Posted by: deerharas | April 7, 2006


So if you’ve been reading my Xanga for any period of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about and quote one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Derek Webb, several times.  I’ve been a fan since 9th grade … a whopping ten years, back when no one in high school knew who Caedmon’s Call was, much less Derek Webb.  This Tuesday marked my sixth time to see him live … the second time I’ve driven to Dallas and back in one night just for his concert.  So here, for your reading pleasure, are all the ins and outs of the long anticipated Derek Webb concert.


I love road trips with friends (family is sometimes a different story … not the trip itself, but the time together in the car).  They seem to lend themselves to some of the best conversations.  When Stacey L. and I drove to Chicago a few summers ago, I think we enjoyed each other’s company more in the car than while actually in Chicago.  Anyway, I was looking forward to spending 6+ hours in the car with one of my very best friends, my other Stacey. (Yes, it is spelled the same way as my other friend, and crazy enough, they have the same middle name … and their husbands have the same name too.) 


We set off for Dallas at about 5:30.  Doors opened at 9:00, so we were good to go.  Fun times, listening to Stacey’s newly created running playlist … haha … hungry like the wolf … hungry like the wolf.  Well, I would say fun until about eight miles from the Texas state line.  That’s when the traffic slowed and eventually merged into one lane.  Yep, stop and go traffic for eight miles that took two hours to get through.  Anticipating being late for the concert should have been bad enough, but no, I had to pee.  Probably more than I should share on Xanga, however … I had to go so bad that I made Stacey take over driving while I got in the backseat and attempted to pee into a cup.  Darn my well trained bladder … it was a no go. 


So finally, just before Gainesville we hit open road, and we were off.  Doors had already opened at this point, so I was really just hoping to make it before Derek started playing.  I was disappointed because his wife, Sandra McCracken, was one of his opening acts, and we were definitely missing her.  Finally at about 10:40 we made it to Deep Ellum, parked and walked up to the Gypsy Tea Room.  I could hear “Somewhere North” in the background as we walked up.  Hurriedly, we ran across the street to the bouncer ready to throw him our money and try and salvage what was left of the concert.  But then he asked if we had tickets. Um, it’s a small club … who buys tickets in advance?  After driving five hours from Oklahoma, this man was telling us that the concert was SOLD OUT.  I told him I was going to cry.  We explained our situation, all the driving and all, and he still told us no!  Stacey asked to talk to his boss, but he said he would just say the same thing.  They were already over capacity.  Stacey continued to work on him until he went in and came back out with wristbands … and let us in for free.  Man, I love that bouncer, not to mention Stacey.


So we were in, and Stacey was not losing any time.  She pulled me through the crowd until we were about halfway from the front.  We kept apologizing, explaining that we had just driven in from Oklahoma.  A group of guys said something like, “Oh, well Oklahoma’s in the front,” encouraging us to keep making our way forward, which Stacey did … again, I love her.  We made it almost right up to the stage just before he sang one of my top four favorites, “Wedding Dress.”  “I am a whore I do confess, but I put you on just like a wedding dress, and I run down the aisle, I run down the aisle.”  (Confused?  Read Hosea.)  Evidently he was finishing up a quick request set before a quick break then followed by a straight run-through of his new album.  I did miss two of my other faves, “Table for Two” and “Dance.”  Oh well, as Stacey pointed out, if we had gotten there on time, we probably wouldn’t have had as good of a spot, nor the nerve or justification for pushing our way up there. 


Derek’s new album “Mockingbird” is his most deliciously controversial to date.  “Don’t teach me about moderation and liberty; I prefer a shot of grape juice,” and “Peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication” are just a few examples of his jabs at conservative Christian cultural assumptions.  Missing from this show, however, was any pre or post song commentary; I suppose he preferred to let his pointed lyrics speak for themselves.  Backing him on piano and vocals, was his wife, who every time he glanced back at her, would smile a perfectly pure and endearing smile.  Hearing him sing, “Like an addict to his fix, so am I to your sweet lips.  The wife of my youth, and my drug of choice,” watching him catch her eye, and knowing that those were his words just for her … that was a great moment.


Derek finished out the night with the melodic and crowd friendly “Love Is Not Against the Law” whose inspiration I can only assume comes from Galatians 5:22-23.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”  These are what should characterize our lives, not a rigid adherence to a set of laws that may or may not even be biblical.  It was beautiful … a bar full of people singing in unison, “Love is not against the law, love is not against the law, no, love, love, love.” 


A lot of people have probably never heard of Derek Webb (although I’m sure a lot more will after the next issue of Relevant hits stands … he’s on the cover).  It really works out in a fan’s favor when your favorite band/singer is unexposed enough to be able to come out and talk to crowds after shows.  Stacey and I hung around for about a half hour so we could snag some chat time as well as pictures (which in my opinion are infinitely better than autographs).  We got t-shirts and chatted it up with the tour manager who graciously complimented Stacey’s cute short haircut and my trendy bangs.  After a bit Sandra came out, and I got to tell her that I was really sorry we missed her because of our traffic mishap, but that I had seen her play at Oklahoma Christian University several years before and had been a fan ever since.  Derek was soon to follow, and he was incredibly generous as I asked for pictures, promising I could take any pose or combination of people I wanted.  We talked about how far we had driven and how I had been a fan since high school, when only college students were really into Caedmon’s Call.   I even had an intelligent question prepared about a comment he made in a podcast regarding an article in Relevant about Bono.  We talked about it for a good five minutes.  We finally said goodbye, with Stacey requesting one more picture: a shot of their mutually tattooed fingers, Stacey’s with her husband’s name on her ring finger and Derek’s with cariV on his thumb.  My four years at OBU paid off for me … I knew that it said “grace.” 



So thankfully, the concert that almost wasn’t, was.  And it was perfect.  I made it back to Edmond that morning at 4:45 and am still recovering from the lack of sleep, hence the late post.  Hmm … not to mention, incredibly long post.  Obviously this is much more for posterity’s sake than any reader’s.  Okay, well maybe my mom will read the whole thing … and Stacey better.


Two more things:

  1. How did I not know about the Austin City Limits PBS specials until tonight?  Seriously.  Tonight aired The Flaming Lips and The Shins.  Upcoming artists?  Jack Johnson, Ben Folds, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand.  Where have I been?
  2. LL Cool J’s new album marks the unveiling of his actual given name.  And who happens to share the exact same name?  Crack me up … my fellow coworker and good friend, TODD SMITH!

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