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Friday, November 26, 2004

And in the end...

Well, the tour is over, and I only blogged twice! So, this will be a bit longer of a post. I won't bore with all the details...but I will bore you with some of them.

The Judson College concert was interesting. Here are the top 5 signs your concert might not go so well:

5) The venue location gets changed three times in the course of two days.
4) You are told to keep it short because a ska band will be playing soon after your concert.
3) You don't see any posters on campus promoting the concert.
2) When you ask why you're not getting signal out of the monitors, you are informed that you are not allowed to use them because they belong to the ska band.
1) The emcee introduces you as "Matthew West and The Indelible Grace."

You can read a brief article about the concert here. Despite the strange circumstances, it was not so bad and will always be a fun memory.

The following morning we drove up to Trinity International University and played in their chapel. Though our time was brief, there was a real warmth on campus towards us, and it was a refreshing time. Eleven Compassion kids got sponsored (the tour record), a testimony to the generosity and mission-mindedness of TIU students. I also got to see my friend and fellow musician Josh Bales and catch up a bit. You can check out his song "I Need You" (as recorded by The Swift) on iTunes.

Cason plays piano. As soon as we would arrive at a venue, he would run up to the closest piano and start playing Wilco's "Hummingbird." Play, Cason, play. Photo credit: Tripp Ethridge Posted by Hello

After chapel was over, we drove down to Urbana and played a concert at Twin City Bible Church. It was a special night, as my wife was able to drive out and come to the concert with some of her family who live in the area. The next morning I led an informal seminar about worship, and was very encouraged by the discussion it generated.

The guys picked me up at the church after the seminar and we headed south towards St. Louis. Cason woke up from a nap just in time to see the arch that greeted our entrance into the city. I was pretty exhausted by the time the concert rolled around that evening, but overall things went well. The next day we participated in Twin Oaks PCA's morning and evening services. During of the morning services, I was stuck without a bulletin when it came time for the confession of sin. A much older gentleman sitting a few feet away on the pew with us saw my dilemma and scooted over, allowing me to read along on his bulletin. It was a moment that has stuck with me ever since; a small snapshot of God's intention for his church. We're a community of those who are often very different from each other, yet called together to confess ourselves as sinners in need of one Savior. On the surface, I probably have very little in common with this man; we probably couldn't discuss our favorite music, the latest films, or other things that I talk about with my friends, but we are inseparably joined together in our identities as sinners who've become adopted sons of the living God.

We drove back to Nashville the next day for a couple of days off. As planned, Chris Weigel went to be with his new bride, and Costa Balamatsias (formerly of The Benjamin Gate) picked up bass duties. Having back-to-back concerts in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, NC afforded me the opportunity to stay three nights at my parents' house in Clemmons. Both concerts went well, with the W-S show being a particularly special time because of it being a hometown show for me.

At a restaurant in Virginia Beach; no one told me not to smile. Photo credit: nice waitress Posted by Hello

Further proof that if you let guys grow long hair and walk on the beach, they'll look like a band. Photo credit: Tripp Ethridge Posted by Hello

The Virginia concerts (Suffolk, Harrisonburg, Richmond, McLean) were very well-attended and encouraging. We had a day off in DC on Saturday, and were able to see a few of the sights. The White House has been closed for tours since 9/11, but they open the lawn for two weekends a year for a garden tour, and this happened to be one of those weekends. We saw the Rose Garden (which looks smaller than it does on TV), caught a glimpse of the Oval Office, and took a few pictures. We also visited the Lincoln Memorial (which, disturbingly, calls itself a "temple" in the inscription on its wall), the new WW2 Memorial, the Holocaust Museum (always powerful), and the National Archives (which featured something called a "Constitution"-- has anyone read this thing lately?).

