There’s a meme going around that encourages writing about your first concert. I have a twist on that, with a story to share. (Sorry…apparently, this story-telling thing is becoming a habit with me…)
The first concert I ever attended was Geoff Moore and the Distance, circa 1988. It was held in a way-too-packed out high school gym and it was h-o-t…Jackson, Mississippi in the summer…you get the picture. It's one of those things you had to be really young to enjoy--and I was barely 17. I went with a friend (the woman who would later earn the title of “my danger buddy” but the reasons behind that are probably better left un-shared). To be honest, I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember feeling f-e-e-l-i-n-g the drums reverberating deeply through my chest when GM&D played “A Place to Stand” and being struck by the power of “Go to the Moon?”.
I arrived late to the "crank it up loud" party of teenagerhood...my Dad was having none of that. In the heat, in a modest high school gym, I became a girl who loves to feel something from the music she loves. I had never known that sensation before and I was hooked. Instantly.
Geoff Moore and the Distance
Something happened to me that night. I became a huge fan of the band--and the man and I have followed his career for nigh, 16 years now. In fact, GM takes up more space on my CD shelf than any other artist. Geoff Moore & the Distance found a moderate amount of success in Christian music thru the 90’s. I have seen him several times thru those years and am always impressed. His thoughtfulness and artistry always amazes. He writes about life and love and grace and the important things.
In 2002 GM released an independent album without “the Distance”. It was different but still very “Geoff”. Guitars, thoughtful lyrics, gritty vocals…it’s all still there, just like in the old days, with some of that slightly aging rocker thrown in for good measure.
But wait, there’s more to this story.
In a way, it was Geoff Moore who brought Joal and I together.
Well, ok, not the man himself, but one of his concert t-shirts.
Fast-forward to 1990.
August 28 to be exact.
Joal and I were brand spanking new college freshmen.
Eighteen years old.
Two members of the freshman class of 21 total freshmen--but if our class had included 2000 people, it wouldn't have mattered. He was tall and handsome, outspoken and bold, and I would have found him anyway.
During the orientation sessions, on the second morning, I noticed him.
During lunch, I noticed his shirt. A Geoff Moore and the Distance t-shirt.
Ahh, something familiar.
He couldn’t be all bad…he’s wearing a GM&D shirt.
(Shows ya what I knew at 18...that boy was all bad.)
Following lunch, standing in the chapel of our very tiny college, he turned to me.
“Hi, I’m Joal.” he said.
“I like your shirt.” I said.
And I’m pretty sure my entire life--from that day to this--was never the same.
At some point, I must have told him my name but no one remembers that now. It was all about the boy and the shirt and good music and soulfulness. Funny how that all works together.
So yeah, I'm kindof fond of Geoff Moore and that ratty old t-shirt that still hangs in the back of Joal's closet.