The first band that we got to see, right upon our arrival at the festival was the Desperation Band from Colorado’s New Life Church. I sing quite a few of their songs at Destiny, so it was cool to get the chance to worship with them.
The rest of the evening we spent a couple of hours walking around the tents and visiting the six stages at the festival waiting for the band we REALLY wanted to see, Family Force 5. We ended up getting our pictures taken with Chapstique and Kruton (of FF5) at the autograph tent - a HUGE bonus for the girls (see pics here). Then we also watched a modern, live painting from a local artist on the Souled Out Stage and caught a bit of Jars of Clay’s headline performance on the main stage. The Jars’ set had a lot of people talking. The whole band came out in short athletic shorts, sunglasses (it was already dark), and tall, striped tube socks. Pretty funny!
One of the most fantastic live performances I’ve witnessed in my life came that evening when Family Force 5 finally took the stage. We skipped out on the last part of Jar’s to make sure that we didn’t miss any of it. I had seen video clips before and my expectations were high. I guess the girl’s were up there too, because I had talked about them so much. Anyhow, the Souled Out field-area was crowded with fans, the LifeLight staff was crowded around the backstage area, and the anticipation was almost unbearable as the band went through sound check.
When they hit the stage with their first song, the place went crazy. It was an hour of high-energy dancing (on stage and off) that didn’t quit. The band’s musicianship and ability to pull in the crowd had my jaw dropping. These guys are the “ultimate rock band of the universe” (which is how the MC introduced them that evening - smile)! Seriously, I was so inspired by the whole set. Amazing! To top if off, about half-way through the show, they announced their apologies that the lead singer wasn’t able to make it for the show... WHAT!!??!? Are you serious?!! I hadn’t even noticed!
We all wanted to stay for another Family Force 5 set that they were labeling a dance-rave party that started at 12:30 AM, but I knew that I had to get some sleep if I was going to make the long drive home after tomorrow’s festivities. I heard about it later from my friend Stuart Jenner, who got to be involved with the sound for that set. He said that the tent was overflowing with kids and that it got so wild that students were climbing up the tent poles, dancing on the stage with the band, and just generally having the party of a lifetime! The icing on the cake for me, was when Phatty, the fill-in lead singer for the weekend, ended their first set by giving all of the honor to God and telling the kids that this party was “just practice” for the REAL, never-ending party going on in heaven.
The next morning, the girls got up a little early so that they could go for a swim at the Quality Inn’s pool. We grabbed the continental breakfast and headed over to my Uncle Bill and Joyce’s house in Brandon Valley. We stayed and chatted there for a couple of hours. Love those guys and wish we could see them more often. Chloe, their youngest daughter is going to be a sophomore this year and Sarah, their oldest is heading off to Madison for her first year of college.
We grabbed a quick lunch at McDonald’s and headed over to the festival just in time to catch one of my good friends, Angel Dean, take the main stage. Many of my friends at Destiny have seen his acoustic, unplugged sets, but have never seen him “rock out” with his band. He didn’t disappoint.
Right after his set, Derek Webb, made famous from his days with Caedmon’s Call (whom he recently reunited with) is one of my musical heroes. His set featured him with just his guitar and his witty, and sometimes bitingly prophetic lyrics. Autumn and I ate it up, but I don’t think Cynthia quite “got it”. He did go a little “too far” trying to make a point when he cussed and then told the largely family-aged audience that we were more offended at that then the thousands of people dying of aids in Africa every day. Point taken, but maybe my kids didn’t have to hear it. (smile) He was mysteriously missing-in-action when I went to go check him out (by myself) later in the day at the Coffee House Stage. I’m wondering if the LifeLight staff had asked him to leave.
The evening ended with three hours of worship with one of my favorite new-school worship bands, Leeland, and the old-school staple, Chris Tomlin. Both were absolutely breathtaking sets! Both sets were so “not about them” but about worship. When Chris Tomlin took the stage, especially -- as is common when he takes the stage -- there were times when you could barely hear him above the singing from the crowd. Early estimates were saying that they were probably about 125,000 people in that field that night. We danced together, shouted, cried, and sang some more until it almost hurt (smile)! I doubt my daughters will ever look at praise and worship in the same way again. I love it!