Final dates on a tour can offer some of the most fun of the an entire venture. In 2005, we happened to experience the final stop on the Mainstay/The Wedding/John Reuben/Falling Up tour that also coincidentally fell on Halloween night. And recently, we revisited the Worship Revolution Tour featuring Delirious and Rebecca St. James on its finale, which was a recipe for a good time. The significance of the final night of a tour? Prank night!
The Generation Rising Tour rolled into the little town of Fairview Village, Pennsylvania to bring a close to an eventful run of dates. Sadly, hip hop/R&B newcomers Group 1 Crew had fallen ill and weren't able to make the show, so the loaded, five-act night was cut down to four before the day even began. 1 Way Concerts (www.1wayconcerts.org) sponsored the event, proving to be one of the nicest promoting teams we've dealt with to date. A sponsor / promotion team is as important as the venue quality, because of their ability to help a show to run smoothly and make the event enjoyable for crew and audience members alike. So, with that said...
Things got off to a prompt start with Chattanooga, Tennessee pop/ indie rock band Nevertheless. The young Flicker Records fivesome opened with the title track from their 2006 debut Live Like We're Alive. I once saw the band perform alongside Everyday Sunday shortly after signing to Provident and before the label group had acquired the Flicker imprint. At that time, Nevertheless was still developing their sound, and it was fun to watch their more energetic and engaging performance this time around. They continued to play a few more cuts from their debut, namely "Patience & Devotion," "Lover," the particularly infectious "Time," and their first single, "The Real," before handing over the reigns.
The set change was brief, but Superchick member Matt Dally served as the evening's emcee, introducing each artist and even taking some time in one instance to talk about Compassion International. Krystal Meyers was up next, bringing her youthful, teen role model status to the stage, appropriately opening with the anthemic "Anticonformity." Aside from her usual guitarist, her band was surprisingly comprised of members from Nevertheless due to the recent departure of most of her backup band. Still, the set was tight, despite Meyers' vocal capabilities not always holding up under the energy and exertion of how she was performing. The fans responded well regardless, and Meyers filled most of her set list with selections from her sophomore release, Dying For A Heart, including "Collide," "Stand & Scream," and "The Beauty Of Grace." At one point during her set, DecembeRadio vocalist Brian Bunn came riding out on stage on a bicycle, sporting a cape across his shoulder and a grin from ear-to-ear. Bunn rode out, stopped to sing along in the mic, and rolled right back off stage. It was the first of a few classic, memorable moments to occur during the night...
After another set change, Blacksburg, Virginia rock band DecembeRadio emerged for the evening's highlight. The southern rock quartet played with such ease and skill that it made them a difficult act to follow. Opening with "Table," the band immediately seized the audience's attention. But DecembeRadio wasn't immune to the tricks of prank night. As the band was fully immersed in "Love Found Me (Love's Got A Hold)," members of Superchick and Nevertheless rushed out on stage in a frenzy, singing along in the microphones or pretending to play accompanying instruments. While it may have ruined the experience for some, the upbeat and fun song was only made more so by the mayhem on stage. When Matt Dally and his over-the-top performance on cowbell and Superchick drummer Brandon Estelle's mockery on guitar concluded with the song, DecembeRadio thanked their unannounced entertainment and launched into the rest of their set with "Least Of These," "Drifter," "Can't Hide," and the rocking "Live and Breathe."
When it was Superchick's turn in the spotlight, the full stage was unveiled for the band's usage, complete with tagged backdrops featuring the band's iconic megaphone logo. The band members sported coordinated attire made up of white, torquoise, black, and hot pink, and it was evident at the start of "One Girl Revolution" just who the evening's headliners were. What progressed was easily the band's best performance I'd witnessed since their early days, mixing the fun with the serious, like the upbeat "Anthem" and the appropriate and ministering "Hero." Some songs may have seemed a bit goofy, specifically "Bowling Ball," which urges, "You need that boy like a bowling ball dropped on your head... Which means not at all," - a message to young girls that is at the same time still altogether relevant to the targeted listeners. But the mixture of fun and relevant is ultimately what Superchick is all about, and songs like "It's On," "Karaoke Superstars," "Pure," and "We Live" expressed this. Inevitably, members of DecembeRadio and Nevertheless came running out on stage, this time dressed in choir robes, with some shining spotlights into the air, in what proved to be a wonderfully ridiculous and chaotic moment. Sadly, it didn't last too long before the guys all retreated, but it was a great way to end the night's bouts of silliness. The most memorable moments of Superchick's set actually came at its close, with the more emotional and serious "Stand In The Rain" serving at the closer, before a few of the members returned for an encore with the splendid and touching "Beauty From Pain." It was a somber but perfect way to end the evening, and with it, the Generation Rising Tour.
While the Generation Rising Tour is over, fans can find each artist currently on tour with different circuits, and I recommend checking them out if they happen to roll into your town in the near future. With five acts, there was a little something for everyone on this stint, and we can only hope to see more of this to come.-- John DiBiase, 6/4/07
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