Street preachers outside the Holocaust Museum. Photo credit: me Posted by Hello

It turns out that people in our nation's capital just really love to march. Cason and Costa contemplate joining the movement. Photo credit: Tripp Ethridge Posted by Hello

Creepy Lincoln temple. Photo credit: me Posted by Hello

Outside the White House. Again, no one told me not to smile. Photo credit: some dude Posted by Hello

Cason makes a radical political statement in front of The Rose Garden. Not shown: Secret Service agents shipping him off to Guantanamo Bay only seconds later. Photo credit: me Posted by Hello

Cason and Matthew make a historic agreement on the White House lawn. Photo credit: probably Costa Posted by Hello

The Marriottsville, MD show's audience was very enthusiastic and responsive, and it was the first night that I had my new CD for sale. Afterwards we had pizza with the college group, who looked like high schoolers to us, which means that we are officially old. The next day, we drove up to New Life Presbyterian in Glenside, PA, where I played a few years ago on the original Indelible Grace tour. You might think that a Monday night concert wouldn't be well-attended, but the room filled up quickly, and soon everyone was singing along. There is a connection between this church and Sonship, which has meant a lot to me and my family, so it was a special evening (though, ironically, I was missing the Sonship conference in Tennessee that night!).

At New Life Presbyterian in Glenside. Photo credit: me Posted by Hello

Cason and I led worship the next morning at Westminster Theological Seminary's chapel. After a long string of concerts, it was good to move into a different mode and actually lead worship. It felt like an oasis of sorts-- for us from the normal routine, and for the students from their intensive studies. We picked Tripp and Costa up from the hotel and headed west to Lancaster, PA. While the guys set up and soundchecked, I had an interview with Shane Rosenthal of The White Horse Inn, a weekly theological radio show that has used my music in the past, and that I listen to quite often. It was a fun and different thing to do, and I can't wait to hear it. It will be broadcast this weekend (check your local listings), so you can catch in on the radio or on the internet. If I sound monotone, it's because 1) I was very tired and 2) I didn't want to get too excited and make a fool out of myself.

Culinary note: this incarnation of the band loved ethnic food, like the sushi pictured here. Not pictured: all the Thai and Indian that we ate on this tour. Photo credit: Tripp Ethridge Posted by Hello

The concert that night was enjoyable, as was the one in West Virginia the following night. We drove back and Cason closed on the new house he was buying that very day. I started a blog post a few days later, and now I've finished it a full month after the tour has ended. Way to go me.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the concerts, it was truly a joy to share these hymns with you. I'm booking now for the spring, so hopefully I'll get to meet more of you soon. Sometimes I can't believe I get to sing hymns for a living-- I get to hear the truth every night on tour, a truth that I am so prone to forget.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Matthew West and The Indelible Grace" - classic! I laughed out loud at work on that one.

-Scott M

9:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post... thanks for sharing. Your new CD is great!

9:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When you ask why you're not getting signal out of the monitors, you are informed that you are not allowed to use them because they belong to the ska band."

Sorry, but that one made me laugh. How the heck did you play with no monitors?

11:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never heard of you or Indelible Grace(sorry)before you showed up at my church's morning worship service. I decided to come back in the evening to hear the concert and I am glad that I did. I now have your CD and 2 Indelible Grace CD's and they have been playing constantly in my car and at work for the past month and a half. Your songs are my favorites. I am not a musician and I can't sing, but music can express things in a way that other mediums can't match. I am glad I got a chance to find out about Indelible Grace. The hymns are worshipful, hopeful and most of all they have been helpful as I try to worship and contemplate our great and awesome God. I am sure that I am not alone in being blessed by this music. Thank you for your ministry. Thank God for your talents. May He bless you in your future endeavors. I look forward to your next CD.

6:15 PM

Blogger Danielle said...

Hey Matthew,
I went and saw you guys at Westminister Pres. in Suffolk, Virginia where some friends of mine attend. I really loved being able to hear ya'll. I bought your new CD that night and can't stop playing it. Myself and a few friends of mine are going to play "Be Thou My Vision" at our graduation this spring. I thought of doing it after hearing your version. I really like it. The entire CD is really uplifting and is always a quick way to brighten the day. Thank you for singing the truth.

Have a blessed day. I can't wait to see what else God has in store for all of you.

7:55 AM

Blogger rachel said...

hi, I saw you when you came to Third Presbyterian in Richmond, VA awhile ago. my friends have been telling me about Indelible Grace for ages, but I had never gotten around to listening to any of it, but now I love it! y'all keep going! keep singing the truth! yes, it would be lovely to have a job where you get to sing hymns all the time...if my voice were good enough I would too. As it is, I don't call it a job, I just do it. :)

10:01 PM


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