My stomache had been aflutter all day. In fact, once I finally got to bed late the night before, I had a difficult time calming my excited mind enough to drift off to dream land. The butterflies only flitted more frantically as I approached the small town where the concert would be held. This was not just any concert. One of my most beloved young bands was putting on a show in the high school that, for good or bad, shaped who I have become.
A left turn brought me down the same street I had traveled so many times as a teenager. I paused at the stop sign for a deep breath in, a deep breath out. The building still looked exactly the same. I was not prepared for the onslaught of emotion as I pulled into the parking lot. All those doubts, all those fears, all those glances, and snickers that said, “we are better than you,” rushed back. I had internalized all those things and in recent years had been fighting so hard to learn how to surf those waves instead of drown in them. It all came rushing back in a black torrent of bitterness, catching me without my surfboard. I fought back with four spoken words, “I hate this place.” As if they were Moses’ staff with the power to miraculously hold the past at bay.
Football players came out of the locker rooom to take the field. The click of their clets on the pavement grated at the long forgotten scars. The players in my class managed to cause some of those scars just because of who they were, and who I was, or was not. Maybe it wasn’t their fault, or mine. The flood waters burst forth, tearing at those scars, reminding me the pain still remains.
I didn’t come here to watch football, or sit in my car. I came to support The Band. I came to take pictures. This is who I am now. Loving music then brought ridicule. Now I go to concerts, take pictures, chat with bands and network when the opportunity arises. A few more deep breaths push the emotions deep down, and I get down to business.
I morphed from banker-Megan to rocker-Megan, which involves putting on jeans and black eyeliner, then met up with my friend, L, who planned and promoted the show. As we entered the school building, I was once again shocked by how much this simple act affected me. We met a couple of L’s friends, but it was difficult for me to concentrate on the conversation. I imaginged all the faces, like ghosts, walking passed, the voices echoing in the halls.
When L took us onto the stage, my two identities collided. On this stage I had tried out for a musical as a freshman, young, insecure, inexperienced. I got the part of curtain puller. Utterly rejected, I sat behind the curtain watching all the more attractive and talented students get dolled up and perform. On this stage I performed countless band, choir, and show choir performances. Though I appeared to be one of the group on stage, when the performance ended, so did my inclusion in the group. I always felt like an outsider, searching for a place to fit doing something I loved with people who noticed me.
So maybe you can imagine my reaction when we entered this same stage so many years later. This band consisting of young men I love like brothers is setting up for a show tonight. I stand in almost the same spot, next to that same stupid curtain I pulled when I was about 15, watching them set up their gear. One by one as they notice me they greet me by name with a hug and thank me for coming. Hold on, time out for tears.
After The Band finished set up and sound check, it was dinner time. I was quiet, which I didn’t understand then. In general, I’m not a very good conversationalist. I’m an excellent listener and can keep a conversation going, if someone else starts it. In this situation, I was tired, surrounded by a larger group of people I didn’t know that well, and experiencing a lot of emotion without quite realizing it. The classroom represented difficult memories I had been trying to overcome for a long time, The Band represented the person/identity I am trying to become. It was too much to handle emotionally. Add trying to create a conversation. Yeah, that’s too much social pressure. So I just ate quietly. I’m good at quiet.
It wasn’t until I went searching for my old self that I consciously realized what was going on inside my head and heart. I knew my senior class photo was hanging somewhere in the hallways. So I went searching. Why you ask? Good question. Curiosity mostly. When I got confused by L’s directions, I yelled down the hallway for clarification! Current Me doesn’t do things like that! How obnoxious, ugh! That’s something High School Me would do! Well, I did it. I also yelled some other obnoxious, mean-spirited things about the school. What’s the Bible say about guarding your tongue? Because I think I just reverted back to about 16! Guess that’s what happens when I repress feelings, but honestly, who was going to sit down that night and have a counseling session with me about my issues from high school? Then wasn’t the time. I didn’t even grasp what was going on.
When I found the Senior Class Composite for the Class of 2001 (yeah, now you know how old I am) I just stood there staring at my 18-year-old self with a strange mixture of amusement and hatred. I didn’t even look at anyone else like I had planned. I was going to pour out hatred on the images of those who had caused me pain or embarrassement. The only image I could focus on was my own, which I could only stand to look at for maybe 60 seconds. Turning the corner to return to the Auditorium, I got my first inkling that being back was affecting my emotions and behavior. When the lead singer of The Band, who was setting up merch, asked if I had “found myself” I just quickly answered, “yep.” He had now idea how profound his question was at that moment.
