A few nights ago I went with friends to see The Lion King Musical in Sydney.
This was the first professional musical I’ve been to since I was about six years old. The whole show was spectacular and amazing, especially the set and prop design. Additionally a kiwi in one of the lead roles was a highlight when the group I was with were mostly Australian.
The show runs until mid August, and is well worth seeing.
I just got home from seeing the movie adaptation of Under The Mountain. It is a must see. It remains very true to the book with only a few minor changes (such as the age of the twins). The entire production is top notch, the acting and cast is perfect, the special effects state of the art (thanks Weta Workshops) and it is great to see such a good kiwi film. I will note that the film, while based on a kids book, is rated M, it is not over the top scary. But it is scary enough that it would easily upset some kids (even some adults jumped in parts of it). It would be the best kiwi film since Out of the Blue.
I saw Michael Jackson’s This Is It film last night.
I believe it puts to rest any questions about the King of Pop’s creative talent or health issues. He still had it. While he was thin he was healthy enough to out dance and many of the younger back up dances and demand perfection on every beat and note of every song.
The film shows just how spectacular the concerts would have been. Combine Pink Floyd’s The Wall dramatic concerts with U2’s 60m LED Curtin from their Vertigo tour and that will give you an idea of just how much more than music concert This Is It would have been live.
This Is It runs for two hours and does not miss a beat it is so much more than just a film of a dress rehershal, we are fortunate that the practices were filmed on multiple days from multiple angles. All of this comes together fantastically, in addition to this a number of videos that would have been used on the LED screens during the concert are included as well as behind the scenes footage.
Even if you have just a passing interest in Michael Jackson this is a film to see. It was a pity that NZ audiences are so quiet, the film got a clap from about half the audience at the end, however, I am sure that in some places you would have people dancing in the isles.
This was my first Parachute as a twenty-something year old and not a teenager. And yes you do notice the age difference.
Having said that it was probably the most enjoyable Parachute that I have been to.
It wasn’t the biggest or best Parachute as far as the band line up goes.
However it was the Parachute that I have got the most into. The one that I have had the most fun at. And the one that I have been myself the most at.From arriving on Friday not knowing where my mates were tenting, through to chilling with newly made friends. From being crushed in moshpits to having full on moments with God at Kutless and The Ember Days.
Will I go again next year? Well I didn’t buy my ticket in advance despite the great price ($99, instead of the $150+). I will wait to see who is playing and see what else I am doing at the time.
But this past weekend has been what I needed. I needed to find myself again and I did. I needed to be myself again and I did. I needed to rest in God and I did.
This past weekend hasn’t made me a better person. But it has reignited my fire for God. I feel physically tired but spritiuality I have just been woken up.
I awoke at 6.40am on Monday morning and snoozed until 8am.
Like the previous days I went to the morning meeting but only stayed for the worship. I had planned to listen to the speaker but the sun was intensely hot, I was very tired, and wanted to hang with my mates before they packed up and headed off to other parts of the country.
At the morning service they asked how many people there had been up all night. Apparently the Village had remained packed until 2am and was still going strong at 5am. The best I have done at Parachute is around 3 or 4 in the morning. This year I was a bit more of an oldie and went to bed at 1am each night.
While I hung out I packed up my stuff and hauled gear back to my car over a number of trips over a period of about three hours. I had to laugh at my car when I saw it. Sunday afternoon had been very windy and because it has been so hot over the past few weeks the ground was very dry. So my car had become covered in dust. And not a little bit dirty I mean coated absolutely coated in dust, it was no longer black but more like brownish grey.
Once I had loaded up my car I went back to the Mainstage to see Late 80s Mercedes play the last act of the festival. Like Friday they went off, probably even more so on the hot Monday afternoon. Being the last band on allowed them to go longer than their advertised 30 minutes and in the end they managed to get all the people from backstage dancing on the stage and everyone still around having a great little boogie to Elemeno P, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Evermore, and Bon Jovi covers, which reminded me of how The Lads had closed out Parachute back in 2003.
After Late 80s left the stage the MCs came out for the last time and gave away all their left over CDs and T-Shirts. I managed to score a Casting Crowns live DVD after the case separated in mid-air and I caught part of it and other people handled me the rest of the broken case.
The trip back to Auckland was good, traffic wasn’t that bad.
On the way back I decided to take my time and drive through Hamilton. They have built some new roads to handle the highway traffic with these epic two lane, five road round-a-bouts every so often, which I am sure will confuse everyone as they are not well signed posted and confusing. I almost ended up on the Raglan Road instead of State Highway one after getting into the wrong lane.
Just north of Te Rapa this awesome cloud formed in the sky (see below), I am still trying to find out what it was, but I believe it may be a Horizontal Arc, pretty much a reflection of the sun in very high cloud often seen in advance of a rain storm (it showed the next day).
Once I hit the Auckland Motorway the traffic became quite heavy and slow going, probably costing me around half an hour of extra time, but overall my trip back to Auckland was still faster than my trip down, taking around two hours ten minutes.
When I got home the cleaning began, until my washing machine decided to die on the third load, I think it got over hot or something, had to take a whole lot of wet clothes out of it and let them drip dry. Also I discovered I had a sunburnt hand…
And for another year Parachute was over, but this is not the last blog, the final one will a summary of thoughts on the weekend.
