Usually when I'm headed out for a Jars of Clay concert, I get all
excited and start praying for songs that I'd like to see performed.
However, my nerves were shaking just a little for this one. I was to
meet Melissa, a fellow Jarchives frequent like me. I met her through
Jarchives messageboards and found out that she was also going to
Rockford to see Jars. In the weeks leading up to the show, we
established a friendship through instant messaging and a few phone
calls. Yet, growing up as someone who is extremely shy, I started to
panic a little.
A little over an hour before the show, my best friend, Brian, and I arrived at the
venue. "GEEVES!" someone yelled from out of nowhere. It was Melissa.
"Hey, how are you?" I asked as I shook her hand. Whew! What a relief
it was to get the formal introductions over with! I was then
able to focus on the show. We rushed to our third row seats and got settled in.
After settling in, Melissa and I went to pick up our passes and head
over to the pre-show meet and greet. We had loads of things to give to
the band as well as things for the band to sign. We became the
"adoptive parents" of a special hat that Lynn (another Jarchives
frequent and contributor) knitted with a Jar logo on it. A couple
entries ("Goodbye, Goodnight" and "Bethlehem Town") were already added
to it by Lynn. Little did we know that one of them would get picked.
There were few people at the meet and greet, which was nice because it
allowed us to talk to the band a bit more. Being my sixth meet and
greet, I still tend to get a little star-struck at these events. For
some odd reason, I told each member how much I missed Five Candles.
Melissa kept her composure a little bit better than I did. "So Dan,
what's your favorite track off the new record?" she asked.
"Well," he began, "there's a song called 'Only Alive' on there that
really has a special meaning to me. Unfortunately, we won't be playing
it tonight, but it's something I'm really proud of."
After taking a few pictures, Melissa and I headed back to our seats.
We walked in just as opening artist Steven Delopoulos was finishing up his set . From what I
heard, he did some songs off his solo CD, "Me Died Blue" and some songs
from his Burlap To Cashmere days. He was actually Brian's favorite
performer of the night. He loved his rapid guitar-picking skills.
Andrew Osenga of Caedmon's Call played backup guitar with him.
Caedmon's Call was up next. They began with an a cappella hymn that
led its way into "Hope To Carry On." Their set was very similar to the
shows in Lisle, Illinois and Cleveland, Ohio from the
spring leg of the tour. The big difference was how Andrew Osenga
blended in with his new band. His vocals sounded like he's been part
of the band since day one. I was happy to hear "Warrior" again. It's
become a crowd favorite. Two new cover songs were added to their set.
One of them was Paul Simon's "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes." The
other was "Mary," a Patty Griffin cover, that I had never heard before.
I was almost driven to tears as Danielle Young's dark and airy voice shined throughout the song. I could tell that the crowd didn't want it to end. Their set ended with the
familiar percussion-driven "Hands Of The Potter."
After a brief intermission, Jars took the stage and the crowd erupted.
Everyone was on their feet and clapping to the opening number, "I Need
You." Then, out of nowhere, guitarists Steve Mason and Matt Odmark
broke into mega-hit, "Flood" that almost blew off the roof of Rockford
First Assembly Church. Usually, the song isn't played until later into
the show, so everyone was pretty much taken by surprise. The energy
kept flowing from the next piece, "Crazy Times." The rock groove never lost its
energy even with the absence of electric guitars.
Up next was the current single "Show You Love," which displayed the
wonderful background vocals of Steve, Matt, and keyboardist, Charlie
Lowell. So, after four songs full of spirit and energy, the mood was
toned down to the story behind "The Valley Song (Sing of Your Mercy),"
Following were two tracks from the current project, "Who We Are
Instead." "Amazing Grace" showcased the bluegrass feel with Steve
playing his solo on the slide guitar. Even with the absence of Ashley
Cleveland, lead singer Dan Haseltine's vocals carried the tune till the
very last note. The up-tempo "Sunny Days" got the crowd off their
seats with their feet tapping again.
Dan then took some time to talk about the band's ten years of making
music. "Well, we turned the big 1-0 this year," he said. "Actually,
we've been receiving gifts like Legos that are given to kids who turn
"Actually," Steve interrupted, "it's like measuring it in dog years.
For a band, one year is really seven years for a band. So actually,
we've been receiving gifts intended for 70 year-olds."
"Yeah, like adult diapers," said Dan as the audience chuckled. "In
fact I think I'm the first person to stand on this church floor and say
'adult diapers.' They should put up a plaque on the wall to
commemorate this event....at least in the bathroom wall."
It was time to draw songs out of the now infamous hat. "We received
this hat from a couple people before the show," Dan said as he held up
the hat. "It's got a neat little jar logo on it. And whoever made it
designed it especially for this tour because the jar logo is
The first piece was a song from the "1980's vintage", as Dan recalled.
The cover of U2's "All I Want Is You" was performed with a very soulful
side of Jars of Clay. The next song picked was "Frail," with Steve and
Matt on dueling guitars. This has and will always be a personal
favorite of mine.
The next song picked took the band by surprise. "Well, it looks like
someone added a few selections to the hat before we got it," Dan said.
"But we must obey the hat at all times." With that in mind, the band
broke into "Goodbye, Goodnight." The last song drawn from the hat was
another crowd favorite, "Revolution," with the familiar hand claps
during the second verse.
Just before Jars took the stage, Melissa warned me that when the first
few piano chords to "Trouble Is" were played, she'd scream. Not only
did she scream, but she screamed as if she'd won the lottery. "Trouble Is" was, by far, the highlight of the Jars of Clay set. With Steve going crazy on the steel guitar, you really wish it wouldn't end.
They ended their set with the ever-popular "World's Apart." Most
die-hard fans know that a Jars of Clay show is never complete without
the song. Yet, this time a new twist was added to it. Instead of
singing "take my world apart", the group sang the female "to love
you's" in harmony. Although it was a brave attempt by the guys that I
admired, I've always enjoyed the version similar to the track on
"Furthermore." If I had my wish, I would've loved to see Danielle
Young from Caedmon's Call perform the female part.
After a few moments of applause and cheers from the crowd, the guys
came back for a 2-song encore. The first song was the fan favorite
"Love Song For A Savior," which, as always is required audience
participation. "I'll Fly Away," an old hymn featured opening artist
Steven Delopoulos, which pleased Brian. I think he has become the
latest Steven Delopoulos fan.
I truly believe that this was definitely one of the more memorable
Jars of Clay shows I've been to. I would've liked to see more
performances of songs from "Who We Are Instead." Hopefully, we'll see
more in the future, but it's understandable that some of them may never be
played live due to the difficulty of some of the songs. Overall,
it was a good selection of new songs and old favorites. I think what
made it memorable was that I rarely go see shows with other fans.
Usually, I'll go myself or I'll take a friend who is only somewhat familiar
with the music. But to sit with another fan in Melissa raised it up a
level or two. Good music, good company, GREAT FUN!