On Friday night, Lu and I did something that we’d never done together, and that I hadn’t done in about 20 years — we attended a “Contemporary Christian Music” concert.
I’m pretty sure that the last concert that I attended that could have been described as Contemporary Christian Music was a Steve Green concert in 1985. The concert was held at a church in Waterloo (Iowa), and I’m fairly sure that admission was free. I remember being impressed that, even though CDs were for sale at a table outside the auditorium, Steve Green insisted that anyone that thought that they would benefit from a CD, but wasn’t able to afford the cost, should feel free to take a CD as a gift.
Not surprisingly, things have changed in 20-something years. Concerts aren’t often at churches. Nothing is free. And the music is much louder.
When I heard on Friday that tickets would still be available at the door for the Newsboys Go Tour, Lu and I decided on a whim to attend. We first attended the beginning of the homecoming concert at Coe College, then went from there to the U.S. Cellular Center. Tickets were indeed still available, and our last-minute seats were some of the best in the house. (Today’s concert attenders apparently don’t know how to pick the best seats.)
Since we attended the Coe concert first, we missed the opening band completely. We arrived during Kutless‘ talking time, and heard just a few songs from them.
During the intermission, the Newsboys’ new guitarist, Paul Colman, promoted Global Tribe, a poverty relief organization, and discussed a recent trip to China.
It was interesting to visually survey the crowd during intermission. The Newsboys attracted a broad age range of people; we were surprised by the large number of people our age (and older) that attended. Among the young people that we know, opinions vary about the Newsboys. While some pooh-pooh the Newsboys for being too electronic and thus less than a “real” band, and others object to this genre entirely, we found out that many people that we know were at the concert.
Quite unlike the Steve Green concert, the Newsboys concert began with lots of noise, confetti cannons, and lights. There was what I can only describe as a sea of music, continually pounding, wave upon wave. The seats literally shook with the intensity of the low bass notes. (At the risk of permanently gaining the label of ‘uncool’ and ‘old fogey’, I will now reveal that I was prepared with a set of ear plugs.)
The Opening Song with Confetti Cannon
To further perpetuate the unfair stereotype that I am ‘uncool’ and an ‘old fogey’, I’ll now reveal that I found the music to be too loud, causing the lyrics to be muddled and even unintelligible at times. I would be very interested to hear the same music performed with the volume closer to studio level.
As expected at a concert called the Go Tour, the Newsboys played several songs from their Go album. Oddly, though, Go was not among them. It was used at the beginning of the concert as an introduction as the musicians came on stage, but it was not highlighted. My other favorite song from this album, In Wonder, was not featured either. The concert also featured some older songs, including He Reigns, which, by the way, is much better with a backup choir (not used at this concert).
The staging included what I call a “model’s runway” that extended from the main stage into the audience. While some of the music was performed from this runway, it also served as the location for the “sermon” segment of the concert. Peter Furler, the lead singer, spoke sincerely about everyone’s need for salvation and forgiveness through Jesus.
On the Runway
Peter Furler has a, um, distinctive singing voice, which was occasionally, er, often drowned out by all of the other noise. He also played guitar and had a percussion duel with the band’s drummer near the conclusion of the concert. At the end of the runway, in the center of the audience on the arena’s floor, a mini-stage with a small drum set was elevated into the air as the two drummers dueled back and forth. It was fun and, um, loud.
It might come as no surprise to you to find that we were among the few in the crowd that were not dancing, hopping, jumping, swaying or waving. (Now is the time for you to apply the ‘stick-in-the-mud’ label.) I did, however, tap my foot and sing along.
All in all, while a concert such as this is a bit outside my comfort zone, it was an interesting experience. If you like this style of music, however, you’ll “hear” more of it by listening to a CD than attending a concert. And, I’d recommend that you be an old fogey like me, and preserve your hearing with some good ear plugs!