Saturday, February 23, 2008

Winter Jam

This is not a post about the latest GF/CF recipe for berries. And, it is not about an ice storm hitting our small town, causing a massive traffic jam. Last night, Pamela headed to the most unlikely of places you might meet an autistic teen: a very loud rock concert! Last week, the youth pastor had asked me to chaperon a trip to Winter Jam in Columbia. I had sense enough NOT to ask Pamela if she wanted to go because of her highly sensitive hearing. I made plans for her to stay with my parents across the street until Steve came home from work. Pamela made other plans.

Yesterday morning, Pamela announced she wanted to go to the concert. I explained to her that rock music is very loud, and I was worried about her ears. She still wanted to go. I frantically ran around town, hitting the local hardware and sporting goods stores for ear protection. My dad loaned me his headphones for his tinnitus. Then, I emailed some of my Christian friends to pray that Pamela would enjoy herself before we headed out the door.

At first, I was worried. We had a small crowd: four boys and a lone girl (Pamela). Other kids we knew were going to the concert on their own. We got a little turned around in Columbia but only lost about 15 minutes to driving around the industrial part of town cluelessly. We stopped at Wendy's for dinner. The line was so long that the boys balked to a nearby Subway, but Pamela was adamant--she was not budging! We faced another huge line, waiting to get in at the Colonial Center. The boys again balked to another entrance. Pamela again stay committed to the line in which she stood. Having cell phones allowed us to split up. Then, it took us forever to find seats. The place was packed with 15,000 in attendance! The picture above is Pamela's expression as we were walking into the arena. Here is what we saw when we walked into the upper level of seating:

We arrived late and did not catch much of Mandisa. Since we have never watched even one episode of American Idol, we were not all that disappointed. As we enjoy listening to WMHK, we were already familiar with Newsong. You can see in the picture above that Pamela smiled her way through Newsong!

Then came the act that was nearly a show-stopper for me, Skillet. I have never listened to metal. I have never liked metal, even if it is full armor of God metal. They were true headbangers, screeching, raspy, ULTRA-LOUD. After one song, I figured out why they named their band Skillet: after one song, you feel like you hit your head with a skillet. I came up with some more names for the band: Tylenol, Motrin, Ibuprofin, Aspirin. To top that, a young teeny bopper behind me let loose a piercing, shrill, tea-kettle scream that went right through my teeth about once a minute. And, as you can see in the picture below, the band had plenty of EVEN-LOUDER pyrotechnics to wow the audience even more. I posted a picture of Skillet's drummerette because my dear husband Steve bought a set of drums for Christmas, beating everything from rock to Mariachi music.

How did Pamela handle Skillet? Pictures speak louder than words! I offered her the ear protection, but she preferred the organic kind, her fingers. In spite of the loud music, she decided to stay through the entire thing, pyrotechnics and all. So, *I* donned the ear plugs and tolerated Skillet much better after that!

Pamela did not leave the arena during the intermission. She did give her fingers a break, but they did go back to work with BarlowGirl, whom she enjoyed with her bright smile. In spite of their metal-like moments, I like BarlowGirl! The three sisters have beautiful voices that blend well with sibling resonance. Even when the drums are crashing and the guitars are throbbing, they still sing in their sweet, haunting voices. In the very last song, the female guitar playing from Skillet joined them on stage, but I tolerated it because their vocals carry the day!

My absolute favorite act was MercyMe. Until the concert, I had no idea how many quality MercyMe songs I really like. I took this picture of Pamela during her favorite song from the concert, "I Can Only Imagine." My favorite moments in the concert were when the lead singer led the audience in singing I Love You Lord by Laurie Klein a cappella and let the audience repeat it on their own to end it. They closed the concert with "I Can Only Imagine" which was quiet enough in the last chorus to hear the entire audience singing along. In fact, MercyMe felt like a sing along because the audience joined the band on nearly every single song. You can see from the picture of Mercy Me below that we did not have the greatest seats, but the sound definitely carried.

Pamela told us today that she wants to attend other concerts. And, she mentioned she has a headache, too. It sounds like she is suffering from Skilletitus.


Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

I can Only Imagine...what a great song when looking at the whole time last night. We look at our kids and can only imagine what can become...things exceedinly above all that we ask or IMAGINE. God has such great things in store for us in His kingdom- but he has great stuff in store for us here on earth too as you experienced at the concert!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a social thing to do. A concert! It's so awesome! Sometimes I use the small CD player type of ear phones even though they don't help as much as the kind you used. They still give a little protection and compliance is easier. As you know, I have a very strong willed child. A baseball game is our goal. I read a few blogs. (wide variety) What I have seen you accomplish is so amazing. Your children are wonderful. sincerely, dianeG.

Anonymous said...

That's so great!!! I am sooo happy for Pamela. It looks like she really enjoyed herself. Keep on rockin'

Lynna Kay said...

I got a good chuckle out of your description of Skillet. That is how I would have been too. We had Winter Jam here this past season but I did not get to go :( Mercy Me and New Song would have been the two I most wanted to hear. Logan has trouble with hearing the music in church and the volume that carries...hopefully he (in time) can attend a concert as Pamela has! It is something to hope for!

walking said...

Lynna, Pamela made this decision at the last minute and did fine. I was more nervous than she was. You just never know when your sons may surprise you.