think I took in this concert with Mark and Chris, but it's been so long now I'm fuzzy on that, or on who else might have been with us. Maybe Tim Gonzalez....This Train:
I Saw The LightMitch McVicker and the Kid Brothers of Saint Frank:
Mimes of the Old West
A Million Years
Here and NowA Ragamuffin Band:
Take Hold of Me
The Lemonade Song
Nothing But The Blood (Rich Mullins, recorded intro)
Surely God Is With Us
You Did Not Have A Home
Hard To Get
Man of No Reputation
Here In America
Hold Me Jesus
If I Stand
Calling Out Your Name
I See You
That Where I Am There You...
Sometimes By Step
Tim Francis' South Bend review
as posted to the Ragamuffin Mailing List
Subject: [ragamuffin] South Bend Concert
From: Tim Francis
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 21:07:36 EST
It was a cool, crisp, autumn evening. The moon was a sliver of silver as it hung over the campus of St. Mary's College and shone on the flocks of raggamuffins making their way to see their band at O'Laughlin Auditorium in South Bend, Indiana.
The night began at about ten minutes after 7 pm when This Train took the stage. Mark Robertson, with shoes as red as his bass, warned that sometimes they were accused of playing too loud. So they decided to start off with an old hymn. They proceeded to rock the house with I Saw the Light. Jordan had to make several volume adjustments to get things up to the usual This Train sound level, but by the time his lead rolled around he was wailing, doing his trademark split while cranking out a flawless, screaming lead. Next up was Mimes of the Old West. Mark said they made 2 critical errors with this particular song. One was they figured there were only 4 or 5 mimes in the country. The other was that anyone who goes around in public wearing black tights has a sense of humor. But it seems there are thousands and they don't seem to have a sense of humor about this song. Mark introduced the next song as a song that was very special to them. He said they never used to play it live because the lyrics were so heartfelt and sensitive that it under minded everything else they did! Then they played a beautiful rendition of a song Mark co-wrote with Rich Mullins : A Million Years. Keeping with the sensitive theme, as Mark said, they closed with Monster Truck. Mark's well meant, but failed proposal to a past girl friend. Classic This Train!
After a break of less than 5 minutes Mark came back out to introduce Mitch McVicker and the Kid Brothers of Saint Frank. He talked briefly about the accident and about losing Rich, and how we almost lost Mitch. He shared that Mitch is a walking miracle and a testimony to God's grace. It is a miracle that Mitch can stand and breathe, let alone play music and sing. I would have to agree. God is awesome.
Mitch opened with a different version of Here and Now. A conga intro laced with acoustic guitar licks and a few pauses and time changes during the song that were not part of the CD version. It was great. Then with Eric Hauck on the cello and Michael Aukofer on the hammered dulcimer they played Freedom. (Another great cut from Mitch's CD released independently this past summer) Next up was Take Hold of Me on which Mitch broke a string right at the beginning, but he was still able to pull off a good version of the song. Mitch then put his guitar down and picked up Rick Elias's guitar saying, "I hope Rick doesn't mind if I play his guitar. It's a lot nicer than the one I got.......It has more strings." After the laughter subsided, Mitch added, "...but more strings gives me a chance to make more errors." When Mitch introduced Eric and Michael I noticed that Eric had on the same racing T-shirt that he bought in Indy the first week of September. It was at that show they joked of changing clothes every couple of weeks or so. And I wondered........ Mitch closed with that stupid little profound song we all love, The Lemonade Song. Michael did a great job of punctuating Mitch's rhythm with the washboard and a tin can.
After another very short break the Raggamuffin band came out on stage and Rich's haunting hammered dulcimer echoed through the hall playing Nothing But the Blood of Jesus from the Jesus Record. The Raggamuffins opened with My Deliverer which instantly had everyone on their feet where they remained for sometime until Rick Elias suggested they sit down so they don't wear themselves out. Mark Robertson took the lead on the next song, Surely God Is With Us. Then Rick and Mark shared vocals on You Did Not Have a Home. Mark spoke of remembering playing at the auditorium with Rich in the Fall of 95. Rick couldn't remember the things the others did. Mark, in mock jealousy prodded, "That's because you had to leave the tour and go off and make a movie with Mr. Tom Hanks!" After further joking with the crowd Rick stepped back and introduced the next song with all kidding aside. It was Hard To Get. This song brought tears to some eyes. The version we heard that night was unlike anything I've ever heard. It really stood out for me. There was sort of a breathtaking, heavenly, airiness that seemed to grip me throughout that song. It is difficult to explain. The Kid Brothers came back out and joined the Raggamuffins as Rick sang Man of No Reputation. There was then another short break.
