Thursday, September 24, 2009

Firsts and Lasts

Today is the first day of the Awake and Alive tour that we're a part of this fall.... along with Skillet, Decyfer Down, and The Letter Black. First and last days of tour always get me thinking... about the future, about the past.... about how crazy life has been the last 5 years. I'm trying to remember all the tours I've been on... let me try to recount them.

Fight The Tide Tour - Sanctus Real, Seven Places, Hawk Nelson, Ever Stays Red

Fight The Tide Tour pt 2 - Sanctus Real, HN, Ever Stays Red
X Tour - Falling Up, KJ52, Seventh Day Slumber, HN
Diverse City Worldwide Tour - AudioAdrenaline, tobyMac, Kutless, HN
Art of Breaking Tour - TFK, HN, Dizmas, 4th Ave Jones

Winterjam - Newsboys, tobyMac, Zoegirl, HN, Krystal Meyers
Art of Breaking Tour pt 2 - TFK, HN, Falling Up, Run Kid Run
Smile (End of the World) Tour - HN, Project 86, Falling Up, Run Kid Run
Beyond Measure Tour - Jeremy Camp, HN, Adie
Winter Wonder Slam - tobyMac, HN, The Afters, Family Force 5, Aeisha Woods

Winterjam - Jeremy Camp, Steven Curtis Chapman, HN, Sanctus Real, Britt Nicole
Tooth and Nail Tour - MXPX, HN, Classic Crime, The Fold, Sullivan
Baseball Tour - HN, The Send
Revolve Tour - Natalie Grant, HN, Aeisha Woods, KJ52

Green Tee Tour - HN, Run Kid Run, Capital Lights
Baseball Tour - HN, Run Kid Run
Revolve Tour - Natalie Grant, HN, Krystal Meyers, Group 1 Crew

Winterjam - tobyMac, Brandon Heath, HN, Francesca Battestelli, Stephanie Smith
Rock & Worship Roadashow - Mercy Me, Jeremy Camp, HN, Tenth Ave North, Addison Rd.
Awake and Alive Tour - Skillet, HN, Decyfer Down, The Letter Black

Wow. I managed to complete most of that list without googling. That's around 600 tour shows.... including one-offs and festivals, we've probably played nearly a thousand shows in the last 5 years. Wow. No wonder it's flown by.

It almost feels as if I've been somewhat isolated from the real world these last few years. Being on the road can be good therapy, but it can also be a big carpet under which it's tempting to sweep your problems. Everything is put on hold when you're on the road.... and when you do 120-150 shows a year, as we've settled into recently, anything put on "hold" can remain there for quite some time. Some people are cut out for the road, and some aren't.

Mostly, I love being on the road. I enjoy my morning coffee routines. I like waking up in a different place every day. I love walking around the various cities of this country. I love that I have some minimal level of familiarity with nearly every city in this country. I love playing guitar for a living. I love making music.

Even so, touring is hard on you. I've seen it age people...... If you're talking to someone who has toured extensively for 10+ years, you can see those years on their face. You can hear it when they speak. It's interesting. Some people wear those signs as a badge of honor. Others try to hide them. Some are clueless to the presence of any of these things.... but regardless, the years are there.... as bags under their eyes, or a hoarseness of voice. I sometimes wonder how I've been changed by the last 5 years of touring.

It's on days like this.... the first day of this fall tour.... that I wonder. A lot.

I wonder if this is a lifelong obsession for me, of if it's a phase that I go through during this time in my life. Really, I'm quite content with either, as long as I'm where God wants me to be. As I get older, my priorities change though. If I have kids in the next few years, I suspect priorities will shift even further. Being away from family will get more and more difficult. I used to just LOVE playing shows and having fun on the road... now I feel more of a need to have a sense of purpose, if I'm going to be away from home.

Some days feel more full of purpose than others. It's the others that sometimes leave me asking "What was the point of THAT day?" ..... and the older I get, the more frustrated I get when I have to ask myself that. But then every once and a while something wonderful happens... and I get to see a little glimpse into the life of someone our music has affected.... and I wonder how I could ever question the purpose of what we do. That is a pretty humbling feeling, and reminds me of the responsibility we all have to be good stewards of what we are given.

In the end... I refocus on the tasks of the day. Today I need to finish tweaking arrangements for the show, I need to change some strings, and prepare for the first show of the tour. I'll probably make some more coffee later. I'll make some new friends, and catch up with some older ones. I'll fill my day with tasks and errands.

The shows on this tour are selling incredibly well... there are going to be a lot of packed out theatres and concert halls. It's going to feel great playing to such great crowds each night.

Here we.... go!



Christine said...

ugh, it makes me sad looking at the tours that i missed because my mom didn't let me go. all the way back to 2006! it seems like just yesterday!
and i would absolutely LOOVE to go to this awake and alive tour, i was SO excited when i found out you and skillet were going on tour, cuz you are two of my very favee bands. however... having my mom for a mom, can't rly expect anything. a friend was trying really hard to make it work out that i could go with her, but then she realized she had something else going on. well, maybe it's just not meant to be. but man would i LOVe to go to that show... idk if it's sold out yet, i do expect them all to sell out, being you guys are the top two most popular bands in Christian rock.
how you described everything and how you felt, is kinda what i would have expected i guess. it sounds AWESOME but im sure it gets kinda hard sometimes.... still, its really *pretty much* all i want to do with my life for some reason.
have fun on your tour! =D im sure you will!!!

