This was the show we had dreamed about. It was our audience; they knew our songs. The club owner loved us; the sound guy was a fan.
Smoke ghosted every corner like smoke does. The club was well over maximum capacity, the zealots spilled out into the night. The exuberant crush swayed as the song swelled over them.
I leaned into the mic, put my lips on the mesh, and crooned.
“Get up, get up, get up, get into the rhythm. Swing, sway, let it pull you away...”
This was our most rock friendly song – a southern growl. We wrote it just for this purpose, to get them in the mood. This was the best venue in town, we were opening for a national act, and playing to an audience we had spent years woo-ing.
“Crash, your down, dizzy and done, but wanting more…”
The song worked, they were with us, they loved us. Soon the headliner would play, but this moment was ours. The lights blinded me to all but the enchanted dancing press within arms reach. But you didn’t have to see them to feel it. They had come for a good time, to escape, to feel.
I sang passionately,
“Maybe now brothers, sisters, we can dance in the dawn…”
We were two songs into a six-song set list. We had spent a lot of emotional, physical, and social coin to get here; years of practice and playing for no one, poor sound, small stages, or no stage at all. Behind us were weeks, months, years of promoting so we could posses a stage like this one.
You would have thought I’d be ecstatic; I wasn’t. I was exhausted and heart sick. Something was wrong.
I stepped back from the mic, and like any good actor, I entertained. Leaning over my guitar, I performed like it was the only thing that mattered. And while this perfect scenario for any up and coming band was playing out around me I was experiencing a deep overwhelming sadness.
In less than twenty minutes it would all be over. And it wouldn’t mean anything. We would just do it again, and then again. All the effort it took to get here would have to be thrown into getting the next gig, the next fix. All the anxiety, all the insecurity, all the self promotion… In that moment I became depressed.
Then, while wrestling with why I existed, I remembered something, it wasn’t about me.
When we started our band, we had only one heart, to play our songs for our Father. Even in those early years, I believed to my very core, that music in any form is worship. My heart, our
heart, as a band, was to love God in our songs. Be it Sunday morning or Saturday night, it is always and only for Him.
Somehow, in the weeks running up to this show, I had forgotten.
As I stood there, bent over my guitar, I realized that I had lost my way. My passion wasn’t to put on a great show for hundreds of enthusiastic fans, my passion was not even to make a living at it; my passion was to know and reveal my Father.
Right there, in the middle of the confusion, I repented. “Father, I am here for You.” I prayed.
And in that moment, everything changed.
His sweet presence fell so profoundly on the stage that I became lost in His goodness. I half wept, half sang into the mic; His love was so beautiful! For the next twenty minutes I was swept away in the wonder, His mercy, His grace.
To close out our set, I leaned one last time into the mic and sang a line from Delirious, “I can sing of your love forever.” And the entire place was alive with His presence and many hearts and voices entered that holy place – believing if just for a moment, His always-good love.
Eric, the drummer, was the last to leave the platform, joining the rest of us back stage. They were screaming, it was adoration, they were cheering Gods love. They wanted more. The whole club was electric. Eric laughed and hugged me and the rest of his giddy bandmates. “What happened?” he asked.
What do you mean? I queried.
“In the middle of song two, I felt Gods presence like I never have in a show before. It was like, well, suddenly the whole night made sense! All of a sudden I just started worshiping!”
The rest of the band joined in. Shawn, our guitar player said, “I know! It was like God just showed up and what’s crazy is no one out there understood but they knew something was different!”
I laughed as I told them what had happened between God and I in the middle of the second song.
Later as we sat just outside the club listening to Tim Reynolds shred, we laughed at the comments from those leaving the club. Over the next few years we would hear the statement time and again. “You guys are so spiritual!”
Sometime this opened the door to share about Gods love, but mostly I would just smile and say God is good…
And that was enough, cause it was true and when believed, it changes everything…
The Fringe song was "Down Dizzy". If you want to hear it you can HERE