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Running & Sleeping In Airports & Phil Wickham Parting Shot

October 3, 2009

DSCN0635“Mom, Dad, I had a freaky awesome birthday!” Gus said Thursday morning, and they were the sweetest words we could’ve hoped to hear.  We flew home from the tour for a couple of days to spend some time with the boys and throw Gus a birthday party.  He turned 6 on the 23rd of September, but he’s young enough that we all pretended that his birthday was on the 30th since that’s when we could make it home.  We got everybody in on the conspiracy, forbidding all family members to call him on the 23rd.  We felt a little guilt over all this, but it was the right thing to do – no harm, no foul, right?

On Saturday we wrapped up the first half of the Something Heavenly Tour to a great crowd in Austin, TX.  It was Phil Wickham’s last day on the tour, so me and Pete (from Sanctus Real) came up with some impromptu hi-jinx.  During my opening set, I was prepping the audience by making a big deal about how this was a “big night” for us because we were saying goodbye to Phil.  Then during Phil’s set Pete and I carried out a giant statue of a knight that we found backstage – complete with a sword – and stood it up behind Phil. I took the mic and said, “see, it’s like I said: It’s a big night… so we decided to bring out a… well… I suppose it’s obvious…”

Phil was playing a beautiful set of worship music, making it hard for Pete and I to find the right moment to bring out the knight.  We didn’t want to kill the vibe… but eventually we found a good moment and seized it.

The Big Knight made another appearance later when it was brought out center stage in front of the mic for Sanctus Real’s encore song, “We Need Each Other” – Pete and Dan even did guitar solos with the knight.  Meanwhile, Phil and I decided we should crash the party by taking to the stage on the Zappy scooter that was backstage. We figured out how to get us both on there, with Phil in the front and me behind him holding on… we tried to make it look as awkward and ridiculous as we could… and we rode out on the stage, riding in circles around Dan and Pete, stopping to lean in and sing with Matt before cruising off stage again.  It was a fitting end to our time with Phil.

I had taken to introducing Phil each night something like this: “you guys are going to love Phil, he’s great, as an artist yes, but even more so as a person…  I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to like him. I had kind of hoped he might be a jerk…” this was always followed by nervous laughter in the crowd, which was perfect… “I mean, he’s one of the cool kids – he looks cool, he sings really cool, he dresses cool, his guitar playing is cool… and it’s always kind of hard to like someone that cool, you know?  So I was kind of hoping he’d be a jerk or something, but dang it… he’s even cooler as a person.  So I’m getting over my disappointment and I’ve grown to love this guy, and I know you will, too.”

It was a pleasure working with Phil.  He’s one of the sincerest and purest hearted people I’ve met in a long time. It’s clear that he’s deeply in love with Jesus. Worship music usually leaves me cold, but Phil is a gifted worship leader and it was a blessing to worship with him. And off stage… he’s very gracious and so positive.  I’d like to think that I’m pretty positive and find fulfillment in finding the best in any situation, but the last few weeks I’ve been pretty grumpy.  Taya and I have been running since early June when we went to Asia, and have had only a day or two here and there to take a breath.  I think the cumulative effect of all the demands on our lives came to a head this month and I came present to my own burnout.  Being around Phil was God’s grace to me and a gentle reminder to be grateful and content in all things.  I should mention too that Phil is hilarious, but in a way that seems like he’s mostly trying to amuse himself, and anyone else who happens to be around just gets to go along for the ride.  We will miss Phil, his wife Mallory, and road manager Daniel.  I thank God that our paths crossed.

After the Austin show, Taya and I got dropped off at the airport where we tried to sleep on the granite floor until the ticketing counter opened at 4am so we could catch our flight home at 6am.  Catching little naps where we could, we got about 3 hours of sleep before arriving in the Twin Cities to see our boys, Kipper, Jacob, and Gus for a few days. We paid some bills and took care of a few obligations, but otherwise tried to devote all of our attention to rest and play for these 4 days home.  It was perfect Autumn weather in MN – a crisp chill in the air, the leaves turning, and our apple tree we planted 3 years earlier finally gave us our first apples! Taya bought the “Fleet Foxes” record that Zac, my sound tech, had recommended to us, and it was the perfect soundtrack for this brief time at home.  It actually felt like a part of our rest.

For Gus’ birthday, he had heart-shaped toast for breakfast and Frankenberry cereal per his request.  Later I took him out for his birthday lunch.  He picked Culvers over McDonalds and wanted to sit and eat “in the store”.  So we sat and waited for our order and I asked Gus if he had any goals for this next year J.  We decided that working on saying “s” properly was a good goal for his 6th year.

We celebrated Grampa Mark’s birthday that night, too, since his birthday was on the 27th.  Grampa & Gramma even brought some fireworks for the occasion that he assured me were the quiet kind.  After a couple screeching whistlers and loud bangs, I was the party pooper who brought an end to all fireworks but sparklers and smoke bombs, hoping to avert a visit from the police.

At the end of the day, all the boys camped out in our room and we went over the story with Gus of the day he was born, and how we were so happy with Kipper and Jacob and that we couldn’t imagine being any happier, but then we all thought of a way, and that was to have a little Gus in the family.

Now we’re flying as I write this, preparing to rejoin the tour.  Our flight cancelled, forcing us to miss our connections, and after two mile long sprints through the Chicago airport, it looks like we’ll arrive at the venue at 7:10 for my 7:00 set.  The plan is for me to walk in and take the stage, but we’ll see!

If you’ve read this far, thanks so much for caring.  More updates coming… can’t wait to tell you about the guys from Sanctus Real.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. steven scone permalink
    October 3, 2009 11:28 am

    Hey Jason how can I get an oober edition 12. Make a contest please. I want that so bad.

  2. Kaitlyn permalink
    October 3, 2009 1:28 pm

    Jason..You had me trying so hard not to laugh through out this blog without hurting myself. I had my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday and it was a very difficult and painful task to get through this without laughing. Thanks for providing entertainment in your blogs. So happy you got to enjoy your time at home with your boys and get some rest. I hope that the rest of the tour treats you guys well. So sad that I can’t see you tonight in North Carolina, but I get it’s just as well. Probably wouldn’t be a good idea to go to your show with chipmunk cheeks. 🙂

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