Over the years, my wife’s eclectic musical tastes have introduced me to dozens of artists whose concerts I normally would not have attended: Aerosmith, the Indigo Girls and Matisyahu, a singer who raps about Judaism over a reggae beat.
I’m grateful that she helps me break out of my self-imposed ’80s musical shell. But nothing prepared me for last Friday night when she took me to see Christian rocker Chris Tomlin. I’ve never listened to Christian rock before. And I’m sure the Jesus and Mary Chain doesn’t count. It was a completely different concert experience than I’m used to. A few things I learned:
-Apparently, in Christian rockdom, having an opening artist on the bill does not mean you walk in 35 minutes late, hoping that you timed it perfectly for the main artist’s set to begin. We did just that and realized that both Tomlin and his opening act were performing together and taking turns singing. Oops.
-Everyone in the audience stood, raised their hands and sang. The big Jumbotron screens didn’t show shots of the band on stage, so the poor suckers in the back and balcony could see. Instead, they posted the lyrics so we could all sing along.
-About 45 minutes after the concert began, the musicians walked off stage and were replaced by a preacher who gave a 40-minute half-sermon/half-science lecture. (I didn’t mind the sermon, but I did mind that he kept repeating himself. He had 10 minutes of material, but spent 40 minutes saying it.)
When he was done, he said it was intermission and told us to go to the concession stands and buy popcorn. Popcorn? I couldn’t resist and walked up to a concessionaire and asked if they were serving beer. Not tonight, he said.
Tomlin is a talented singer and songwriter. I enjoyed the music. He connected with the audience and vice versa. But overall, it just wasn’t my scene. Our next show is an indy rocker from Albuquerque. At a small cafe in Phoenix. I’m looking forward to it.