The rest of the night went well. I took photos at the concert. About half-way through The Band’s set, I got a migraine. I could have been emotional stress. It could have been lack of sleep. It could have been other things. I kept shooting.
When I got to my car to leave, after saying good-byes and sending The Band off, I really felt something was up. Usually after a show, I leave a little sad because it’s over, I had a good time, and I have to go home. That’s normal. But I’m also charged and excited, going over the fun and exciting moments in my mind on the drive home. Tonight was different. At first I thought it was because I was so tired. It was a shorter drive home than usual, but I realized that I felt so different because my past and my present had collided.
So now, what do I do with this? (part 2, coming soon)
Have you ever had a similar experience?
How did it affect you?
This is the last of 4 shows I was privileged to attend this year. It took place on the campus of Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Michigan as part of a campus event to kick off the school year. I thought Seabird was playing first, so mom and I didn’t hurry to get there by the beginning of the first set. We had no idea where the stage was, so we drove around a bit with our windows down. As we pulled up by the stage, I first heard, then saw someone announcing a band. When I caught a glimpse of Tim Skipper’s Les Paul, I got butterflies in my stomach because I realized House of Heroes was going on first, and my camera wasn’t ready yet! So we missed the first three or so songs. I was bummed, but I didn’t feel like hurrying because on the 2-hour drive to the show, I started to feel a little funky bad. It was all good, because we parked close and could hear the music just fine!
Being on a college campus was rather surreal, I suppose even more so for my awesome mom. For me, in so many ways I still feel so much like the girl who walked onto that little campus of Kentucky Christian College in Grayson, Kentucky more than 10 years ago. I mean, did I really look that much younger then?! I like to think I’m close enough to the college-age generation that I can connect with them. Sometimes I feel like I have more in common with this crowd than the many stay-at-home moms that are my age. But, I don’t know…watching those kids have so much care-free fun at that show, I couldn’t help but think how much I’ve been through and how much I’ve changed in the passed decade. The differences between them and me became apparent as well. No, I didn’t quite fit in here either. But I found great joy watching them enjoy this great music. And I couldn’t help but wonder at the potential waiting to be discovered or possibly crushed by experiences on this very campus. Regardless, they would all grow and change. So I prayed for all of them to come out of it all as better people who will change this world. Those who were jumping up and down in front of the stage, I prayed for you. Those who were just standing by, wondering what in the world was going on, I prayed for you. The tall guy with the fantastic camera (I think it was a Canon?), I prayed for you to get great shots! They guy next to me who knew all the words, I definitely prayed for you! All those who were in their dorm rooms, I prayed for you.
And I took pictures…
I welcome comments for sure! In addition to comments about the pictures themselves, let me know if you have an opinion on formats for multiple photos. I’ve always done a “slideshow” in the past. Would a different size of photo be better? I don’t know what this looks like on different monitors. Just trying to make this a more viewer-friendly blog
I’ve got a lot of photos piling up, all of which I am longing to share. Art, being a visual experience, is no good to anyone if it’s tucked away in a corner, an attic, or, in my case, lost in the recesses of my computer. Imagine if the best works of art: DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Picasso, Rembrandt were never put on display for us to reflect upon! This world would be markedly less beautiful. It would be like a gift that was never given! But I digress. I’m absolutely not comparing my little hobby here to history’s greats. Not by any means! I’ve just been asking myself the question: Why bother working to create good pictures if no one ever sees them?
This brings me to a concert I attended in April. My loving husband attended this show with me, even though House of Heroes is not necessarily his favorite band because HOH is one of my most favoritest bands. I am so glad we went to this show. The crowd was great, even though it was made up of almost all high school kids and it made me feel old. These kids were so full of energy and excitement! As a photographer, this show was an absolute dream. Props to whoever hired and/or set up the lighting. It. Was. Fabulous (insert sing-songy voice here). I feel like I got some great shots out of this show. It was such a great opportunity, and I am so thankful that I took it. Without further ado, here are the few photos that I have finished. I will add more as I get them done.
Well, I have to apologize for my extreme procrastination in posting these photos. I cannot believe it took me this long! My only excuse is the fact that the holidays and winter took me hostage. When I finally escaped from their captivity, it took my mind a while to adjust to freedom from their icy grip. You think I’m kidding?! One positive outcome for you: I took more time playing around with these in editing software. You may or may not notice a difference in how these photos look when compared to the other Ichthus entries.
