Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Blistered Fingers And Happy Hearts

As a bass player and backing singer, I haven't played a 3+ hour show in many years. When I was in my 20's, it was no big deal to play 4 one-hour sets as part of a rock and blues band; that was a standard "pay your dues" gig, especially in Austin (and not for much money, either!). But that was over 10 years ago and I'm a different person now.

Friday night, First Light (the Christian band my wife and I are in) performed at a North Austin church for a wonderful group of people. Some were from Austin, some were from Mexico, some were from Nicaragua, some were from San Salvador and at least one was from Nigeria. Virtually all of them were enthusiastic and receptive to our music, our message and well, us in general.

The evening started with a special puppet show for the kids. The youth of the church we were visiting put on the puppet show, put to fast, humorous contemporary Christian music. They also turned off the main lights and used fluorescent lights to highlight the individual puppet characters, as if the puppets were a band (at the same time, there were other puppets that acted out other scenes that were related to the lyrics of each song). Needless to say, the kids loved it and most of the adults -- myself included -- were impressed.

That said, First Light (FL) didn't start performing until around 9:30 p.m. We did quite a few songs in just the first 75-minute set, which ran a bit long because we had some words of testimony (in English and in Spanish) in-between some of the songs. One poem was read in Spanish. Our style varies quite a bit, from jazzy Christian to Gospel to Tejano-esque and some is just "First Light." Vocals are
extremely important in FL. On any given song, we have 5 to 10 singers. It's important because that determines how the message of the lyrics is delivered, it's what sticks with people. You can have great music but if people don't know what you're saying, it kind of defeats the point of having singers. FL is essentially a Christian band with a mini-choir, strong lyrics with dynamic delivery and an original international flair.

After a midway 10-minute break around 11:00 p.m., we revved up for the second set. About halfway into that set, my bass-playing fingers really started hurting from the blisters that were starting to develop. There are several of our songs that are very bass-intensive and wonderfully complicated but very hard on the fingers. It goes with the territory. It was kind of humorous between songs because I would finish one song and have to "shake off the pain" from my fingers before starting up a new song.

An amazing thing happened near the very end of the concert. We had been playing light music behind the pastor, who was speaking to the audience and closed out with a prayer. Then he asked us to play our medley of "Victory Is Mine/At The Cross" again, so we did. And we all got a fresh burst of energy and played the song better than we had earlier in the evening (and that version wasn't bad). It was as if
we were just starting the show again. So, we finished the show as strongly as we began and "the crowd went wild!" Seriously, the audience was very nice to us and let us know they appreciated our being there and praising the Lord with us.

They had a dinner for us, even though it was after midnight. They food was good, too! We all got plates and munched down; that many hours of playing really builds up an appetite. We packed up and headed home and collapsed for the evening. It was a rare evening when our kids stayed up as late as us, but they're some of our biggest fans and enthusiastic supporters.

The evening was recorded, too. We'll get the 2-CD set in a couple of weeks. If you'd like a sampling of what First Light is like live, feel free to check out our music at the First Light website:
http://www.myspace.com/nccfirstlight

Best Wishes,
Allen

P.S. - First Light also played at our own church on Sunday. And my fingers have recovered.

1 comment:

Eddie said...

lol