Monday, October 15, 2007

A Brief Review of the Casting Crowns Concert in Tupelo

Let me give you a little context first. When I ordered the tickets for me and the rest of the students in the youth group, I was calling this "the Leeland concert." You see, me and the kids of Westminster Youth Ministries love Leeland. We have already seen them twice live and decided we would go to Tupelo to see them open up for Casting Crowns. Casting Crowns was the headliner but we were going to see Leeland.

I had only really heard a couple of songs by Casting Crowns before I bought the tickets so I decided to download some songs...legally of course. And then I was given their new album, "The Altar and the Door." The more I listened the more I liked what I heard. Actually, while not really liking all I was hearing I was suprised by what I heard. So many Christian musicians have gone the route of being so vague in their lyrics you really have no idea what they are singing about....God? Girlfriend? Lost Dog? Not Casting Crowns, the lyrics may not be "cool" but you have no question where they stand. The lyrics from the first song off the new album are indicative of what I have heard from their other albums...

What this world needs is not another one hit wonder with an axe to grind
Another two bit politician peddling lies
Another three ring circus society
What this world needs is not another sign waving super saint that's better than you
Another ear pleasing candy man afraid of the truth
Another prophet in an Armani suit

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them in their time of need
A Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love
That's what this world needs

What this world needs is for us to care more about the inside than the outside
Have we become so blind that we can't see
God's gotta change her heart before He changes her shirt
What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can't see the difference
And it's the difference that sets the world free

Intense, specific, culturally aware and Trintarian; this is my kind of music. And by the way, they are so uncool I could not help but begin to love them.

Anyway, back to the concert. Leeland was good...not as good as before, we all thought. But Casting Crowns, well, I was blown away. Following are the reasons why:

1. Humilty. When we walked in some guy was talking about the bands coming up (John Waller and Leeland) and some other things. Who was it? Mark Hall, the lead singer of Casting Crowns. He is decidedly not interested in being a rock star or making a cool entrance. There was a concerted (pun intended) effort at pointing people to Jesus and away from the band. It has got to be hard to look at a sell-out crowd while in the spotlight literally, and point people away from your self.

2. Lyrics. All the lyrics for all the songs were put on a screen for all to read and sing along with. Seeing the lyrics not only helped with the enjoyment of singing along but I was blown away with some of the lines I had never heard or noticed before. I hope this will be a trend in all of CCM concerts.

3. Visual. The whole thing was visually stunning. Great Lights and a huge screen, tailor-made for those of us sitting in the back. There was also an artist working during a particular song...I don't want to say too much for those who have not seen the show yet but are planning to see it in Jackson or elsewhere.

4. Sound. The sound was phenomenal. Oftentimes there is a gap between the professionally produced sound on the albums and the live sound. Not on Saturday night. The instrumentation and the vocals were clear and crisp.

5. Prayer. One of the coolest parts of the night was the multiple times of prayer. Sometimes brief, sometimes a little more focused. Towards the end of the night all the members of the band brought out some chairs to the edge of the stage and asked us to bow our heads and then each one of them prayed for the people in the audience. One prayed for fathers, one for mothers (and those longing to be), one for the guys and another for the girls, etc. Now there was a time when I would have been annoyed by this, "hey, let's just rock!!!" but I realize now how much sense this makes. Think about it, there we were gathered - thousands around a common profession of belief in the gospel and a love for this music. And the ones who make the music end the night by praying for us. It was an awesome moment and I am thankful for their prayers.

All in all I enjoyed them more than my students did I think. They wanted more Leeland and suprisingly I wanted more Casting Crowns.

1 comment:

IrishTrish said...

Thank you for posting this excellent, thorough review. I am going to see CC and Leeland in March and really appreciated reading your thoughts, as I have never seen either live.