Alright, you knew this was coming. It’s 2:20 a.m. and typically I would pass off my photo editing and post-concert blogging to the next day, but we all saw how that went last week. And if there’s anyone who deserves a proper post-concert blog, it’s that beautiful man named Bryce Avary. Now, I realize that Denton’s proximity to Dallas rarely has perks, but the fact that it is in fact the hometown of the Rocket Summer is enough to make me thankful to live in the North Texas area. For one, Bryce never misses Dallas. And, it also means that every show I go to is a hometown show for him. Geez, so great. The show was fabulous. The Granada Theater might be my new favorite venue around, second only to the House of Blues and Bryce put on a fantastic show with the classic Rocket Summer love fest energy that surrounds that beautiful man and his beautiful music. It had all the elements for a perfect concert experience. It had the wonderful crowd with their perfect energy. It had the no tall guy standing in front of me factor. It had the Bryce crowd surfing to a spot in the crowd directly next to me. And I even had my “Oh-my-gosh-he-just-held-my-hand!” moment when he was walked in front of me to get back to the stage. And you can be completely certain I geeked like a total loser. Just kidding. I was pretty cool about it. It was the best. I wish I could articulate just what is so magical about his shows without risking sounding like a superficial fan-girl or a little more exposed than I’d like to feel at the current moment. But I’ll do my best. This is my blog afterall and I remember something about ‘guaranteed honesty’ being part of my original mission with this nearly three year old project venture, so I’ll give it a shot.
With Bryce, his shows are a different experience every time. Of course he plays different music and on a different stage and I’m surrounded by a different crowd of people, but it’s less about all of that and more about myself and where I am. If you haven’t listened to the Rocket Summer, you wouldn’t know that his music is very spiritual. It’s not something he hides and he’s very vocal about how his Christian faith is a huge part of his life and his music. For years, this was something I loved about his music. I proudly stood with my fist in the air screaming his beautiful lyrics, “My heart is open and willing so take it.” His songs were spiritually-charged for me, anthems that challenged my norms and called me to worship in a way that was raw and real and authentic. His songs were powerful works of art that played a huge part of my own faith life as they gave me words that I couldn’t manage to string together and I sang them proudly. And now, as I’ve spent the last two years rejecting the faith life that I had known my whole life, pushing away everything from the habits and traditions and words and the books and even some of the people I associated with that part of my life I chose to walk away from, things are obviously different. And while all of that holds true, Bryce’s music is the exception. If I’m being a little too honest, Bryce’s music is as close to anything spiritual I choose to let into my life. It’s partly the history I have with him and his music, but more than that, I let it into my life because, honestly, it reminds me to believe in something. His music reminds me to keep searching even if I don’t come to the same conclusions his beautiful music rests on, to keep searching even if I never find anything at all. It reminds me not to be hopeless, to look for things that are so much greater than me, whether that’s a god or “Old Love” as he writes, meaningful friendships, or even the magical energy of a Rocket Summer concert. I know I’m being incredibly cheesy, but it’s true. Needless to say, his music means a lot to me and getting to share his music and concert experiences with people I love is a big deal. When I think about the top ten nights of my life, Rocket Summer concerts honestly make up more than a couple of slots on the list. It’s so much more than just a fun time or something cool to do on a friday night. He’s powerful music at its very, very best and it makes my life exude with goodness beyond measure.
If someone were to ask me simply what I believe, I wouldn’t have much to respond with besides “I don’t know,” which is a place I’m pretty content to be right now. But if I think about it, I can answer that question. I believe in words. I believe in their power, the way the right ones in the right order can make entire nations rise to their feet or put an infant to sleep at night or make a twenty-year-old girl raise her first in the air and feel absolutely certain that she’s alive. And that, my friends, is something I think is worth celebrating every single fucking day.
Oh, and one more quick story before bedtime as it’s now 3:07 a.m. After the show, we were walking back to the car when we spotted the line to meet Bryce. After about ten seconds of hesitation we hopped in line. I waited to meet him after one of his shows about four years ago, but it seemed like a good time and the line wasn’t horribly long for once. We chatted with the group of people directly in front of us and learned (after having been there nearly 45 minutes already) that we needed yellow wristbands to get into the meet and greet. After plotting how we would get past the security guard checking wristbands, we convinced two kind strangers walking away from the meet and greet area to rip off their wristbands and give them to us. So I had my two minutes to take pictures with him, have him sign my cd, and thank him for ten years of fabulous music. I even told him about the very first time I saw him life at Hailey’s in Denton eight years ago. “No way! The acoustic show! That was so long ago!” I was twelve years old. Crazy how fast life happens.