Liz Huston and I have become each other's Christian concert sidekick. Tonight this brought us to Banker's Life for the Love Ran Red Tour featuring Christ Tomlin, 10th Avenue North and Rend Collective. We came with her mom and friends from their church who all arrived more than an hour before you could get in to the stadium. We were some of the first people in line and then scored seats in the front row on the floor. It was insane.
Rend Collective, my favorite group of the night, opened the concert. They're from Ireland and have such a cool sound. They call themselves a celebration band. You can't help but love their bow ties and crazy instruments like an accordion and a wild tambourine and a crazy handmade instrument they call 'the Jingling Johnny.' They've recorded an album on a beach around a campfire with their friends and made a music video on a fishing boat in the open sea.
Tonight I was beyond thrilled to hear My Lighthouse and Build Your Kingdom Here live. They're two of my absolute favorite songs and it was surreal to sing them this close to the band. There is something different about Christian concerts-- you're watching performers, but you're also worshiping together and there is something so special about that.
If I could choose a group to go on tour with I think I'd have a hard time finding a group more fun than these guys. They say, “We would far rather be defined by joy, fun, freedom and laughter than any genre title or pop-culture label. The biggest clue as to what The Art of Celebration sounds like is in the title. We tried to make it sound like fun. It’s what the Psalmist calls, ‘a joyful noise’.” After hearing them tonight I'm eager to keep listening to Burn Like A Star and We Are More Than Conquerors.
Next up was Tenth Avenue North, another favorite. I've been using songs of theirs like Worn, You Are More and By Your Side in devotions for years. Mike, the head singer, is nuts--he was jumping and dancing all over the stage.
One of the songs I hadn't heard before that I really liked was The Spark, "You are where my soul finds rest. You are where I lay my head. Your grace lets me catch my breath. Lets me fall into your arms again."
It was a quick set change and then Christ Tomlin and his band took the stage. It seems like he has been around forever and so many of his songs have become our anthems at Young Life and Tecumseh. Tonight I loved singing Our God Is Greater and Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) together.
For their new song The Table, they're finding the best gospel choir in each city they visit and having them come sing on stage with the band. Really cool. Something else different I'd never seen before was an audience Q & A. Before the show on the screens they told people to tweet @christomlin with their name, seat section and question. In the middle of his set Chris read and answered a handful of the questions. He told us about a prank war he'd had while touring with Delirious years ago and why the World Edition of How Great Is Our God is his favorite song he's ever recorded.
All three groups came back to the stage to sing 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord Oh My Soul) together. It's another one of my favorites and I loved seeing Rend Collective, Tenth Avenue North and Chris Tomlin Band together.