Burnt cookies, VIP passes and Jars

@16bitcatholic I love you! @jarsofclay concert this weekend is gonna be awesome. I'm the best fiance ever for getting us tickets :)Wed Apr 13 20:48:18 via web

My fiance knows how to make me happy.

A few weeks ago, she decided to give me my wedding gift early. Something she knew I'd love more than anything in the world, besides her of course.

"A Jars of Clay concert!" I exclaimed when she showed me the two tickets. But, there was more. Turns out they weren't just general admission tickets to the show in Shrewsberry, Pa. Oh no, these tickets were V.I.P. tickets. She had contacted the tour manager, explained that her fiance was a huge Jars fan, and that we had a wedding upcoming.

So off we went to meet Jars of Clay, Matt Maher, Audrey Assad and Derek Webb in person. This was going to be amazing. In my zeal to meet Jars, I needed something fun to give them. I couldn't just meet them empty-handed. This band had done so much for me, I had to give something back.

But what could I give? Money I don't have? A lousy gift certificate? An autographed photo of Lino Rulli? None of those would do. I decided to go into the kitchen and whip up my best recipe. The famed Chocolate Clouds (see blog entry "Chocolate Clouds bring embarassment, joy" for the recipe). Lead singer Dan Haseltine mentioned in a blog entry once that he loves Oreo cookies, so chocolate cookies just had to be a perfect fit.

@jarsofclay Hope y'all like cookies!Sat Apr 16 20:13:42 via Echofon

Well...something went wrong in the cooking. Probably the fact that I put them on the bottom rack instead of the middle, because five minutes into the 35-minute baking period, the bottoms of the cookies were nearly burnt. I moved the cookies to the middle, and the tops came out great...the bottoms were as black as a tie.

Twenty-four cookies ruined. Thankfully I had enough dough left for 24 more cookies, which were enough I suppose, but I wanted a huge plate so that everyone on the tour could get a bite. I was out of time, otherwise I would have made more, so I jotted out a card to Jars thanking them for all the good times their music brought to me, plus my web address (because I'm a self-promoting jackass).

Surely a few burnt cookies were the only thing that could go wrong, right. Yeah, let's hold off on that optimism for a few seconds.

See, we never got any details on the VIP part of the show. So Allicia and I had no idea what VIP meant. Was it hanging out back stage? Playing connect four with Charlie Lowell? We had no idea, we just knew the doors opened at 6 p.m.

So we get to the church, driving through the worst rain storm I've ever been in. No exaggeration on my part, 3.46 inches of rain is a record. Grace Fellowship Church, looks like it was built inside of a former department store, like a K-Mart or something. Intriguing way to recycle an old building. We get inside the door, go toward some special desk where they check in people who are special, and let them know that we are on a VIP list.

A woman, who seemed like she would be a terrifically kind, nice person in any other atmosphere, said that our names weren't on the list.

"We have an email, let me show you," Allicia said, and I pulled out the iPhone to show the email from the tour manager. I thought that would make it an open-shut case. You can't argue with the written word.

The woman said she would go check with someone, but I don't think she ever did. Instead, another woman, grumpier than our neighbor who hates my bird-feeder, said that there were only two spots open to get in for the VIP, but that the VIP was over, and we would have to just use the general admission tickets.

"But I have cookies for Jars of Clay, I was really hoping to give them to the band," I said in a less-than-manly tone, half annoyed, half depressed that my hard work was for nothing.

"You can't take them in, but you can leave them here and we can see if we can deliver them," she said with her sympathy tank on E. So I immediately took to Twitter and tweeted to Jars of Clay letting them know that I had left cookies with the front desk.

@cdlowell Missed the VIP session with yall! I left a plate of cookies and a card with the people up front. Hope u can eat them!!Sat Apr 16 22:35:32 via Echofon

But I had zero hope that they would get those cookies. The band was probably getting ready for the show, and by the time they saw my tweets, those cookies would be in the trash.

Regardless, I told Allicia that we would still have a great time. I mean, it was still going to be a great concert, and we were next to an aisle, which made taking pictures very easy to do (a lack of a zoom lens means that most of them did not turn out very well, but there will be some I'll post in the next few days).

And the concert every bit as great as I had hoped for. Audrey Assad opened things up on the piano (that girl has some pipes!), followed by America's favorite Catholic, Matt Maher. His music, if you've never heard it, really puts a love of God into your heart and a skip in your step: it's just so much fun to listen to. Derek Webb of Caedmon's Call fame was next, and did a strange electronic music set. I liked his acoustic stuff better, but the electronica wasn't so bad.

