Thursday, November 03, 2005

Nichole!

Nichole Nordeman was FANTASTIC last night. Two words (to quote Gale from Chorale Idol--some of you will laugh at the memory): Phe. Nomenal :)

Driving up to Louisville made for a long day for Steve and me--he had gone in to work early so he could leave early, and we didn't get home until 10:45 pm--which is way past our old-fart bedtime! But worth it. The concert was at Southeast Christian Church. Now I have been in a lot of huge churches through my years of traveling with the chorale...but I am pretty sure this one takes the cake. Steve estimated that the sanctuary was about the size of the Shoemaker Center (where the UC basketball team plays). I'm not kidding. You could have put most churches inside their lobby. There were several sets of escalators to get up to the upper-level seating. They have over 17,000 attendance every weekend. They put out a 30-page newspaper every week. Wow. I wish I would have taken some pictures. But I didn't feel the need to make myself look like a gawking country bumpkin from the sticks anymore than necessary :) Seriously, though--how does a church ever get that huge??

Anyway, the opening act was Aaron Shust, who was actually really good. He's a new artist who leads worship for a huge church in Atlanta--his first CD just came out. His set was the perfect length--he only played three songs, which was short enough to leave me wanting more rather than checking my watch wondering when it would be time for the main event.

Nichole's set, on the other hand...was not long enough. I mean, she played for an hour. But really, I would have gladly sat through all four albums (though I suppose her voice...and my butt...would have been awfully tired by that time...not to mention Steve would have never made it through all that).

I love her music so much and it was great to hear less "produced" versions of the songs, more focus on her playing the piano. Seriously, if I were to be stranded on a deserted island and could only take ten CDs with me...four of them would be hers. I really appreciate her honesty about the journey--real, but still reverent. Plus she's just a talented songwriter/musician and I love her voice.

As if all that weren't enough...my fun evening was capped off by a visit to Bravo! My favorite Italian restaurant (no offense, Olive Garden...you're almost tied). We had already eaten dinner but since I hadn't had Bravo in months, we stopped by after the concert for some artichoke and spinach formaggio dip on Parmesan flatbread...are you drooling yet?...Yum yum yum. A fabulous date with my wonderful husband, who let me drag him along even though he's not a huge Nichole fan like I am. Thank you, Steve :)



On a more serious note, I'll close with a story Nichole told last night before singing "Hold On" from her newest album, Brave (the song is one of my favorites on the album). The liner notes mention that the song is "For Meredith, and all the things I wish I'd said." She explained that Meredith was the only other female on a tour Nichole did a couple of years ago (she didn't say but it had to be the SCC tour Steve and I saw in October 2002). So, Meredith was determined that she and Nichole would become "the best, best, bestest of friends!" Only, she was one of those people who just drive you crazy. You know what I'm talking about. She was sickeningly bubbly all the time...to quote Nichole (this made me laugh), "You couldn't get through a simple conversation like 'So, how's your salad?' without four or five 'Hallelujah!'s in there."

Nichole eventually discovered that Meredith's happy-all-the-time routine was a facade, and she became really clingy and needy--driving Nichole even further away from wanting a close friendship with her. She confessed that she was relieved when the tour was over so she didn't have to deal with Meredith anymore. A couple of years later, a friend who'd been on that tour asked if Nichole had heard what happened to Meredith. Nichole (this is what I love about her, that she's willing to be vulnerable and real) said she mentally rolled her eyes and snottily said, "What now?"

Taken aback, the friend told Nichole that Meredith had recently taken her life. Nichole went on to share how she felt overcome with guilt and shame--not just a missed opportunity, but an opportunity you actually walk away from. Wow. And she challenged us all to stop and picture the Merediths in our own lives. We all have them--people who drive us crazy. But we have no idea what they really might be dealing with, or how thin that thread might be stretched, how close it might be to snapping. How are we treating them? Food for thought...

Nichole also talked directly to "those of you who are the "Merediths"--anyone who's dealing with deep pain or hurting in dark places where squeaky-clean Christians aren't willing to go. She said the song "Hold On" is for you--it speaks of the love of Jesus that will find you no matter where you've been:

It will find you at the bottom of a bottle
It will find you at the needle’s end
It will find you when you beg and steal and borrow
It will follow you into a stranger’s bed
It will find you when they serve you with the papers
It will find you when the locks have changed again
It will find you when you’ve called in all your favors
It will meet you at the bridge’s highest ledge
So baby don’t look down, it’s a long way
The sun will come around to a new day
So hold on
Love will find you
Hold on
He’s right behind you now
Just turn around
And love will find you
It will find you when the doctor’s head is shaking
It will find you in a boardroom, mostly dead
It will crawl into the foxhole where you’re praying
It will curl up in your halfway empty bed
So baby don’t believe that it’s over
Maybe you can’t see ‘round the corner…
To hang between two thieves in the darkness
Love must believe you are worth it

4 comments:

Jules said...

I'm so glad you had a good time! And what an incredible story (about Meredith). I LOVE that song. It sure does make you stop and think. That CD was on repeat in my car for like a month.

dottie said...

hey amy-
what amazingly beautiful and painful lyrics. i just got back from a kendall payne/bebo norman concert at my church (and as a sidenote, my youth pastor there used to live in louisville, so he's talked about the massive-ness of southeastern CC). sadly, i missed most of the concert (silly night class--getting in the way of my LIFE! hah.) but even more sadly, and the point of my comment, is that those lyrics are so poignant to me today specifically. there was a man who was a member of my church here who i wished could have heard and believed that song. i don't want to get into too many details, but his wife had just filed for divorce, and he snapped. he ended up killing his 4-year old son and himself last night. my senior pastor is just beside himself, wondering if he should have done more, done things differently, said something that could have prevented him from resorting to that.

sorry to leave such a depressing post. just call me dottie-downer, i guess.

but through it all, our God is still faithful. and i'm so thankful.

love, dottie

K said...

What a great night out. I love to go to (any) Christian artist's concert for the real version of themselves. Their songs usually reveal their soles but the stories behind how they got there are captavating, moving, and usually hit home in some way. Thanks for sharing what I missed out on.
PS WOW that's a big church. Talk about not knowing everyones name!

Kathryn said...

Love it! Love it! I love the CD, I love the lady, I love her heart. You spoke true. Thank you for the card that was the most encouraging anything I've recieved in a LONG TIME and very much needed! Thank you for listening to the HS. He knew. You knew. Love you!