Most recently, we drove to New City Cafe in Knoxville, TN, this past Saturday night to see Andrew Peterson and Eric Peters, who opened. Ben Shive, who tours with Andy, added his talents as well. A most memorable Valentine's Day, especially since all the artists' wives were able to come, and Jamie even sang with Andy on a song or two, which is a rare treat these days.
After the show, Kenny (the owner of New City) asked us how many times we'd seen Andy in concert, or if we've just lost count. We've definitely lost count. I think Gaines tried once and got somewhere up in the thirties, but even that was a few years ago. And that was just his list. I can't imagine how many it would be if we tried to count ALL the concerts we've attended.
Anyway, Kenny's question was timely, because I had been pondering earlier that night just why we go to see these folks again and again and again. Musicians like Andrew and Eric, and Randall Goodgame, and Mark Williams, among others. Sure, it's fun. Sure, it's entertaining. Sure, we want to support them. But I think it's also more than that.
Saturday night, when Andy sang a brand new song (title unknown at this point) about how his boys keep him young-- about finding dinosaur bones in the flower bed and walking through the magic wood and grabbing hold of the Lion's mane-- I knew that was it for me. It was so beautiful I didn't know whether to cry or laugh. I know I was smiling through so much of the song my face hurt.
The moment you connect to a song in such a powerful way, it's like sharing in a little piece of Home. I think of the first time I heard Eric's "These Three Remain," or Andrew's original Christmas musical, Behold the Lamb. It's not just music, though. All art can elicit glimpses of the glory of Christ.
Like the phrase Tolkien used to describe that great pivotal moment in storytelling, the climax--he called it the "eucatastrophe." The Cross, of course, was THE Eucatastrophe of all of history. And I think when we hear such a moment in a song or see it in a portrait or read it in a book, it connects us to that moment, but also to the future glory of the New Heavens and the New Earth. Further up and further in, the Kingdom cries out to us.
And so when I go to a concert, I think somewhere in the back of my heart I'm searching for a eucatastrophic moment-- a song, or a chorus, or even a story that points to the Eternal unseen.
That is the reason why we'll drive three hours (or thirty) to see one show. It's why we keep coming back, a million times or more, to hear songs we know by heart and songs we only know in dreams. It's why we keep listening.