@mattmahermusic sitting here at your show amazed. Very powerful, heart-wrenching/uplifting words you are singing. "the cross." Wow.Sat Apr 16 23:48:44 via Echofon

And then, the moment I had waited for since May 2009 (my last Jars concert). Jars of Clay hit the stage, opening up with Two Hands. As much as I loved the last concert, I enjoy this one much more. Partly due to the fact that I didn't have to stand in the rain, but hearing picks from The Shelter, an amazing album, made this a treat for the eyes and ears.

I think what I really enjoyed about this concert, compared to the last one, is that it seemed to tell a story. Jars of Clay in Toad Suck in May 2009 felt like the band was just playing a greatest hits list (which was fantastic, btw). Here, there seemed like more variety in their music when it came to selecting tracks from multiple albums.

I especially loved hearing Matt Maher sing with Jars on "Love will find us." It was a very haunting rendition, with the blue lights being the only color on stage, and the words really hitting every inch of your soul with thoughtful lyrics.

So hard to feel the fires of home
When all we see is darkness
We forgive but not our own and grasp what's around us

Till the dawn starts to break around you
Let all the stars in the night remind you

These orphan hearts (Will find a home)
Run to these arms (Be not alone)
Light is leading
Love will find us all
Love will find us all

My other show highlights? Hearing their versions of "All My Tears" and "Nothing but the Blood." "All My Tears" was one of my favorite songs from Good Monsters, and Nothing but the Blood was originally recorded with the Blind Boys of Alabama. It's impossible to nail down my absolute favorite performance, as the whole show was memorable.

So not getting to do the VIP thing? It didn't hurt the night, as Allicia and I enjoyed the show immensely. But there was light at the end of the tunnel. See during the show, I happened to check my twitter, and got this notification:

@16bitcatholic We planned the rain. Sorry. I will single-handedly eat the cookies- thank you!Sun Apr 17 00:00:40 via Twitter for iPhone

So they got the cookies after all. My hard work didn't go unnoticed. I'm wondering if the people from up front actually took the cookies to them, or if Jars got my tweets and said to someone, "Hey go get those cookies before they get tossed."

And then after the show, to my amazement, the band, Audrey and Matt were signing autographs after the show. I figured that part came during the VIP session that we missed. And with it being so late, I wouldn't blame the singers if they decided to call it a night. But there they were. So Allicia and I hopped in line, anxious to finally get a John Hancock on my Much Afraid vinyl album.

By the grace of God, I was able to maintain some sort of composure. Not since meeting Lino Rulli had I got to speak face-to-face with someone who was so influential in my spiritual life.

First up was Stephen Mason, guitarist, and I mentioned to him that I enjoyed not having to watch in the rain like I did at Toad Suck Daze in May 2009.

"Oh I remember that, it was so cold," Mason told me, also mentioning that he still had his Toad Suck shirt. Next was Charlie Lowell, to which I asked if he had gotten the cookies.

"Oh your dustin? Good to meet you," Lowell said as he shook my hand. "Those cookies were so good!"

The rest of the band agreed, which sent one solitary thought running through my head. 'Holy shit Jars of Clay liked my cookies!' I don't think I'll ever get a compliment on my cooking quite like that again.

And when Dan Haseltine signed the Much Afraid album for me, I felt humbled. So humbled, like I wasn't worthy of that signature. And not because he was some famous singer or something. See, a few days ago I happened to read an entry in his blog about listening to that album for the first time in years, how Much Afraid was an album whose theme was about the process of crawling out of depression.

How do you ask someone to sign something like that? Every time I see Dan's signature on that album, I'll always think of that blog entry, and the demons that everyone, from King David to your next door neighbor, has to fight at some point in their lives.

And last, Matt Maher recorded a message for Lino Rulli (video at catholicguyshow.com) and newly-wed Audrey gave us two wedding tips: pray together and don't let your emotions cloud your judgement.

A great night, one that I'll never forget. And for a cherry on top, I found this on my Twitter feed the next morning.

@16bitcatholic good to see you in person!! Those cookies were SO good!Sun Apr 17 05:14:23 via Twitter for iPhone

Not as good as your music Charlie. Thank you Jars of Clay for a great night and a lifetime of memories.


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    About This Blog

    A blog for the masses, if by masses you mean myself and family members who probably read this out of pity.

    I'm dustin Faber, the 16-bit Catholic. This blog is an amusing, sometimes thought-provoking look at my life and the world around me. Poetry, cooking recipes, gaming, faith, things that make me go awww, things that make me go grrr, and my obsession with a good glass of root beer can be found here.

    If you're looking for gaming-centered posts, check out catholicvideogamers.blogspot.com. If you seek the blog I keep with my fiance, check out thecatholiclovebirds.blogspot.com

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