At any rate, Ichthus Fort Wayne 2010 is the day I fell in love with the band Disciple. My husband really likes them too. Though I think it has more to do with the fact that the bass drum has a hand grenade on it than anything else. If you know him, you understand. I had their self-titled album already. Since Ichthus, between the two of us, we have purchased or been given three more albums. Love all of them. I love more than their music though. I love Kevin’s (lead vocals) gift of speaking. If you see them live, you will be challenged, encouraged, and touched by his words. I love their passion, for God, for truth, and for their fans. Sometimes groups, even Christian groups, get cynical or calloused by, well, by what I don’t know, but it comes through in their music, and general attitudes. Fans can feel it. Disciples fans don’t feel anything but the love of Jesus shining through this group of guys. Check them out, you’ll see what I mean.
Without further ado, here are my photos:
Notes: Would like to once again point out that I am 5’4″. And rather shy. So I get as close as I can and look for windows between heads. Inevitably, the tallest person decides the best place to stand is right in front of me, which usually just makes me laugh at the irony of the situation. A few times, I tried holding the camera above the crowd (not looking through the viewfinder). After many attempts, a few of those photos found their way into this blog. I hope you like what you have seen. Be blessed.
I won’t apologize, but I’ll post twice.
Next was House of Heroes!!! I was so excited to see House of Heroes live. I just love their music and was looking forward to experiencing their live show. While the music was amazing, I hate to admit that I was a little disappointed. When a band performs live, I guess I expect to almost get to know them better, feel like part of the show, and yes, unfortunately, be entertained. Musically, this band did not let me down, I guess I just felt like there was no connection to the crowd. Just a quick “Thank you,” between songs and on to the next. In their defense, there was a schedule and perhaps they were pressed for time. I hope to make it to more shows. Love you guys, and your music. Keep on rockin’.
And thanks to the nice guy who asked people to move so I could be right up front for some shots. You were Jesus for me then. Be blessed.
Ok, so it’s been so long since I’ve blogged, I’ve forgotten exactly what happened after Sanctus Real’s show. But I’m not going to apologize for my lack of posting…or for my life “getting in the way” of the internet. I do remember we had a lot of time before House of Heroes played. So I think we went to the Galleria stage to check out Photoside Cafe and SIT DOWN. The description of Photoside Cafe in the program sounded like something we might like. I am so glad we caught their set. They are amazing musicians, and so different from anything I’ve seen or heard before. The violinist even busted out the Pirates of the Caribbean theme during his sound check! Awesome! We bought their cd, but it doesn’t really do their live show justice. They’re based in Chicago, so hopefully we can see more of them.
Saturday morning, my husband woke early to practice at an archery range. I dozed until about 9:15 and took my time preparing for the day. Most of the stages’ first sets did not even begin until noon or later. Matt arrived while I was preparing to leave the campsite. I purchased a latte and we wandered around for a while to get acquainted with the location of the four stages. The Edge stage was the only stage with anything exciting happening. This was one of the smaller stages. Here local and emerging bands played. We heard the end of News from Verona‘s show, which I recall liking.
Then we saw all of Corey Lamb‘s set. I really enjoyed watching his band. The bass player was hilarious to watch, making constant funny faces. I finally listened to his cd today. It’s a bit more pop than I like. I’m assuming, from the nice talk we had with his uncle, that the band he played with and the band the cd was recorded with were different because their sound was harder live. Thus I was a little disappointed when I listened to the cd. But I will keep an eye on him. He’s got absolute potential. And he’s short. Short people are usually pretty cool.
We took a lunch break and I prepared my camera for the rest of the day.
We headed to the Deep End stage to see Heath McNease. As noted in the previous post, he wasn’t there. So after catching some of Red Umbrella, it was back to the Edge stage. We caught the end of Between the Trees. I didn’t really see enough of them to form an opinion.
Next up was Kiros, a super-fun band from Canada. If you ever get a chance to see these guys, DO IT! I wanted to buy their cd, but alas, they did not have any! An apparent problem with shipping or something. They were totally cool about the whole thing. I should be receiving it in the near future. If not, I donated some gas money, and I’ll buy it from iTunes if possible. I love the live music scene!
Some notes on the photos:
I wanted to just upload raw straight from the camera photos, with necessary resizing to upload to the web. But I couldn’t resist improving some of these shots with some quick contrast & exposure adjustments and cropping a few of them. Other than that, they’re pretty much straight originals.
You may also notice that I tend to have lots of pictures of one person and not so many of the rest of the band. In most cases, this is because I am short. I try to get at least one or two shots of every band member. Then I shoot what I see, either the most exciting person, or just who I can see between taller people.