Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ending is Beginning

That was the name of one of downhere’s studio releases, and I can’t help but think about that right now.

See, Monday night was the last concert of the Canadian Christian rock bank downhere.  They are retiring from touring, which pretty much means they are retiring period.  And the news, originally made in July, has made me so sad.

They’ve been around for 12 years, and I think I’ve been a fan for 11.5 of them.  I first heard of them when people were talking about their debut on a message board I used to be part of for Christian music.  Naturally, I gave them a shot, and I immediately feel in love with their music.  It showed some real depth while still being fun to listen to.

While I wasn’t as big a fan of their second release, I got to see them in concert the day after their third CD came out.  That one is still my favorite.  I've got all the rest of their catalogue and love it.  Their Christmas CD is amazing with one of the best original Christmas songs I've heard in a long time.

And I would get to see them in concert a total of 5 times.  3 here in town.  They introduced me to Jason Gray, another artist I now love.  I think those concerts might be the most I have seen any artist before.

I find that going to see an artist in concert really helps me love them, so that’s created a strong bond.  Plus, two of the times I’ve seen them in concert have been in the last 12 months.

Another reason I have connected with them so much is I feel they are "my" band.  Despite my efforts, very few people I know seem to have even heard of them.  And believe me, I have talked about them all the time.  So they have become something special to me as a result.

There are other ways they have enriched my life.  Two of the members are runners, and they almost got me running several years back.  I’ve become friends with two fans over the years, and while I’ve lost touch with Faith, Chris has been a great friend this last year.  Four of my 12 races this year were run with him, including Tough Mudder and the Disneyland half.  His encouragement actually got me signed up for that race, a challenge I am thrilled I have met.  Plus we’ve had fun hanging out this last year.

Also, I really feel like I know these guys.  Jeremy and Glenn are very active on social media, and that has given me a huge window into their world.  They have recognized me after concerts, which blows me away.  (Or at least recognized me as a huge fan since I was wearing my autographed “Rockstars Need Money” shirt.)  Jeremy and I have e-mailed a couple of times over the years as well.  Heck, he even offered me free tickets to a concert last April, but I had gone to another one instead.

So you can see all the reasons why I am so bummed that they are no longer a band.  Not that I don’t get it.  Three of the four of them have kids now, and all four are married.  Touring is not the way to raise a family.  I certainly get that.  But for me, this feels like a big part of my life is ending.

I’m trying to figure out why this band is affecting me more than the others.  I think it’s because of the concerts.  I feel a connection to them I don’t to many of the other artists I listen to, even those I have heard since high school.

Fortunately, I still have their excellent music, and I will be enjoying it for years to come.  And that's another reason why I as surprised by my sadness.  I'm not really losing anything except a change to see them in concert again and get more great music.  But there is the fact that God has used it greatly in my life over the years, and He will continue to do so as I keep listening to their music.

It was funny, but last night, I had a dream that I was hanging out with all four of them.  It ended with us praying for each other.  I woke up as I said “Amen,” but the sentiments of that prayer certainly hold true, and I lay in bed for a few minutes praying for them again.

So Marc, Jason, Glenn, and Jeremy, thank you for what your ministry has meant to me over the last decade plus and what it will continue to mean to me as I listen to your music for years to come.  May God continue to use you mightily in whatever new directions He sends you.

My only regret – I didn’t get my shirt re-autographed.  It’s been washed so many times the signatures are faded.  I almost got them to resign it in April, and now I wish I had.

And official warning guys, I still want to see "Calmer of the Storm" live.  Be prepared for a concert in Heaven.


That Loud Redhead said...

Aw, this made me even a little sad. Sounds like a great group...I'll be on the lookout for their music!

Mark Baker said...

It takes a little effort to find their music, but it is so worth it.