Saturday, March 24, 2012

Passion 2012 > Foo Fighters

I just came home from Passion 2012 in Vancouver not too long ago and I'm still too excited (I'm assuming its joy of the Lord overflow) so I thought I'd write this quick post.

Passion Vancouver took place in Rogers Arena and the last time I was in that building was when the Foo Fighters came to town October 25, 2011. I was super, super, super excited for the Foo Fighters concert. Back in May, I had seen Thor and while watching the end credits, I was introduced to their single "Walk" from their latest album Wasting Light. I didn't realize they had a new album out and after listening to it, I became all fanboy-ish and rocked out to a lot of their songs, old and new. I headbanged to "Bridge Burning" a lot. Or rather, I attempted to headbang because I got dizzy if I threw my head back and forth too hard.

Anyways, I don't regret seeing the Foo Fighters play live. They are gifted musicians and Dave Grohl is also a talented lyricist. There's a reason why their songs are popular and that they've been able to make a good living out of their music. Listening to "Bridge Burning" live (as well as "All My Life") and having it as their opening song was grrrrrreat! Huh, I have a hankering for sugary cereal now. But I don't believe I would go see them (or perhaps any other band in a venue like that) again because other than the music, I had a miserable time.

I paid $60 to sit in the upper bowl. I brought binoculars and I had to use them. Everyone around me sat in their seat the entire time. Many of them also smoked and that's what made my night miserable for the most part. I've never inhaled that much second-hand cigarette and marijuana smoke in my life. I suppose this was partly my fault for staying where I was; I could have moved around to another section where there were less smokers but I paid $60 for this particular seat and line of sight, damn it (yeah, I said "damn," my bad)! The opening acts were also really overbearing and thunderous (which can be blamed on the technical crew - my ears rang for 2 days afterwards). Actually, to be fair, Mariachi El Bronx was somewhat entertaining and creative, but Cage the Elephant was tormentuous. The lead singer's voice was so whiny and the songs they played should not be considered music. But apparently they have fans. Long story short, the night seemed really long. Time crawled.

Ok, so this isn't really a quick post anymore. Oh well.

Fast forward to just a few hours ago, where I got to sit in the lower bowl (paying only $10 general admission for the early bird ticket price) and join perhaps more than 10,000 youth and young adults all give their focus to one person alone, Jesus Christ (the event was geared to university students and anyone aged 18-25, but I wouldn't be surprised if half of the attendees were still in high school, which isn't necessarily a bad thing). The arena was way more packed than the Foo Fighters concert (which can easily be attributed to the ticket price) but the fact that so many young people were willing to forego their regular Friday night foray and instead attend a super-sized church service on steroids says something. And that something is that Vancouver loves and needs Jesus, despite what naysayers or "popular" opinion says. The evening started just after 7:30pm and ended close to 11pm. And that time went by waaaaay too fast! It really was a glimpse of what heaven will be like. Thousands of voices, singing in unison about how great and beautiful God is. Hands clapping in awe and thanks for what God has done, and hands extended above heads, raised in adoration and surrender up to the heavens (or rafters in this case) in honour to the God that blessed them. The extra cool part of it was also being able to sing as loud as I wanted to without having to worry if my crackly voice bothered my neighbours since it was wonderfully loud and the music drowned me out.

I had goosebumps when the opening video of powerful and prophetic Bible verses were being splashed and read across the big screens. Chris Tomlin is a gifted song writer and worship leader (even if all his songs sound repetitive, yes I've heard the criticism) and I felt rather blessed to hear "Jesus Paid it All" when Kristian Stanfill took a turn at leading because I especially love listening to that song when I'm biking. It's an understatement to say David Crowder is a gifted musician because if you've listened to the David Crowder Band's albums over the years, you just know that they are meticulous when it comes to making music for Jesus. And I wasn't alone in my delight when I saw that giant beard walk out on stage and pick up that 12-string(?) guitar.

Corporate worship is uplifting. Corporate worship with old hymns is encouraging. Corporate worship with big beats is super fun. And corporate worship a capella is just heavenly. "Come Thou Fount" is a beautiful song and singing some Gaither ("Because He Lives") made me wish that there were older folks there to worship alongside with us. I think senior citizens who have worked so hard in their lives overseas or in their home country all their life for God's kingdom would have gotten a kick out of seeing so many young people worshipping Jesus (kind of makes me look forward to growing old so that I too can see that some day). The crowd cheered when "How He Loves" started. The first time I heard that song (maybe 5-6 years ago) I thought it was kind of dumb, but now I love it. It's also on my bike playlist. And I wasn't expecting to hear it but I think singing "O Praise Him" made my night. Can you believe that song is nine years old?

Whew, I wrote a lot.

I have a tendency to close my eyes in a group setting when I sing praise songs to help me focus on God, but tonight I forced myself to open them and take in the sight of everyone else doing the exact same thing I was doing. Maybe this is why rallies, marches, gatherings, demonstrations, and armies are all so compelling. One focus, one goal. And in our case, one Saviour. The time really flew by. And there was no second-hand smoke! And as I'm writing this, my ears don't ring anymore!

I wasn't looking forward to Passion Vancouver as much as the Foo Fighters concert I attended, but in economic terms I experienced far greater utility worshipping God with thousands of brothers and sisters over listening to some really catchy guitar riffs with some potheads. For much of the night, I was reminded of Psalm 22:3 which was mentioned in Pastor Kayy Gordon's sermon last Sunday:
But You are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of [your people].
God is good! Hallelujah!

Remembering to pray for Passion Africa and how I can do my part to help end human trafficking and slavery today.

I didn't bring my camera so here's a picture I stole from jo-loves-food's Flickr page from the 2008 Vancouver Passion:

Passion World Tour Vancouver

Oh yeah, Louis Giglio showed us Daniel Sedin's helmet and we prayed for him. 8^)

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