Monday, May 3, 2010

Night 1-Agapefest 2010- But, for the rain... It was heavenly!

Hey gang!

This is the first of two about Agapefest 2010. This article will cover all the fun on Friday night and the second article will focus more on Saturday’s events.

I rolled into Greenville for the 34th installment of Agapefest on Friday night at about 4pm, or an hour before the festival was to start. I was worried about whether I would get a good parking place. The reason for my worry is that the field at the Bond County Fairgrounds that we are parked in tends to get really muddy if it rains and I really hate getting stuck in the mud. Thanks to the great staff and a relatively sunny week, the field was dry. Awesome!

As soon as I got inside the gate, the smells of the concession area kicked in and they were fantastic. The thing I like most about the concessions is that it gives you a sense of the county fair from when we were children. Later in the night, I had my annual funnel cake, which even gives normal people a sugar buzz. For me, the long-time diabetic, it gives me the rush to jump around like the rockers on stage minus the long hair, look and singing voice.

But I started out with two double cheeseburgers. Let me say that when I ordered them, I was thinking thin, McDonald’s double cheeseburgers. These babies made Hardee’s Thickburgers look wimpy. That’s a darn good burger! I was able to finish both (barely) and then made my way to the concert area.

By looking at the schedule before the festival, I had the sense that the Friday night edition was going to be more of a worship set. The Saturday edition was more rocking, but more on that later. We were started out with Mark David and Surface Deep. They are a group from Alton, Illinois and if you want your socks worshipped off, give them a look on YouTube. My personal favorite from over there is Praise Him. They didn’t do that in their 25 minute set, but it was still powerful and awesome worship. I was standing about four rows back and was trying to dance a little. They ended with a great song called A Brighter Day. It sold me on their CD.

The other thing I love about Mark David and Surface Deep is the number of big guys in the group that can get down and boogie. As another of the big guy grouping, it always does my heart good to see big guys that show off their skills. These guys were super and a great praise band to start the evening with.

Next up was Me In Motion. If you haven’t heard of these guys, you are missing out on a guitarist from California, a drummer from Nebraska and the lead singer from Ohio. The song I wanted to hear was Losers, and they delivered that song early in the set. The songs that came later that really stood out were Leaving Here Someday, a rockin’ tune in a vein comparable to The Afters or Remedy Drive, and Seek Justice, Have Mercy, which I think is the most powerful song on the CD.

For most of Friday night and the morning on Saturday, I was trying to think who the lead singer sounded like. One of my friends that I ran into Saturday had the best analogy. He said that he sounded like Weird Al Yankovic when Al was seriously singing a tune. I was like, “Exactly!” It is a great CD and as I looked at their website today,, I noticed something even cooler for you guys looking for their CD. You can download it for $6.99 from their page.

Next up was Wavorly. They are best known for their radio hit Praise and Adore. I hadn’t heard them before, but they are going to have to grow on me. They were decent and the crowd was really into them. For me, they were hit and miss, but I did like Praise and Adore.

After Wavorly, we were treated to the news that Above the Golden State wasn’t making it to the show. I was really disappointed with that because I love their music. However, Abandon Kansas, was there to take their place so the show continued on schedule. They were a good looking band, according to many of the females around me, especially one of the guitarists. I have to laugh that ladies’ mentalities about what is hot in harder rock hasn’t changed since the eighties. If there is a guy with long black hair and a wife-beater shirt, they go nuts. After a few minutes of all the gushing, I couldn’t take anymore and headed out for my funnel cake. I drowned my jealousy in a heaping helping of sugar and fried dough. It’s better for everyone!

After that, Addison Road hit the stage and I was back for them. Before that though, I took a few pictures of people that entertained me. First, I saw the Mario Brothers. Yes, Mario, Luigi and Wario all posed for me. I missed out on Bananaman and another kid that dressed like Larry the Tomato. However, I ran into one of my best friends of Agapefest, one of the many Free Hugs Ambassadors. I love these teenagers. Not because they hug me, but because it is a safe love attitude for the environment. You hug, you chat, you move on.

So I did finally make it back to the same spot that I had before I left. When I got back, I found my friend Tyler Mulvany with a couple of his friends and we started talking about how great it was that the field wasn’t anywhere near as muddy as last year. Right about then, one of his buddies tripped and almost fell. He started kicking the ground where he tripped and within a minute or so, we had a shoe from last year’s festival that was stuck there. He did try to garner some attention for the shoe telling the crowd that this was a 2009 Agapefest collectible and people should be clawing him for it. No one bit on the offer and he later took the shoe to one of the Agapefest promoters to see if she would pimp the shoe later in the show.

Addison Road came out and rocked the house. I have been a fan of these guys ever since I saw the video for All That Matters. They are flat out awesome. They closed the set with Hope Now with an addition of another praise song that fails me as I am writing this. It was one of those moments where I knew God was speaking to me.
Everything rides on Hope Now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

I felt myself tearing up. It was a great ending to their show. It is a truly great feeling when artists who have no idea what you’re feeling can evoke emotions from you. A great performance.

After Addison Road, Sanctus Real took the stage and rocked the house. I did not have the newest CD, Pieces of a Real Heart, so much of their show was new stuff. They performed their new song, Freedom. I can’t describe how awesome I thought it was. It will sell well, trust me. Unfortunately, by the middle of their performance, the lightning came.

The first two lightning waves were little and didn’t make people think much. They were in the distance and didn’t have any thunder with them. The third one though, packed a punch. It looked like a ground strike in the distance and thunder that accompanied it gave the lightning a feel that it might be closer than we thought.

The officials running the affairs went to the stage and told Sanctus Real that they had to stop the show for people’s safety. So the lead singer looks out and goes, “Hey, the people told us that we have to stop playing so before we go, we’ll do a little Whatever You’re Doing.” I love Sanctus Real, but here are the facts. You were told to stop and want to play some more. Do you also realize that the stage that you are contains a whole lot of metal? That’s important to note, guys. I’m going to my car. If you guys turn into rotisserie chicken on a hot plate, I’m not gonna be here for the fireworks.

So as most of the crowd exits the facility, the officials of Agape get a great idea. For those that stayed, let’s give them David Crowder Band in the Stage 2 barn. That means that people are indoors and no one gets fried by the storm. I didn’t get to see it personally, but those that I talked to on Saturday told me that the acoustic set that the band gave them was excellent. They also did tell me how packed inside it was. I started thinking how many sardines we would become if Skillet had to do the same on Saturday.

The good news for me was that I beat the storm home to Effingham and I was nice and safe. My wife was relieved that I wasn’t stupid and decided to hold up an umbrella and try to rough it out. She really loves me, but she is just thankful that I am not taking as many chances with my well-being as I used to.

Anyhow, that was it for Friday night. I hope you enjoy the pictures and feel free to comment on any of your Friday night memories here. Hopefully, I have the Saturday edition up tonight, but at worst, it will be up sometime tomorrow.

I love you guys!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Blessings and prayers,