Thursday went a lot smoother. We got to the Agape Farm on the early side for a potential interview (that, of course, never happened), but it gave us plenty of time to get to the first Fringe Stage show of Creation '05 - MuteMath. The four-piece electronic-based rock band (featuring members from the defunct Earthsuit) opened with a new song called "Chaos" before moving into the more familiar "Plan B" from their debut EP, Reset. The innovative and unique "Stare At The Sun," preceded yet another new song, "Noticed," before the guys tore into their show-stopping instrumental highlight "Reset." The first time I'd seen the band performed the song live, it was at the Knitting Factory in New York City in April, and it was just incredible to watch the guys pour all they had into the song. Creation wasn't much different. They closed their impressive set (which garnered the attention of a few artists who watched from backstage, including a certain member from a certain popular trio who's solo set would be one of the evening's closers...) with the familiar "Peculiar People" and their hit "Control."
At 1PM, we trekked over to the Main Stage for Ohio-based rock band Sanctus Real. It was their first time on Main Stage at Creation Festival and the band played quite an extensive set. Leading off with "The Fight Song," the four-piece act did well with the sizable early afternoon crowd. Following "Message" and "Say It Loud," the guys debuted a brand new cut for the first time live entitled "We're Trying." The catchy rock tune is the first taste the band has given of their pending March 2006 release. "Things Like You (Everyone's Everything)" followed, along with the emotional "Say Goodbye," "Closer," "Deeds," "Audience Of One," "Alone," and closing with their hit single "Everything About You."
We stuck around at the Main Stage for the historical 2PM set of Michael Tait's band TAIT. Michael and Co. opened with their cover of the 80's hit "Electric Avenue" and moved right into the title track from their most recent record Lose This Life. Michael had a great stage presence. It was the first time I got to see his solo set since a portion of his brief 20 minute set at Creation 2000 when the dc Talk solo acts split the time. Tait proceeded to play some old favorites such as "Loss For Words" and "All You Got" before performing "God Can You Hear Me?" and introducing the band. A perfect rock cover of the Mission:Impossible theme (much in the same vein of Limp Bizkit's rendition) preceded the rock tune "Spy," and Michael offered up his own take on dc Talk's "Jesus Freak." But the real highlight of the day came when fellow dc Talk member Toby McKeehan stepped out to join his brother for the rock classic. I got the chills when the band froze mid-song to increase anticipation, inspiring the audience to chant "dc Talk! dc Talk!" before finishing the song. It was bittersweet to see Michael and Toby together again -- and without Kevin. But it's possible it may be the closest to ever seeing dc Talk "together" again, but no one really knows for sure...
After Tait, we had to take care of some press duties, including sitting in on a press conference for Sanctus Real, and returned to the Fringe Stage around 5PM for young Essential Records artist Krystal Meyers' set. She performed hit singles from her self-titled debut, including "The Way To Begin" and "Anticonformity," among others. Her set seemed to be received pretty well, and despite appearing a bit nervous in front of the afternoon crowd, Meyers still put forth a noble effort.
At 6PM, we caught a portion of Forever Changed's energetic rock set, which included a cover of "Working For The Weekend," and their originals "The Last Time" and "Encounter." From there, we shot on over to the Main Stage for a brief glimpse at Caedmon's Call's set, catching the title track from their most recent release Share The Well, before locating some dinner for ourselves.
Following the evening's worship and a message from Buster Soaries on "Understanding Time," the first headliner of the night started around 8:30PM with TobyMac's stage-shredding set. There are few more exciting sets around than Toby's and he did not disappoint for Creation '05. Opening with "Let's Get This Party Started," the stage was already ablaze with energy. A few choruses of "Where My Freaks At" served as a nice intro for "Somebody's Watchin' Me" and the funky "Diverse City." Toby had performed a similar set every year since his debut solo record hit streets in 2001, and since his sophomore effort Welcome To Diverse City dropped last year, there was fresh new material for Toby to offer the Creation-goers. The catchy radio single "Gone" was followed by the upbeat "Hey Now" and "J Train" before the tender "Irene" and the rocker "Yours" preceded the Passion Of The Christ-inspired "The Slam." The fun "Love Is In The House" made a great set addition as well as the melodic "Atmosphere" and old dc Talk staples "My Will" and "In The Light." They performed their usual old school medley that included segments from "Play That Funky Music," "Rollercoaster," "Freak Out" (complete with Toby doing the "robot" dance), "That's The Way," and "We Are Family." An encore was inevitable, and the crowd-pleasing "Catchafire" was a great start, with simulated fire from fans and lights that illuminated the background. Following their hit "Extreme Days," they closed with a chorus of "Goodbye."
The crowd seemed to dissipate slightly after Toby's set, and around 10PM, Michael W. Smith grabbed center stage. Sporting a cowboy hat, he broke out into "Open The Eyes Of My Heart," followed immediately by "Forever" and his classic "Secret Ambition." Shortly after, we knew when our bodies were saying it was time to pack it in early, and we left the farm to return to our hotel for the night. The drive back to the Clarion was roughly an hour and it'd been a long day. Unfortunately, this meant we also missed the week's Communion service following Smitty's set...On to Friday... -- John DiBiase, 7/5/05
MuteMath -- 12:00pm Fringe Stage
Sanctus Real -- 1:00pm Main Stage
Tait -- 2:00pm Main Stage
Krystal Meyers -- 5:00pm Fringe Stage
Forever Changed -- 6:00pm Fringe Stage
Caedmon's Call -- 6:30pm Main Stage
Michael W. Smith -- 10:00pm Main Stage
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