A couple of months ago I received e-mail notification from the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts (SMCPA) in Franklin, NC that they had just added ‘An Evening with Third Day’ to their fall schedule on October 13. It didn’t take much discussion with my wife to reach agreement that this would be the first concert we would take our 11 year-old grandson to see.
The purpose of this post is two-fold:
- First, share a bit about the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts (SMCPA)
- Second, share a bit about our great Third Day concert experience.
We live about an hour (with a problem-free commute) from downtown Atlanta but we very rarely venture into Atlanta for entertainment venues. Instead, we make the hour and forty-five minute drive to Franklin, NC to attend performances … musicals, comedians, concerts, etc. … at the SMCPA.
Here are our reasons:
- It’s a consistent easy-going commute through the scenic north Georgia foothills and mountains.
- The venue consistently schedules top notch family friendly events and performances.
- The SMCPA is a 1,500 seat state-of-the-art facility. This means two things: there is not a bad seat in the house and it makes for a more intimate experience between the performer(s) and the audience.
- Ticket prices are much more reasonable than the Atlanta, GA ticket prices.
- Parking is free. And most of the time I am already 10-15 miles down the road before we would even escape the parking lots for most Atlanta events.
- Snack Bar items are reasonably priced. Popcorn comes in one, two and three dollar sizes. Bottled Coke products are two dollars. And movie size boxes of candy are two dollars.
Franklin is a big retirement community (my folks live close by). And most all of the ushers are retired seniors … and they are always extremely friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. (Even when they ask me, “What’s an old guy like you doing coming to a concert like this where the music vibrates the walls?” … admittedly the chemo has had a significant aging impact on my appearance)
We had great seats for the Third Day concert … we were in one of the balcony boxes on the left side of the theatre on the very first row that only had three seats in it … a perfect unobstructed view … and a perfect place for us ‘old folks’ to be so we didn’t have to stand as much.
Third Day is Mac Powell (rich, deep and unique lead vocals), Mark Lee (a true virtuoso of the electric guitar …), Tai Anderson (a rockin’ bass) and David Carr (a master of all things percussion) and these guys have been together from the 90’s. Scotty Wilbanks is playing keyboard for them on tour and there was a sixth member in his first year touring with them … but alas I just can’t come up with his name.
The concert lasted nearly an hour and forty-five minutes and it was everything we hoped for, Third Day plays southern rock music at its finest … with lyrics and personal testimony that points the audience/listener to Christ Jesus … at times taking you to a place of praise and worship … while at other times just rocking your soul.
The concert playlist follows: Hit Me Like a Bomb, Make Your Move, I Believe, Kicking and Screaming, Revelation, God of Wonders, Morning Has Broken, Show Me Your Glory, Cry Out To Jesus, I Need a Miracle, You Are So Good To Me, I Got A Feeling, Trust In Jesus, King Of Glory, Creed, (encore songs), Your Love Is Like a River, Otherside
Interestingly enough you can already download an MP3 of the actual concert for the bargain deal of $9.99. Isn’t technology is a wonderful thing?
A few highlights from the evening …
On the second or third song, the entire band suddenly struck a mid-song freeze frame pose that lasted for 30 seconds to a minute … really cool!
Have loved Scotty Wilbanks on keyboards ever since seeing him on Newsong’s Rescue DVD … he’s been touring with Third Day for eight years (know he was on the Christmas Offerings DVD). Being Duck Dynasty fans, we really enjoyed seeing the big Duck Commander logo on his piano (This past summer Third Day shared a home-cooked meal by Miss Kay with some of the Robertson clan around the table often featured in the closing thoughts of each episode)
After the song ‘Cry Out to Jesus’, Mac Powell shared an incredible story about how God used that song to rescue a young man who was considering suicide. That story served as inspiration for the song ‘I Need a Miracle’.
A common practice at concerts is to toss guitar picks out to the audience … and each and every time the young boys near the front made a mad dash to secure those treasures. But Mac Powell obviously had spotted a young 5-6 year old girl he wanted to get a pick … so he grabbed a pick and walked to the edge of the stage and motioned for her to come get it and he personally handed it to her. Maybe I’m an overly sensitive guy … but it seemed like a special moment to me.
There was a lot of small venue – band – audience interaction. And the band actually participated in an autograph session after the concert that was open to all … which I don’t remember seeing from a band in nearly 20 years (at the time, it was Geoff Moore and the Distance … remember him?). But we had a long ride home and a work day ahead of me, so we skipped the autograph session and headed for home.
It was a great concert and we really enjoyed it … and we continued to worship God and rock out to Third Day on the way home listening to and singing along with the Miracle and Revelation CDs (old speak … album) on the way home. But God wasn’t quite through blessing us for the evening …
As we drove through Clayton, Ga; up in the sky on our right was a large glowing white cross … the glowing made even more eerie by the reflection of the light off the surrounding clouds. It was a pretty spectacular site. Actually the cross was not in the sky … it was mounted high up on neighboring Black Rock Mountain. It was paid for and erected by the Rabun Cross Society, Inc. in June 2009.
An incredible evening … thank you Lord!