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JFH Concert Review

Photos by Cor

Josh Harris, "Retro Friday," John Reuben, Supertones, Newsboys
6/29/01, Mt. Union, PA. at the Agape Farm.

Day 3. Once again, we awake to the sounds of a Main Stage sound check before the 9am worship. As we stumble around our campsite trying to adjust to little sleep and the early awakening, Joshua Harris gives his message entitled "The Savior Who Stops For One" from main stage. As usual, Josh delivered an on-your-level message from the heart that most could find easy to relate to. The music for the day kicked off with Nicole C. Mullen, who delivered a pretty rousing set for 10:05am. While the same could be said for Earthsuit, Nicole encouraged crowd participation, and watching her from our site made it easier to see the big picture of the audience's enthusiastic response to her show. The highlight of her performance was her rendition of the soulful theme to Veggie Tales' "Larry Boy."

Ben Glover followed at 10:55am, Laurie Polich shared a message at 11:25am, and lunch broke at noon (when Sammy Ward performed at Fringe). While much, if not all, of this was going on, several of us had been working the Forefront booth. At 1:00pm we experienced the odd sounds of the Retro Friday feature at Creation. From 1 to 3pm, the old, and almost painfully outdated sounds of the Sweet Comfort Band and 77s, as well as the more listenable Randy Stonehill and Daniel Amos took their turns performing. While I don't recall Amos' set, nor the 77s, I do remember hearing the retro sounds of the Sweet Comfort Band, which in 2001 wasn't as sweet and comfortable as it may have been in their time. And the sad fact is I'm sure more than half of Creation, who's attendance is primarily younger people, had never even heard of these artists and sadly enough probably weren't as interested (which, honestly, is just an assumption on my part). At 3:05pm, the daily speaker time began, where four messages were taking place at different sections of the festival simultaneously, and those interested in attending one could choose which ever sounded most intriguing to them.

With not much happening on Main Stage until 5:40pm, we spent time at the FF table working, as well as wandering around the festival. From 4 to 6 at the Fringe Stage, "Virtual Frequency" entertained the audience with the hip hop/rap sounds of Grits, Knowdaverbs, L.A. Symphony, and finally John Reuben. At 5:40, the power-pop "boy band" harmonies of Plus One caused many a young teenager to scream for joy at Main Stage. We didn't have much interest in P1, so we rushed to Fringe to try to catch the tail end of Reuben's show. Luckily, we did, and arrived just as they were finishing up "Hello Ego." Reuben has come to have quite the knack for getting a crowd going. And as he predicted at Ski Fest 2001, I had been converted to a John Reuben fan after his last show, which made this one all the more enjoyable. Reuben once again lead the crowd in the enthusiastic arm-pumping he is making a trademark, ordering "Every hand must be in the air. You do not have an option! You do not have a choice! You must do this!" After performing the fan favorite "Do Not," Reuben gave the crowd the choice for his final song, either "Jezebel" or "Identify." Although a tough choice, "Identify" was chosen.

Following John Reuben, we headed to backstage of main stage to briefly freshen up in hospitality. The days had been consecutively hot and sticky and you'd never think that just washing your hands could be such a blessing. While Amy used the ladies room, I stood outside the mens' as it was already preoccupied. What I didn't expect, was for the Supertones' front man Matt "Mojo" Morginsky to come in and wait for the mens' room as well. Considering his position and how we weren't exactly "hospitality" material either, I gladly stood off to the side and let Matt go first. He kind of paced the door a little, hummed random notes which grew louder with anxiety, and looked around nervously. Sure I knew the Supertones were going on stage soon, but I didn't realize how soon. Finally, after several minutes, Mojo knocked on the mens' room door, "Is everything OK in there? We don't need to call a doctor do we?" His impatience seemed more innocent than rude, but the justification for such behavior was soon to be revealed. As Amy opened the womens' bathroom door and slowly emerged, Matt darted into the ladies' room and shut the door. She looked at me with a confused expression and apologized, but I reassured her, considering the gender roles here, it was OK. The quaintly decorated (and blessedly air conditioned) hospitality room features, among many other things in such a small space, a TV which features the events of main stage, which can also be heard right outside the door at the same time. As the sound of guitars being tuned and a roaring audience filled the stage area, I glanced at the TV to realize the stage lights were dimmed and smoke had filled the stage. With that, the ladies' room door flung open and a startled Matt Morginsky shot through the room, threw open the hospitality room door (which led to the stage) and darted to the stage. Within a minute, the band was on stage performing "Escape From Reason," leaving Amy and I laughing at the humorous incident which little knew about.

After experiencing one of the highlights of the day, we proceeded to Main to watch the Supertones put on one of the most energetic and hard-rocking shows I've seen them put on to date. "Grounded" followed "Escape..." as the Tones continued to musically assure the crowd that their ska-influenced sound is not dead, and it appeared that the audience was agreeing. After "Resolution," "Unite," and the audience participation inducing "Away From You," trumpet player Darren Mettler paused to share a message with the crowd. He proceeded to lead the crowd in a few choruses of Rich Mullins' "Awesome God," before the band returned to rocking the stage with "Little Man," and slamming out their set with "Return of the Revolution."

