizing myself with contemporary Christian music, I actually hadn’t heard of these bands before. But once I heard their music, I recognized many of their songs from the radio and was actually blown away by how great their songs were.
Seventh Time Down came out first and performed several Christian rock songs. Their CD, which Carmen and I bought, says they sound similar to Daughtry and Shinedown, which was pretty accurate. I actually think they’re better and more enjoyable than those two artists though.
Following Seventh Time Down was the band called Abandon. And I’ve got to tell you, I think they are one of my new favorite bands. If you are familiar with popular Christian music, they have a couple singles on the radio called “Feel It In Your Heart” and “Live It Out.” We bought their CD too and I’ve been singing those songs in my head ever since their performance.
They also mentioned how they are trying to raise money to produce a new album. If you want to help them out, they have a Kickstarter campaign going on right now at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/706129050/abandon-new-album. The more you donate, the more cool stuff they will send your way such as a free album download, autographs, T-shirts and more.
Finally, Stellar Kart took the stage and performed several rock songs as well — including a rock version of “A Whole New World” from the Aladdin soundtrack which they invited everyone in attendance to sing along with.
They were really great and wrapped up a fun night of Christian music.
Reflecting on these two nights of concerts, I first have to point out the great bargains they were. Winter Jam was only $10 a ticket while the local concert was just $5 a ticket.
At Winter Jam, it was awesome seeing Rupp Arena packed all the way up to the National Championship banners. We actually got stuck behind the stage but we still had a decent view. Plus it was worth it to see everyone — especially the kids — singing along and praising God.
The Time’s Not Waiting concert was just as awesome to me considering these popular artists took time to do a concert right here in our backyard. I definitely enjoyed the music, it was fun seeing the youth in attendance jumping up and down with the songs, and I hope I get an opportunity like that again to see those great bands.
But more than just my enjoyment, I pray several lives were touched and changed for the better during all the praise and worship songs because that is what it’s all about.
Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org