*:.Jesi.:* said...

there sure were a lot of tours before i was a fan. but once i became a fan i only missed winter wonder slam in 06 (apparently i wasn't crazy yet) and revolve in 07 (i was elsewhere when the closest one was nearby, and it was expensive lol)

that's pretty crazy. haha.

you know how much i love seeing you guys. i believe every show you do has a purpose. i know everyone i go to definitely has an amazing purpose--putting a smile on my face and making another day in my life memorable. there are hundreds of fans each and every night that will cherish that show for years, if not the rest of their lives. so don't ever feel like it doesn't have a purpose. it does.

you're making this world a better place. you're making MY world a better place.

Bill said...

Thanks to my good friend Lori from Overture for posting the link to your very well written blog.

Interesting about getting a little more 'experienced' and asking at the end of the day if there was any 'purpose'.

I'm 45 this year, and just figuring out that finding purpose and meaning in each day must be defined by Gods standards, not the worlds. But boy oh boy, the world will come at you and demand that you pay attention to it! Stay strong, and as one of the tour names you were on says, 'Fight the Tide'

KJIL Radio
New Release Tuesday

Longtime fan

Jonni said...

Well, I can tell you why the shows are selling so well.. all the bands on the Awake and Alive tour are absolutely amazing!!
But that makes me sad... I don't know if I'm gonna be able to make it out.. I might, like there is the slightest chance... *sigh* oh well... I love you guys, and I'm super excited for you about the tour!

Ida said...

Thats a really good blog Jon..
Even if it seems like a day doesn't have purpose, every day I remember who influences me and I pray for them..
Truly and honestly I don't know who I'd be with Hawk Nelson's music, and it has touched my life for sure.... Not to mention the awesome people in it! You guys are AMAZING. And I couldn't ask for a better group of role models. :D
Oh yeah Please do another tour with Runkidrun!

K[R!ot] said...


very beautifully written. You do have purpose, and their is purpose. You guys make my world a better place. I am closer to God because of your music. I will remember your music for the rest of my life. Don't ever doubt for a second you don't have purpose because you do. Ever show I go to I see that, every show I go I smile and I know God is there. I pray you and the hawk boys every day and like Ida says I don't know what I would be with your music. You guys are awesome, and great role models. I don't just say that to anybody. I love you guys :)

Praying for you. Be Strong.

Renny said...

It makes me totally sad understanding that I'll never visit your show, Jon... Sometimes I wonder why I live so far from the USA, so far from such wonderful bands and their shows I'll never see... But it makes me much more happier thinking about a lot of people that were at your shows, sang with you, danced with you... And they became a little bit happier that day.
It's a great feeling - to know that somewhere in the world exist such GOOD (really good! I feel it! :) )people as you.

Your band has a great mission - to make people happy. Even on the other continents. Thank you soooo much.
God bless you all :)

christena said...

very well written blog, Jon. I have seen you in concert 5 times, and every single time impacts my life. your show is really fun and energetic, yet inspiring at the same time. i REALLY want to go to the show in Grand Rapids, but it's on a school night, and I'm seeing Underoath like 2 days before that. my parents think that i have been going to way to many concerts lately, so i doubt i'll get to go :(

btw, i finally got Live Life Loud in the mail today. I LOVE IT!!! really nice job

A friend said...

I have no idea if you read the comments and if you do i want you to know how much your music, well all your music means to me! If you have changed one life that could be enough! there are so many people in this world that are trying to find there perpose! I think that if you have the ppower to change one life that is pretty increatable! I want to be a christian artist like you and i play bass and sing. I wish there was a way for me to change a life now! I know my time will come and for now i will have to go with touching the lifes of people around me! And your time to find out what your perpose is will come and maybe has passed without you knowing it! God will direct you! And please remember that to the world you are on e person but to one person you are the world.God blesss you guys!

Karen Mac said...

That is an impressive list that involked a rush of wonderful memories. Thanks, Jon!

Hope said...

I am really late at reading this, but I have to say that you and Hawk and so many other Christian bands, like TFK, touch my life on a daily basis. I am so blessed to have y'all's music on my iPod and in my CD case. There have been many times where I have felt like crap and turned you guys on and have been encouraged and uplifted. I just read your post "The Mountains and The Valley" I was really blessed by it! My dad is having our internet cut off for a while, and I will truly miss reading your blog! *sinff, sniff* Hopefully my mom will take us to the library soon so I won't miss your blog too long. Thank you for what you do, I pray God will bless you greatly! Just know that you have touched my life, and I am so thankful!

In Him,
Hope (aka BIG Hawk fan)

Britney said...

ou forgot that on the 2007 baseball tour a current affair played some shows.

Anonymous said...

you forgot Rockin' Worship Roadshow! Saw ya guys there!! (loved it...) XD