Our first Winter Jam experience
26 February 2011

1st twitter post of the night:
Speak the truth in love....some people do NOT know how to do that. :(

Standing in the VIP Passholders line...a friend of Josh's came over to stand next to us...the lady behind us kept making comments like "back of the line!"  "BACK OF THE LINE!" and then when those exclamations went unheeded: 
"Is that the Christian thing to do?"
I know she was right in what she was saying (it wouldn't have been fair for the friend to stay with us since so many had been waiting longer)...but her tone of voice and attitude was so bitter.  She hadn't even given the young person time to decide what to do before she'd started running her mouth.  I wanted to turn around and ask her if her attitude was a Christian way of treating people...but I didn't.  Some people simply just don't know how to love unconditionally.  *sighs*

Aside from that unpleasant exchange, our waiting was pretty boring, but less than an hour before we walked through the doors, got our t-shirts and lanyards and found awesome seats!  : )
(click on the pics to see them larger)
taking our place at the back of the line
finally at the entrance
Josh (gray jacket in mid 2nd row) at our seats
general doors are opened, the flood begins
Twitter:  Sitting in the arena...waiting for winter jam to start...suddenly SO exhausted...

The photographer in me was very happy to be centered with the stage and having a clear shot.  We were in the second row in our section.  I was also happy that Josh's friend and her family were able to sit with us even though we hadn't been at the same place in line.
While we were waiting, though, the adrenaline that had built up during the previous hours of getting to OKC, checking into our hotel room and making our way to the Arena was pretty much gone.  I could relax and suddenly it seemed I had no energy left.  
That was about to change.  ; )
loving being in the middle
filling up during the preshow
Twitter: JASON CASTRO!! Woohooo! :D

I had forgotten that Jason Castro was gonna be there!  I love his music.  His song "You Are" has become one of my life theme songs.  : )  Perfect start to what would be a fabulous evening!  : )
Chris August now...pretty cool. : ) Gonna try to meet Jason Castro after the concert... : )

I should have paid more attention to the whole list of artists performing that night...but since I hadn't, each unexpected surprise was comparable to the joy of Christmas morn.
Twitter:  C.A.'s song 'i love candy'...you HAVE to hear it!! Crackin me up!!!

Another surprise!  Chris had his cd on sale and as a special bonus for concert-goers, he made his "Candy Wrap" available for download!  : )
Twitter:  The boys wanna meet CA too...we're gonna be here all night! "Red too"...josh just said...OY! ; )

LOL!  Each artist that performed mentioned their merchandise tables and opportunities to meet them and get their autographs.  I knew it was going to be a LONG night for us!  ; )
Twitter:  Text the word "uncover" to 31452 for daily doses of Truth.

Several times during the show there was mention of their "uncover" ministry.  I followed the instructions to receive daily scripture verses via text to my phone.  It's been pretty neat to get that daily reminder of God's Love for us.  : )
Twitter:  SIDEWALK PROPHETS! Best new artists...YEAH!

I hadn't seen the Dove Awards so hadn't realized they'd won the award for Best New Artists.  That was exciting to hear!  So happy for them! : )
Twitter:  Side walk p...their song "you love me anyway" just made me cry. Now singing the song i used for will's grad video...im a mess...lol

I love their music...and the video clips they showed with their song "You Love Me Anyway" was very moving.  Beautiful.  And, of course, when they went into "The Words I would Say" it reminded me how much I wished William could have been there with us.  I had to text him right then to tell him so.  : )
There was a small stage behind our section which some of the night's speakers used.  At this time KJ52 was introduced, as were a few radio personalities from The House and Air1 radio stations (K-Love was mentioned too), a representative for One (an organization fighting against extreme poverty and preventable diseases), and the tour pastor who led us in prayer.
Twitter:  Oh my! Headbanger music!!! RED is in the house...and they have FIRE!!! Josh is happy LOL

LOL!  Next up was the band Red.  I knew they were gonna be there...and wasn't sure how I would handle it.  Their style of music is not my favorite, but the boys love them, so I was willing to give it a whirl.  ; )
introducing KJ52
Truth sharing & prayer time
Twitter:  My ears will never be the same!! LOL

"THEY HAD FIRE!" Josh said with a big cheesy grin! :D

I enjoyed their performance more than I expected I would.  The smoke plumes and fire cannons were a surprise and that kept me focused on trying to capture them on my camera.  ; )
Twitter:  Newsong time!! Woop woop! And a surprise confetti shower! : )

NewSong is the host band of the Winter Jam tour.  If I understand correctly, it was their idea to have this major tour, making Christian music available to the widest audience possible (thus the 10 bands for 10 bucks concept).  We enjoyed every moment...but having the surprise confetti shower was hysterical!  We were right in front of the cannons (you can see the cones in some of my pics) and it seemed to go on forever!  We were absolutely covered...and thrilled...SO FUN!  : )
Jason Castro
Chris August
Chris August
Sidewalk Prophets
Sidewalk Prophets
Sidewalk Prophets
Sidewalk Prophets
smoke plumes during Red's first song
the fire cannons were a surprise
Red's lead singer liked to jump off stuff
audience waving their cell phones in the air
our seats were covered
confetti closeup
guitarist from CA
(unused to southern comforts which, when listed, got a lot of "awws" from the crowd)
guitarist from CA
self-taught "Sweet Home Alabama"  : )
had the crowd roaring!  LOL
NewSong's sparkling finale
Twitter:  Francesca Battestelli!! YES! :D
She was one of the ones I was most looking forward to seeing.  : ) 
LOVE LOVE LOVE that song!
Twitter:  Dedicating "angel by your side"
to all my dear ones haunted by illness, death...betrayal...depression...loneliness...
Twitter:  David Crowder's next...and now someone has to go potty!

