Cari Jean resides in North Dakota, where she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Faith's Mom's Blog.
One of my favorite forms of entertainment is attending concerts. My first-ever concert was New Kids on the Block in St. Paul, MN. For a fourteen year-old, it was the most amazing experience of my life. After seeing Jordan, Jonathan, Danny, Joey and Donnie live in person, I was totally hooked on the concert scene. My taste in music became a little heavier the older I became and when I was a junior in high school I went to Warrant/Trixter/Firehouse. At that concert, I bought my first-ever concert t-shirt - Trixter. (Does anyone even remember Trixter?)
I loved everything about the concert experience including the energy, the light shows and the singing along to every word. All through high school, North Dakota State University had been the only college I planned on attending. As luck would have it, the Fargodome had just been built, which was great news for me. Concerts galore!
A Little Bit of Country
As my friends became a little more diverse, so did my taste in music and I ended up listening to a lot of country music as well. One of my favorite live performers was a lesser known country artist named Chris LeDoux. Originally from Wyoming, he was a former rodeo champion and a lot of his music centered around the rodeo world. During one of his songs, 8 Second Ride, he rode a mechanical bull on stage. There was more energy during his concerts than some of the rock concerts I attended. Sadly, in 2005 he passed away much too soon before his time. I will never forget his high-energy and great performances.
Some of my concert-going statistics include:
- The longest I stood in line for tickets - George Strait
- The concert I least remembered due to consuming one too many alcoholic beverages - Guns and Roses
- The most I paid for a ticket - The Eagles
- The only free tickets I ever won - Ozzy Osbourne
- The closest I ever got to stage - Sammy Hagar
- The band I saw the most times - Def Leppard
- The longest road trip for a concert - Shania Twain
- The most over-hyped concert - Garth Brooks
- Venue I saw twice in 48 hours in two different cities - KISS
- Wildest and craziest time at a concert event - WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, MN with Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Travis Tritt, Martina McBride, Sawyer Brown and a bunch of other country stars.
- The concert I am kicking myself the most for not attending - Bon Jovi
The End of an Era
After college, I realized finding a job should be my first priority and slowly the concert scene began to fade from my life. Living on my own and in small towns did not afford me the opportunities to see some of my favorite performers in action. As the concerts became fewer and farther between, I began to feel something strange happening to me. No, I wasn’t having concert-withdrawal symptoms; it was God trying to get my attention. He did it by having me go through a life or death experience that forced me to ask myself if I died, where I would spend eternity.
Change of Season
I’m not going to get into what that experience was but it was something that changed my life. God began tugging at my heart and I knew I could no longer run from Him. Before I knew it, I was raising my hand in church to have Jesus as my Lord and Savior and began attending church on a regular basis. Along with the change in my heart, I began listening to Christian music rather than rock and country. Unfortunately, it was rare for Christian bands and artists to come to North Dakota, so I thought my concert-going days had come to an end.
A friend of mine informed me the group Casting Crowns was coming to the North Dakota State Fair. It was my first Christian concert and I was not disappointed. There was the same energy, lights, and singing along to the music, just as there had been at other concerts I had attended in the past. This time, however there was an added bonus - worship.
Not long after that, my favorite Christian Rock band - Third Day - came to Bismarck. They put on an incredible show. Their opening act was one of my new favorite bands - Need to Breathe. It was like attending a rock concert from my past, only the music was not degrading and sin-ridden, it was all about Jesus.
The Ultimate Worship Experience
Two months ago, I attended the ultimate worship experience when Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman came to Bismarck for their United Tour. It was phenomenal, completely and totally amazing. I still can’t stop thinking about it. They came out on stage together and the first song they sang, was not one of their own, it was Blessed be the Name. It was clear from the moment they began to sing they were not putting on a show; they were worshipping the Lord and giving God glory for all He had done in their lives.
After they performed together, Steven Curtis Chapman took the stage and talked about the tragedy that had taken place at his home a year ago. One of his sons ran over one of their adopted girls from China and she died. He said all of the music he had ever written had new meaning to his life, especially his song, Cinderella, which talks about spending time with your daughters before they are gone. Everyone in the sold-out crowd had to have been in tears. I found it amazing that despite the tragedy, he grew even stronger in his faith.
Michael W. Smith, a forerunner on the Christian music front, talked about how much the Lord loves all of His children. He seemed like such a down-to-earth person, not at all like the celebrity he is. He was even gracious enough to ask if it was ok to sing a song called The River is Rising. At that time, much of the state of North Dakota was in danger of flooding, especially along the Missouri and Red rivers.
After three hours, I came away from the experience of seeing both Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith feeling like I had an encounter with the Lord. Even though there were thousands in attendance, I felt each song was personally for me. No rock or country concert has made me feel like that.
Michael W. Smith Singing Mighty to Save - the Ultimate Worship Song
Steven Curtis Chapman on Good Morning America
- Steven Curtis Chapman
Steven Curtis Chapman talks to Good Morning America about his 5-year-old daughter's tragic death.
© 2009 Cari Jean