After Kutless finished up I raced off to the Mainstage to see the second half of The Ember Days set. At this point I bumped into some friends from my church, just as they asked people to pray for the person next to them. Having just come across from the worship that ended the Kutless gig I was completely amped and just launched into prayer for my mates, something I rarely and often struggle to do in other circumstances.
Magnify followed The Ember Days and went off! They finished off their set with Brad Dring from Rapture Ruckus joining them on stage to perform Blown Away and with a few minutes remaining Ric Knott let Rapture lose to do some freestyle rapping/worship, it was unique and awesome. It was also cool to have Ric Knott tell the crowd to go and buy The Ember Days CD because “That was just awesome”.
Following this I decided to sort out dinner. However, as I walked away from the Mainstage I was stopped as three 14 year old kids took to the stage to perform a song. “The Israelites” had played earlier in the day on the Debut stage and were so good they got invited to perform on the Mainstage between acts. The kids may have been only 14 but they were something special, The Israelites took to the stage with no anxiety, no fear and just ripped it up, watch out for these guys in the future.
David Crowder Band took to the stage at 9.20pm and I was in my usual spot about five rows from the front right in the middle. As expected they were just awesome and they even remembered to bring their modified Guitar Hero guitar and played it on stage during a song.
Parachute should definitely bring David Crowder Band back for another year. They are one of those worship bands that everyone connects with and some special happens when they play. Words just cannot describe the experience.
After David Crowder I waited anxiously in the moshpit for Casting Crowns, not exactly knowing what to expect. The only song of theirs that I knew was Lifesong, and that is what they opened up their set with.
Luckily for me Sunday night is the worship night at Parachute so the lyrics are placed on the video screens. Most of Casting Crowns songs I had vaguely heard before, but what surprised me was the number of people who knew their songs off by heart. In a way it just shows you what going to an alternative church that mostly uses their own songs does for you. Te he.
Casting Crowns were a lot like Third Day and personally after David Crowder Band I would have preferred someone like Chris Tomlin. Having said that by the end of their set Casting Crowns had won me over with an awesome cover of Hillsong’s My Redeemer lives (which was slightly funny because the one song I knew, no one else around me knew, and the song isn’t that old), and a wicked drum solo.
And after that my night was over. I had listened to music for almost eight hours straight, running between stages as quickly as I could stopping only to hydrate and eat so I could keep going some more. But it was worth it, probably the best day I have ever had at a Parachute Festival.
Kutless played their second gig for the weekend in the Palladium at 5.50pm on Sunday. Like Family Force Five on Friday night they played a better gig on the smaller stage. For this set Kutless played mostly older songs from their first three albums.
Kutless’s performance would equal one of the best that I have ever seen at Parachute. No amount of melodramatic words can describe how awesome it was. God really showed up at the gig and the final song, Better Is One Day just encapsulated the feeling of the entire hour’s performance.
At 1.20pm I headed off to the Deluxe Stage to see Shooting Stars play. And so did everyone else at Parachute. We arrived about five minutes before they were to take the stage and the crowds were already overflowing, we squeezed in the back while many people were left outside in the boiling hot sun.
After Shooting Stars I went to the Massive stage to see Rapture Ruckus perform for the third time during the weekend. This time Rapture performed a number of his older songs, and a brilliant version of Thank You which is written to his mum, who happened to be at the concert and got a loud cheer when Rapture announced that too. At Rapture Ruckus I bumped into two friends from Uni who had come down for the day.
After Rapture Ruckus I headed off with my mates to the Village where I brought a Tuna Sub from Subway for lunch. It was great! After chomping it down I went back to the Deluxe to see Trigger Theory followed by Arms Reach perform.
Arms Reach were the winners of the Wildcard Competition and had played on the Mainstage on Friday night. They are a great up and coming band, their music is a lot of fun and reminds me of Switchfoot in their early days.
Juliagrace followed Arms Reach on the Deluxe stage. The show was a good relaxed chillout and knowing most of the band members made it just that bit more cool.
The night was not as cold as the previous which meant that I slept a little easier, although I did still wear a hoodie, and this time I put it on properly. One thing that was annoying though was a lot of trucks heading down the road throughout the night. I think they were moving band equipment from the Mainstage but it was noisy and I was trying to sleep! In the end I woke at 7am and got up at 8.
Like Saturday morning I got up had breakfast and took off to the morning worship. Then it was shower time take two. Today they had realised the shower imbalance and had changed one of the sets of female showers to male. Which meant no queues. Sweet!
I spent the rest of the morning chilling at my tent as the following photos will testify.
My first band for the day was Edwin Derricutt on the Deluxe Stage at 1.10pm, Edwin is a great artist and it was a very entertaining set including audience participation and special guest artists helping out on songs. It was a great way to chill out and really begin the day.
At 2.20 was the great Kiwiana Party aka The Great Indoor Cricket Battle: The Americans (Family Force Five and Kutless) vs The Punters (randomly picked campers). It was a bad but funny idea to send The Americans into bat first. No one explained to them that cricket is not baseball. Firstly you hold the bat differently, and secondly you don’t drop it after hitting the ball. The cricket match was a great way to get out of the sun though.
About three quarters through the cricket I left to see Season Pass play. They were awesome! For a band that has not played together for more than a year and only had a few practices. Also partly because I know almost everyone in the band so it was a more personal performance than most other bands.