I loved our seats...except for one fact...we were in the middle of the second row and it was REALLY  difficult to get in and out for any reason.  Next time, we need to be on the front row of whatever section we end up in!
After NewSong's set, Dave (from Sidewalk Prophets) took the small stage behind us and talked for a bit, sharing Truth and encouragement.  Then KJ52 returned with a handful of youth leaders who flung t-shirts into the crowd.
Tony Nolan spoke next.  His personal story was very moving and inspiring.  He calls Satan the "hurt dealer" and Christ the "hurt healer".  He has a book out called The Hurt Healer and I can hardly wait to read it!  : )
Twitter:  We didnt miss dc&band...woohoo!

I was very glad that we were able to get back to our seats fairly quickly and were still able to see most of the David Crowder Band's set.  : )  He's quite a character!  LOL
Twitter:  Anna would love this...David Crowder stomping around in his Converse        shoes!! :D
Twitter:  "Love like you've never hurt before" --Newsboys

saw that on a poster or t-shirt at the Newsboys' merchandise table...had to share  : )
Twitter:  Holt International...I need to look into this deeper. Kids need help.

They shared with us the story of Holt International.  They are an International adoption agency and they are in need of people willing to fund the support of individual orphans who are waiting for families. 
Twitter:  Time for Kutless : ) "oh God let us be a generation that seeks..seeks Your face...o God of Jacob.."
Next up was the Newsboys!  I was prepared for them to come in from the back when I saw a videographer positioning himself, but I was still surprised when suddenly, there was Duncan and Michael RIGHT THERE!  LOL! 
I tried to get a picture but it was too dark and the opportunity was gone so quick!  
Twitter:  Newsboys are rockin it! :D Loving worshiping with them

That was my last tweet during the concert.  It was a beautiful mix of sweet worship and rockin with new tunes as well as old-school newsboys tunes with some unexpected stunts thrown in for good measure.  Then there was that fabulous finale singing DC Talk's "Jesus Freak" (with KJ52 singing TobyMac's part) and the hoped-for Duncan spin!  LOVED. IT. ALL!
Duncan is already up in the skinny stage and Michael is a bit blurry.  Both are wearing black suits.
The drummer & lead singer took the skinny stage while the keyboardist and guitarist arrived on moving stages above the audience.
Tony Nolan and Chris August took the small stage behind us again.  We were given the opportunity to donate $ to offset the rising costs associated with putting on a tour of this magnitude.  Everyone wants to keep the price at $10 so that as many people can attend as possible.  Chris played beautiful music while the offerings were collected.
After the newsboys' set, we were introduced to a young man who is an active encourager to those on the WinterJam tour.  He was one of those blessed by Holt International when he was in desperate need. 
His story was very moving.
After all was said and done, everyone, it seemed, had the same idea...to get to the merchandise tables and meet the stars!  This was by far the most chaotic crowd I've ever experienced, but instead of anxiety I had a calm peace that could only come from my Father God.  <3
The crowd was so thick, and with so many trying to go all sorts of different directions, it was VERY difficult to maneuver to where we wanted to be.  It took us a long time and quite a struggle but we finally made it to Red's table.  I think this was Josh's favorite part of the night.  : )
They signed his cd and his ipod.  LOL!
Trying to meet everyone was a struggle and the lines were long.  So some I had to settle for just snapping a pic as we made our way past.
I would have loved meeting David Crowder and his band, they are hilarious characters!
"say cheese!"
We were happy to meet the band Sidewalk Prophets.  I loved sharing with them that I'd used their song, "Words I Would Say" for William's graduation video...and thanking them for sharing their wonderful music.  They signed my cd and also the back of Connor's tour shirt: )
We were disappointed at the break to find that Jason Castro and Chris August were both gone.  We tried again at the end of the night and were pleased to find Chris back at his merchandise table.  He signed the cd we'd already purchased earlier that night.  By this time everyone seemed so exhausted, but he was willing to pose for photos anyway.  God bless him.  : )
Rushing around trying to catch the artists before they disappeared was a serious challenge.  We were disappointed to have missed Jason Castro, Francesca Battistelli and NewSong.  We tried to go back to see if we could catch the tail end of the David Crowder band's line but they were already packed up by the time we made it back to them.  :(
We saved the newsboys for last...because they had declared they would not leave the building until everyone who wanted an autograph got one.  However, by the time we made it to them, the line was SO very long!  We kept walking and walking and never saw the end of it before we decided we were too exhausted to wait that long.  Connor found a place to sit down and wait for us as we went back to snap a shot of the band as they worked.  I was impressed with their kindness and determination to make every single fan feel appreciated.  Josh's friend later told us that she waited in that line...and it was 2am before they left!  This band is serious when they say the love their fans!  : )
Goodbye Winter Jam 2011~~we had an amazing time!
Praying we get to experience Winter Jam 2012  <3
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