Monday, November 24, 2014

Concert Thoughts: John Mark McMillan in Dallas

This was one of my highly anticipated concerts/worship nights this year. I couldn't wait for John Mark McMillan to get here. This man is different, real, an incredible songwriter, and creative musician. I was ready for something different. I was not disappointed!

The "We are All Animals" tour started out with Justin Jarvis (New artist with the Jesus Culture label). It sounded like Justin had some sound issues starting out because he was a little pitchy, but as the sound got fixed, he seemed to settle in. His last two songs were great including Heaven's Light. His live album Atmospheres put out through Jesus Culture is here.

With his band that looked like they had just jumped out of a 70's movie, John Mark McMullan took the stage with confidence and a cry for us to lay down our guns. Starting with the song Guns/Napoleon, he clutched his fist and waved it at the crowd. From the first note, I realized that JMM had an agenda of what he wanted to communicate - our need for God.

"I am handing down my armor. I am landing on my sword. On the brink of kingdom come. I am standing in a flood of everything I ever was and I am laying down my guns."

With a bear on one side of the stage glowing in the dark, we saw the power of the animals, but really our vulnerability in our own strength, and our need for surrender over and over again throughout the night.

Borderland, John Mark's latest album, is an incredible mix of songs - with music from different influences, different messages, and different genres. It doesn't disappoint as the best John Mark McMullan project to date with something for everyone from rock, blues, folk, and worship. Download Borderland here.

I had spent the last couple weeks listening to the Borderland Sessions - Commentary from JMM on each song and acoustic or different arrangements of the songs with special guests from Kim Walker-Smith, Bear Rinehart, Brady Toops, and his wife Sarah McMullan. I love this project and I learned so much about each song. I appreciated his honesty about Future/Past, Holy Ghost, Monsters Talk and others as he shared his thoughts behind the writing.  Download Borderland Sessions here.


Here is my top 3 moments of the night:

#3 Dancing to Borderland and watching the guys dance around the stage

#2 Worshipping with Future/Past, Heart Runs, Counting On, and Skeleton Bones.

#1 Singing Holy Ghost with other brave souls at the top of my lungs.

The Crowd at The Prophet Bar in Dallas
(Note: I will talk about the end of the night for just a second. As much as I loved JMM, his encore was lacking. My teenager was laughing as he and his guitar player came out to the front of the stage with no microphones and started playing something that no one could hear. Eventually he want into a crowd singing version of his worship hit How He Loves and then went into Medicine and Monster Talks to end the night. Our group wasn't a huge fan of the encore or the encore song choices, but the rest of the night was so good that we couldn't complain.)
The best part about John Mark was he ministered. In his nerdy intellectual creative expressions, he communicated to everyone at the Prophet Bar his need for a savior, his journey to constantly come back to the Father, and the reason why we need HIM. I so appreciated his heart to not just share his songs, but his heart for Jesus as well.
Thank you, John Mark, for doing everything you could to come to Dallas. We so appreciate all of you. We will see you back soon.
John Mark McMullan - Future/Past (from Borderland)
 John Mark McMullan - Holy Ghost - Acoustic in New Zealand

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