I figured I would put forth what I saw from the guys at the DWYL concert and give you the ins and outs from an actual show. Before I start, I thought I would give you some quick things that I recognized right off the bat:
1. White People in Seattle will show up for any free concert
2. Give white teenage girls long enough and they will start to sing out loud
3. iPhone pictures really suck for these types of venues
4. Give any person long enough, by the end of the show when done by Reach Records, they will be bobbing their head at some point
5. Even Christian Hip Hop concerts don't start on time, which meant a long wait outside, and is why #2 in this list, proved to be true.
After waiting in line a good half hour after it was supposed to start, I was able to enter Mars Hill, which I found out was half the battle since they had to turn people away because of fire code restrictions. I was a little disappointed in the merch, as I was hoping to grab some stuff that they didn't have available online anymore, but that was a small deal compared to the greatness of the evening. At around 7:30, someone showed up on stage and started the intro to our evening. This happened to be the campus pastor of Mars Hill Downtown, Tim Gaydos. He introduced our surroundings (watch this vid for more detailed information on the downtown campus), which was a former hip hop club redeemed for Christ's glory and showed off the former go-go cage that has yet to be turned into anything useful...probably a coat rack in the future. What was cool is that not only did Tim share the local mission of Mars Hill and their community, but also God's Block, a local hip hop organization, was able to share some about their local outreach and mission as well. So, those present, weren't left wanting as Reach Records left town the next day, there was local ministries present and willing to serve in whatever capacity someone would need after the show packed up and left town. Very important.
After those intros, the crowd now very anxious, the show started. The lights darkened, and John Piper started to fill the room with excitement as this video was played on the huge screen behind the stage. At the conclusion of this, the whole crew took the stage, which included, Sho Baraka, Tedashii, Flame, Lecrae and Trip Lee. I am trying to remember their opening song, which I believe was Jesus Musik, originally done by Lecrae and Trip Lee (video here).
At this point the order of appearance was Sho Baraka, Flame, Tedashii, Trip Lee and Lecrae. The way they did things was amazing. Because we have all been to concerts with the opening acts that we didn't know, and couldn't understand what they were saying, and because Reach Records is all about serving Christians and reaching out to the lost, they would, at times, stop the music and just talk. Not only this, but they would also give their testimonies through their lyrics while the music was completely off and it was just them and the mic. By doing this, the concert had purpose, it had a clear message, and that message could be understood even if you had no clue who these guys were.
One of the best parts of the night is when "Here am I, Send Me" started with Lecrae and we were all shouting to the top of our lungs and he stopped the music. He asked us to check our hearts, to understand that we aren't there to just be pumped by the music, but to sincerely speak to Christ to send us wherever. After he spoke to us, instead of continuing the song, Tedashii took the stage and they hit it up with "Go Hard" which was a perfect continuation of Lecrae's message.
I will have to say that the night was completely centered on Christ. They kept making sure that the audience knew that the guys from Reach were not to be looked upon as anything, but they were here to serve us for the glory of Christ. Over and over again, they kept pointing to the wonders of our Lord. And, because of this, I believe it had a great impact. The reason I say this is that I first saw these guys at Resurgence about 2 years ago. The whole room is filled with mostly white middle aged pastors. You have two young black men screaming "Here am I, Send Me." At first, the place was numb, didn't know what to do. But as the words were on the screen, the hearts of these two young men were shown on stage, by the end of the song, we were all on our feet yelling, "SEND ME." The same thing happened this past Friday. There was a young couple next to me. She was blond and he was a guy with a lot of tats, and a shaved head and dressed making me think he was probably more in tune with the Indie scene in Seattle. Basically, he was your normal mid 20's white downtown Seattleite. They at first were looking at each other like, "why did we come to this?" But, as I watched them, by the end of the night, they were both starting to bob their heads to the music. I can say that they might not have liked the type of music, but the message and the hearts of these young men got to them. That is what is cool about Reach Records. For whatever reason, they cross boundaries.
As the concert drew to a close, Tedashii took the stage. Mind you, this is right after they all were on stage throwing water on us, because it was so hot, and bouncing to "Joyful Noise" (video). Tedashii comes on stage and gives a full gospel presentation. He starts in Genesis and walks through redemption. Mind you, some leave, but most stay and are captivated by his words and his message: The hope in Christ. Realize that we had just spent over an hour outside in line, 45 minutes inside waiting for the concert to start and then two hours of crazy music inside with the heat, so to watch the eyes be captivated with the message of Christ was awesome. As Tedashii drew to a close, he told people that they would be up in front to pray and speak with them about Jesus. He made it very clear that they were not there to sign autographs, to listen to demos, to meet people, or give tips on how to make your life better, they were there to pray with the lost. Very cool to see them be upfront and honest and to see the "concert" show it's true purpose: to save souls. Just as I was about to leave, one last announcement was made. They asked us to quickly leave, because they were going to do another FREE concert for all those who were turned away from the first one. This is why I love Reach Records.
The whole night was centered on Christ. They didn't only tell lost people how to get saved, but they continually made sure that those who said they were saved, were and weren't wasting their lives. And, this wasn't about making money. How could it be? It was free. There was just a white bucket when you came in to throw a donation into...there wasn't even a suggested donation shown...just give if you want. And if anyone thought it was about money, the second free concert should have given that away as nothing but garbage. You see, when you just want to spread the fame of Christ, you don't worry about the other stuff. You don't worry how much money you are going to make from the concert, how tired you are, what time you'll get to bed or how early you have to leave to get back home. It is "how can I serve you Lord?"
This is definitely what I learned by going and seeing these guys for myself. When they scream, "Here Am I, Send Me", they are not singing a song, they are literally screaming out to God for guidance and presenting themselves as living sacrifices.
I don't care if you hate hip hop. You should support Reach Records because they are reaching people for the cause of Christ that you would never be able to reach. I praise God for them and I pray that He continues to use them for years to come. Click here for their storefront.
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