Day Three: Due to some of the people in my party having work to do for a select company we were helping out during the week, I joined a few on an earlier trip from the hotel back to the festival. We got there in time to catch the Paul Colman Trio performing from main stage. And by the looks of the massive crowd watching, it looks like Mac Powell's endorsement worked well. We were put to work pretty quickly but made it a priority to catch Skillet's Main Stage performance at 1:00pm. The foursome fronted by the John and Corey Cooper opened their set with the prayerful yet infectiously aggressive "Kill Me Heal Me." Corey, on keyboards and background vocals was starting to show in her young pregnancy which is due later this year and will be a first for the Coopers. Skillet didn't slow for a second as they proceeded on with "Stronger" and "Invincible." They did slow the set down a bit for a couple Skillet-penned worship songs "One Real Thing" and "You Are My Hope" before coming back hard with "You're Powerful" and "Best Kept Secret." John Cooper then lead the crowd in a traditional worship song, "How Deep," bringing everyone's focus heavenward in a reflective moment. They came back once again with the force with the title track from their latest album Alien Youth and ended with old school Skillet for their song "I Can" from their debut album (before their electronic industrial sound). It was a strong set and a nice way to start our day off.
At 2:00pm, Amy and I had to work up in the large merchandise pavilion for a couple of hours and missed Relient K's Main Stage performance, but at least got to hear them perform "I'm Lion-O," "Sadie's Hawkins Dance," "Pressing On," among others, from where we worked. At 4:00pm we were able to pry ourselves from the booth to catch the Rock N Roll Worship Circus for the first time live. This quartet from Longview, Washington proceeded to put on one of the tightest and most intriguing performances I've seen from an artist in a long time. Their worship style was different which is something that's missing in worship these days -- diversity in styles and sounds. But Rock N Roll does it and does it very well. They opened up with the soft "Open the Gates," which prayerfully sings "Open the gates/ So Your people receive Your healing/ Lord, open the gates/ cuz when Your people sing/ All of Heaven sings." The upbeat Monkees-flavored "The Blood of Jesus" followed as well as the addictive and heartfelt "Loving You." RRWC then broke into "The Undiscovered," featuring a guitar riff and vibe that sent chills down my spine whenever I heard it. The band created such a self-less worshipful setting that it was hard not join in. Even Rock N Roll's drummer Zurn threw his hand up to heaven and continued to play with the other. The group then ended their set with the slower "Glorify the Son" and "We Sing Glory." Directly following their performance, Amy and I met with some of the people their label Vertical Music for a scheduled interview with RRWC. We then met in the press trailer for a intimate question and answer session with the four of them.
Following the interview, we caught a snippet of Chris Rice's infamous "What If Cartoons Got Saved?" as we walked to the Fringe Stage. At 6pm, Beanbag opened their short emo-core set with "Chubb." Lead singer Hunz Van Vliet, sporting a longer haircut than usual, was right on with providing passionat vocals, but the band's overall sound sounded a little off. The continued on to play the hit "Whiplash," followed by new song "Slipstream" and the passionate "Limit of Shunt," a song Hunz explained as dealing with hating someone who's wronged you. They then played their thumping cover of Bjork's "Army of Me," followed by "Angst By Numbers." Before they ended, Hunz offered up a prayer intro to "There Is More." A fun show to watch, but a few adjustments seemed necessary for the band's live sound.
At 7:10pm, Paul Baloche lead worship on Main Stage followed by Ken Davis's message "Now is the Time... You Are the One." At 8:45pm, UK pop/rock worshippers Delirious? opened on Main with "Bliss," followed by the fan favorite "Deeper." Their live sound was amazing, but something about their attitudes in the performance just felt a little routine. Regardless, the band played a tight set including "My Glorious," "Investigate," and other Delirious? favorites. In between their set and Michael W. Smith, we went to get sustenance from the extensive vender food court to the left of the stage behind the general store and music store. Due to circumstances beyond our control, a few of us missed the entire Smitty concert and, regretfully, the entire candle lighting service (although we did see some of it from up top of the hill near the merchandise pavilions. However, from what I heard from the food court, Smitty put on a solid worship service based on his Worship album he released, ironically, on September 11th last year. He performed such songs as "Above All," "Breathe, and "Let It Rain," among others from his live worship project. Following his set, Smith debuted a video message from none other than U2's Bono who spoke about an organization called DATA (Debt, AIDS and Trade for Africa). Bono opened by apologizing for interrupting the festival, but DATA's cause was for good reason. According to a recent press release, a few months ago President Bush met face to face with DATA's founder, U2's Bono. The two discussed the 2,400+ passages in the Bible that address the plight of the poor. As a result, the Bush administration helped Bono with financial aid for DATA and urged him to find help from other faith-based organizations. Christian artists and leaders Charlie Peacock and Steve Taylor have agreed with the cause. The two of them recently contacted Bono about a growing number of CCM artists who want to encourage the church as she turns her attention to the unfathomable suffering in Africa. Bono welcomed their gesture with open arms. Following the DATA message, the candle lighting service began. The entire festival grounds went dark as tens of thousands of candles began to light up all over the fest. A breathtaking sight to behold. After the brief service ended, the mass exodus began as everyone returned to their campsites and cars for the night...
Skillet -- 1:00pm Main Stage
Rock N Roll Worship Circus -- 4:00pm Fringe Stage
Beanbag -- 6:00pm Fringe Stage
Delirious? -- 8:45pm Main Stage
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