Friday, April 22, 2011

A Review: Came empty...left full to overflowing

Sioux City, Iowa – Thousands descended upon the Tyson Event Center here on Saturday, March 19, 2011.

Our hearts and souls supple from lives of longing and lonesomeness. Our minds pliable, searching for sovereignty, seeking sureness, sojourning sorrows.

All the lonely people cryin’
It could change if we just get started

While waiting for the opening act, the sold-out crowd bears down behind me, in front of me, surrounding me as a massive congregation.

Elated conversant screams sprinkle their chit-chatter. A Christmas morning thrill intersperses a heightened murmur penetrating thick air.

Light the darkness, light a fire
For the silent and the brokenhearted

This unholy assembly, I included, is banking on the arrival of greatness, soon, very soon. We count down the minutes, our eyes pace back and forth over the stage, trying to detect movement of any kind that would herald the arrival.

When the walls fall all around you
When your hope has turned to dust

We are a communion of saints and sinners, desiring to be bathed in a river of hope, knowing we came in broken, anticipating we will leave whole.

The show eventually began at 7:30, but it’s going on 9 and the main act is nowhere to be seen.

There’s a comfort
There’s healing

Although that doesn’t seem to matter much. A sacred anticipation carries us from opening acts Casey James to Little Big Town.

And then it is done. With a bounding force of music and elated cheers, Sugarland’s Jennifer Owens and Kristian Nettles appear on stage, front and center.

High above the pain and sorrow
Won’t you stand up

Jennifer’s satiny, bounding vocal performance, as a blessing, impeccably and lovingly preaches reconciliation and salvation.

Any tiredness we hulled into the arena flew away on her very first note. Kristian’s rough, ready chorus solidly backs up her anthems.

With so much exuberance, we can’t sit still and will gladly stand for the next hour and a half of the show.

Stand up, stand up?
Won’t you stand up you girls and boys?

I will remember this night forever for …
…the penetrating perfume of the young woman sitting next to me.
…the praise music of this country band.
…the worship tones, raised hands and swaying bodies of this crowd.

I will remember this night forever because I never expected a concert venue to feel so much like a worship hall…because I went to the well empty and left full to overflowing.

(Lyrics: “Tonight” and “Stand Up” by Sugarland)

2011 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, her columns took five first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamonpaula@gmail, follow her blog at and find her on FaceBook.

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