During the break a table and some plastic cups were carried out and, upon return, Mark, Mitch, Aaron, and Eric did the "cup thing" for screen door. Eric lost a cup, but quickly scooped it up and fell right back into step. Rick said, "It's kind of like one of those old Johnny Carson monologues. The more they mess it up the better it is." Then the Raggamuffins picked up their other instruments and with Michael Aukofer on the accordion they opened the second set with Here in America. Rick couldn't hit the high notes and after wondered aloud how Rich was able to hit those. But he said "that's the beauty of being a raggamuffin, you don't have to apologize for stinking." Jimmy Abeg then announced that we were going to have church from here on out. The crowd then helped Jimmy sing through Hold Me Jesus. It was beautiful. Eric did a great job on the cello on that song too. It was strange to hear these songs with the Raggamuffins and without Rich. Yet the empty hole that Rich left seemed to fill with the presence of God. Again, this is difficult to put into the words we use here on earth. After the band was introduced Aaron came out from behind the drums and sang "If I Stand". As the intro played Aaron quoted scripture and then sang straight from his heart. He was so into the song his body moved as if he was playing the drums a bit while singing. This was also a very moving time. Mitch came out to help with backing vocals on that one and took the lead on the next song. As Michael hit the beginning notes on the hammered dulcimer I knew we were in for a real treat. Mitch did a great job on Calling Out Your Name. Really making it his own I thought. Aaron then pounded out the intro to I See You while Aukofer ran backstage to get his sticks. The audience echoed back the lyrics and Jimmy A. flew on guitar. I thought I was going to see him lift right up off the stage. Next came the anthem. Mark Robertson (and everyone else) sang Awesome God. Then Rick shouted and screamed his beliefs with us on I Believe. The Raggamuffins left the stage and then came back out and did a song Mark said they never even attempted as a full band before. He said Indy was the victim of the rehearsal. Referring to That Where I Am There You ... Sure to become a classic praise song, if it isn't already. Rick took the time to keep the song going and teach us this one, although many were familiar with it. The audience then helped Rick through Sometimes by Step. And they closed the concert with a prayerful rendition of the Doxology as they left the stage one by one with Jimmy A. lingering in the blue light at the end.
I was impressed by the unity I saw among the bands and their humbleness of heart. Before my wife and I could get down from the balcony Mitch and Mark were already out at the tables patiently signing autographs. While Mark signed my CD I heard him explain to someone why he was without his stand up bass. He played only electric bass all night. He said he kind of broke it and it's being glued back together again. That's my third bass this year he said, seeming surprised himself. During the show Mark talked about how this tour started of as something for the fans, but it had for them, turned into an experience of falling in love with God all over again. As we drove home we felt that we had been brought closer to God and we thanked Him for His goodness.
From: Joel Thomas
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 10:37:28
Subject: TT well, here goes.....
well, last nite, i saw the South Bend stop of the Homeless Man Tour. kudos to all of them, the show was great. and it raised money for a good cause, a local Down's Syndrome foundation. because of some work selling the tickets and such, i had backstage passes and was able to hang out with some of the Rags for awhile before the show, and it was a lot of fun. please do keep these guys in prayers, whomever posted earlier wasn't kidding when they said that Jimmy Abegg is high on Theraflu. my buddy walker was along, and appreciates all the music of those there but didn't really know much about it/them until last nite. well, walker's an art student, and before i know it i'm standing there while he and JimmyA (of whom even i don't know all he's done, but i know it's a heck of a lot) are discussing painting and various other art forms. then Mark comes up and i mention that i'm on the list, and he's like "oops, i think i'm unsubscribed or something from aol." apparently when he moved from chicago to nashville they totally unsubscribed the account, from what i could gather. just thought i'd throw that in in case anyone's been trying desperately to email and hasn't gotten through, that would be why.
the other guys i met, Rick, Aaron, and Mitch, were also extremely friendly, down to earth, and really were totally humbled to be there. that sort of set the tone for the whole show for me. This Train played first, not much more to say there. awesome stuff. then mitch played, and i'd heard him before at an outdoor show earlier this summer, but this time i was really blown away. wow. poor guy broke a string during one song so had to steal rick's guitar to play "the lemonade song." then of course the Ragamuffins played, and it was just an incredible time of worship. Rick's voice kinda went on the fritz towards the end, but it was so much a church atmosphere the second half of their set. the first half was songs of the Jesus Record, which was incredible itself, then they took a break and started the second half with "Submarine" which included Mark, Aaron, Mitch, and one other of them (help me out here, Patti) playing the notorious Cup Game, of which i got several pictures. actually i got some pretty good pictures all through the nite, i think, we'll see for sure when they develop. then they did a song or two more and then just totally went into "one big church worship service" mode. i needed this. just a very moving experience.
if you are anywhere near one of the stops of the Homeless Man Tour, GO! i don't care if or how many times you've seen any of these guys, it is so so incredible and lifting.