Around 7:10pm Lincoln Brewster lead worship, as we returned to the Forefront table until the evening concert. While there we heard Ken Davis share a good word with his message "You Can Make a Difference," and at 8:45pm, Kirk Franklin & One Nation Crew had the crowd moving with their engaging black gospel sound.

Following Franklin and Crew, the lovable Aussies the Newsboys snagged the stage around 10:10. Opening with one of their most famous songs (if not the most), "Shine," the Newsboys proceeded to offer a fun-filled set of laser lights, fun tunes, and infectious appeal. With most of them sporting motorcycle-related gear, it made one wonder what these crazy guys had up their sleeves this year. They proceeded with the fun songs with "Woohoo," and "Take Me to Your Leader." Unfortunately, guitarist Jody Davis continued to experience guitar problems, as his guitar went out during the song. But it was during "Take Me..." that they began using green laser beams shot from back of the stage, reaching clear across the festival grounds (which explains the green lights shooting across the grounds in the middle of the night Thursday evening). The Newsboys are great musicians with more of an emphasis on showmanship than anything. When you see the Newsboys live, you don't just get a concert, you get a show-- a performance unlike most bands. Those who tend to scoff at them for having flashing lights, big sets, and unique "gimmicks," have to respect the band for what they're doing and understand that we're not watching your average garage band, but an experienced bunch of guys who just want to have fun and get their audience involved and keep them entertained (how's that for a run-on?).

"Reality" followed, featuring an added bridge by keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein, with the spotlights on him as he repeatedly sang "Won't you take me to funkytown," with electronically distorted vocals as he performed a keyboard solo. "Entertaining Angels," and "Joy" came next while it was "God Is Not a Secret," the rendition that's featured on Shine: The Greatest Hits, that stood out, end incidentally, explained the motorcycle outfits. Mid-song, the band paused and directed the audience's attention to 2 large ramps where a professional (sorry, I failed to catch a name) motorcycle performed several jumps to excite the crowd. The feat didn't come as much of a surprise to me considering the Newsboys' style of live shows, not to mention how I know about their love for riding motorcycles in their spare time. And of course, the dueling drum solos were almost inevitable. And once again, drummer Duncan Phillips and lead singer (and former drummer) Peter Furler strapped themselves in as the set raised up and began to spin sideways as they slammed the drums. But the band continued to get the crowd moving and involved with "Breakfast," but surprisingly enough ended their set there, leaving most of us wondering where the rest of the set was. Of course it was a given there'd be an encore, but they only played eight songs??

The band left the main stage, with some completely leaving the stage altogether to get refreshments while the crowd screamed and cheered for more. A few minutes passed before Duncan walked out on stage carrying an oversized boom box, pressed play, and began dancing to the famous disco song "Stayin' Alive." And after a few more minutes as the crowd began to pick up on what was about to follow, the band joined their percussion-playing brother to perform their unusual hit "Love Liberty Disco." And this time, bare-footed, fun-loving New Zealand-raised Phil Joel (formerly Phil Urry, but no one could pronounce his name right), sported a New Zealand flag as a cape. And after the band's moment of disco (I guess that fits into "Retro Friday," huh?), they closed their set with the infamous "Not Ashamed." Peter Furler than led the audience in a few "Hallelujah" choruses (not the Newsboys song from Step Up to the Microphone), prayed before the crowd, and then finished with a few more choruses.

At the close of the Newsboys' set, the Creation folks began handing out candles to the audience and urged them not to light them till instructed. As several of us had been backstage, we were encouraged to step forward out onto the stage, finding ourselves once again gazing out into the crowd of 70-100,000 people. At first I was ready to bore a hole in the floor of the stage and stick my head into it, but found it surprisingly bearable as I rested on the fact that all eyes weren't on me (or I'm sure I would have cracked like glass). The lights were dimmed as one lit candle spread to another lit candle and all you could see was the slow process of one candlelight appearing after another, creating a brilliant sea of lights in the crowd, stretching to the merchandise pavilions up the hill. The sight of all the lights held high in the name of Jesus sent chills up and down my spine. Clearly one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen, it's truly a sight to behold.

At the end of the Candelighting Service, the crowd disbanded and we all returned to our campsites for the night. Luckily, at night the hot sticky days are transformed into cooler evenings making sleeping comfortably a whole lot easier. And after my nightly ice-cold shower in the showering facilities, it was time to call it a night and prepare for the final day of the Creation 2001 festival...


Creation 2001: Friday Photo Gallery
click on an image for a bigger size

John Reuben -- 5:00pm Fringe Stage

Supertones -- 6:30pm Main Stage

Newsboys -- 10:10pm Main Stage

*all photos by John, and are the property of

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