Local radio station 104.7 succeeded in topping last year’s Celebrate Freedom concert, held this past Saturday at
Switchfoot. Lead singer Jon Foreman started out strong, venturing around the stage, up onto the drum platform, and far down the Miss America-like runway. As his custom, he started off in a dark sweater, shirt, and tie. Throughout the hour-long performance he slowly discarded the garments, eventually stripping down to a sweaty white T-shirt. I made note of his black underwear, similar to Will’s. I could see his white shoes, but I couldn’t see what kind they were. During “Eyes Wide Open” he borrowed a fan’s sunglasses. Earlier he donned a fan’s UGA cap, backwards. Finally he found a third fan’s black hat to his liking, and he wore it the rest of the show. Introducing his encore songs, Foreman brought laughter from the huge crowd when he changed subjects: “Hey, I’d better give you back your hat before I forget. It’s a great hat. Sorry I got it sweaty!”
Then Foreman launched into megahit “Dare You to Move” and walked the length of the runway…before hopping down into the crowd. There was a mad rush, including my new friend, the young African-American teen seated on the rail next to me (before the Newsboys had come on, the youngster had politely asked if he could join me on the rail. Since
As he had done last year, Foreman made his way to the railing, about 25 feet away. When I had picked my seat some 13 hours earlier, I had forgotten this detail. The lithe surfer climbed the rail, stationing himself with one leg on each side of the top rail, with his feet on the middle rail. With everyone reaching out to touch and take pictures, he relied on the crowd to keep him from falling. Then he walked the rail toward me. He nodded at the fan next to me, singing along. I had my phone on camera mode, snapping pictures.
Still singing, when Foreman got to me he stopped. He looked at me and smiled, silently imploring me to hold him up while he sang. I did so with my right hand, first bracing his sweaty shirt, then grabbing his black jeans on the leg. Got an up close look at his white leather hightops: not sneakers, but “rock star” shoes, with black shoestrings. I tried to take a picture, but it was too dark. My complete attention was holding him up, and making sure the crowd didn’t crush
Eventually Foreman hopped off the rail and headed back to the stage. Sitting with friends somewhere else,
Newsboys The group’s new lead singer Michael Tait (formerly of dc Talk) put on an energetic performance, rocking black high-tops. Tait continuously brought his bandmates into the act: Jody Davis, the British-looking
Tait, Davis, and Frankenstein rode individual platforms high out and over the crowd. On
Mr Talkbox Byron Chambers, from
Sidewalk Prophets, from
Jason Castro. The dreadlocked American Idol alum was a favorite with the ladies, singing two songs from the Fox show: Hallelujah and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. But his vocals were among the weakest of the day, and his sound system had more feedback than anyone else. Good thing his smile and eyes had everyone charmed.
The Museum came out and turned the energy level up a notch. With roots at North Point, they obviously knew how to perform.
Josh Wilson was yet another solo act, who stood behind the mic stand and sang his songs. He had the look, with beard and plaid shirt. From
Dave Barnes, like Wison, stood there and sang. From
Echoing Angels returned from last year, and delivered a serviceable show. From
The Choir was the first band we saw. Together since 1982, The Choir recently returned to touring, to promote their new album, five years in the works. This low-key group originated the hit song “You Are Holy” and over the years has influenced acts such as Switchfoot and Jars of Clay. The long-haired lead singer looked somewhat like Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.
Shawn McDonald, from Eugene Oregon. Turned from drugs to Jesus in 1998. Shawn had just finished when we arrived.
Opening Act: A talented young lady won this year’s contest. She sang and played the keyboards. Given the chance to sing one song between the Newsboys and Switchfoot, she did fine, though she meekly kept her eyes focused straight ahead, and down at her keyboard.
After picking up Justin at the ballfield, we swung by RaceTrac and Taco Bell before securing at primo parking space. We spent less time on the commercial midway, and headed right for the music pavilion. Throughout the afternoon we took occasional journeys outside. M & J found a life-saving water-mister giveaway, snapped photos with Veggie-Tales Bob and Larry, and swigged water and Cokes.
Walking around, I crossed paths with the Saylor sisters. Brianna hobbled along on a walking cast. Later Elin spotted me, and gave me a gig hug. She rocked VIP seats (and sharp new Vans). Elin had seen her buddy Marshal’s dad Brad. Inside the pavilion I spotted David Norman just as he passed me, so I jumped out and wrapped him up in a bear hug. Just before the Newsboys took the stage I saw the Toso sisters, and both Joanna and Grace stopped to give me hugs. Then they were off, completely into the music.
Like last year, I spent the day running down my cell phone battery, tweeting and texting Facebook updates. The concert again displayed text messages on the jumbotrons, giving me something else to do…
The Museum is the best so far!
Brianna Saylor! What happened to your foot!?
Hello Brad Howell! Bring your family next time!
BREAKING NEWS Jason Castro’s bass player rocks!
Jesus is my American idol! (while Jason Castro played)
These Humana spray bottles are a real life saver!
That electric guitar player in the cool T shirt can really play!
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets! (to offset all the “Go Dawgs!” texts)
Happy birthday, George P Burdell
Joanna and Grace Toso, David Norman, Rob Kelly: Report to Mrs. D’s office immediately!
Elin Hill, your shoes rock! I love you, girl! Love, a Secret Admirer