Audio Adrenaline, By The Tree, The Mint|
3/6/04, Lewisberry, PA. at Ski ROUNDTOP.
I don't learn from my mistakes. I say this because, well... I should know better. Three years ago, my then-girlfriend
and I travelled to Ski Roundtop in Lewisberry, PA for Ski Fest 2001. A relatively new hip hop artist named John Reuben
was set to open for the seasoned and beloved rock band Audio Adrenaline. It was March. It was in the mountains.
And, especially as the sun continued to descend, it was cold. Clad insufficiently in an oversized homemade JfH hoodie,
I found myself clutching my camera bag tightly in a vain attempt to stay warm. Well, three years and a wedding ceremony
later, we returned to that familiar Ski Roundtop, and I hadn't learned a stinkin' thing. In fact, I was more
insufficiently clad in a "LIFT" tee and an Anberlin track jacket while standing in a the way of an intense wind
bringing a wind chill that'd give Frosty hypothermia. Regardless, I sucked it up and braved the frigid air. I mean, c'mon.
It was the twentieth time I was seeing Audio A in 20 years. Everyone's gotta make their sacrifices.
See, what wasn't worth braving the frigid air was in fact the opening acts. Yes, there was no energetic
and fun show from Reuben to keep us warm. However, the opening act, little-known The Mint, did offer a worthy show
after all. However, they're not an act for everyone. The rather young members were quite troopers braving the frigid
winds and even took the opportunity during a new track entitled "King Of Glass" to rock out in a fine and tasty instrumental
moment. Their brand of emo-flavored rock worked, but a mostly unfamiliar audience just stood and stared while waiting for the
evening's main course.
Oh but of course frostbite waits for no act. By The Tree prolonged the wait with their brand of run-of-the-mill
pop rock. While the trio did their best to keep the crowd interested, it wasn't until a worship set of familiar
songs like "God Of Wonders" was played that the crowd really pepped up. The guys announced their plans to refocus
themselves by recording a new worship record this month for a Summer release. The bland show ultimately left
me colder and more anxious for the AA set...
And finally after what felt like an extended wait, Audio Adrenaline kicked in their Summer 2003
set intro to "Worldwide One" as they took the stage in typical rousing form. Lead singer Mark Stuart sported a freshly
shaven hair style (as opposed to the long locks he showcased for most of 2003) while the former owner of a popular
mohawk, Will McGinniss also showed off a drastically shorter set of follicles. I must admit these rock n' roll veterans
were in rare form. The guys goofed off a little more than usual, seemingly more excited to be playing a longer set
than the abbreviated ones they'd been playing on the Winter Jam tour. The band went through their most
common set right now featuring "Mighty Good Leader", "Church Punks", the classic "Big House", "Dirty",
and the more serious "Hands and Feet" and "Ocean Floor". The guys were beginning to show a bit of rust coming
off of Winter Jam when "We're A Band" rolled around. With Stuart poised to rock out to the 11-year-old
hit, a few unfamiliar words uttered by him made it clear he'd forgotten the words. Despite his attempt to fake
it, an embarrassed Stuart admitted sheepishly, "I forgot the whole second verse!" As if it weren't the first time,
Stuart stated they'd move right to the chorus which the rest of the band picked up perfectly without faltering.
Despite it being a disappointment to hear a shorter version of one of my favorite songs, it was still quite amusing
and entertaining (sorry Mark!).
Following the fan favorite "Underdog", Stuart announced that a fan's birthday was coming up and invited them
on stage for a special duet with them for "DC-10". The laid back atmosphere of the set continued beyond Will's heartfelt message
and the radio single "Leaving 99" through to "Beautiful" when fans were invited on stage to jump around and party
along with the band. When Stuart noticed a young fan sporting a "Newsboys" beanie, they jokingly made a big deal
about it, prompting Tyler Burkum to strum a few chords of the band's signature song "Shine" before being
rebuked by Stuart.
Following the fun "Get Down", Stuart admitted it was too cold to leave the stage and come back for an encore
(which was reminiscent of their 2001 performance), and proceeded to play a medley of "Start A Fire" and Grand Funk Railroad's
"American Band". Audio Adrenaline proved they still have got it after 13 years and admitted they hope to keep going
just as long. They were a pleasure to watch ten years ago and are still one of the best live shows in Christian music
today. If you like solid, upbeat pop-fueled rock n roll, you're missing out if you have yet to familarize yourself
with the antics of Audio Adrenaline.
-written by John