Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Brianfest - the concert - at last

We spent the hour before the concert at a nearby apartment, eating pizza, drinking coke and praying about the event. We walked over to the field at about 7:45, arranged for the groundsmen to turn off the pitch floodlights as soon as I had finished making the introductions, and then we went up on to the stage. I said a few thankyous to all the people who had made the event possible, all the volunteers and the crew, and then handed over to Brian and the band.

Here's the set list...

Come now is the time to worship
I lift my eyes up
Your love will find me
Triune God
Creation calls
Psalm 13 (How long O Lord)
Go on loving you
Your faithfulness
You are my home
Light the fire again


Lifted (instrumental by Brian T)
Come and fill me up
Our Father in Heaven
Holy God
You surround me
When you shepherd me
The river
Hope of the nations

You shine
Hallelujah (Your love is amazing)
Stay (Orphans Song)

It was just amazing. I still can't believe we pulled it off. Not one single thing went wrong. There were no equipment malfunctions, no power problems, no injuries, no complaints from the police - nothing! Brian and the band were absolutely outstanding - they played brilliantly, and there was definitely an extra edge in their playing that night. It seemed that Peter had more of a groove going on the bass, Eran on the drums was playing so fluidly, Brian T pulled off some fantastic jazz/fusion solos and was conjuring up shimmering textures and rhythms, Philip on keys held the whole thing together and sang some great falsetto harmonies, and Brian D's voice and acoustic guitar were the icing on the cake. James spent more time playing the Duduk than he anticipated, and he told me afterwards that rather than playing to the crowd, he felt that he was playing for all the people watching from the balconies of the apartment buildings surrounding the field. He wanted to give the music a more eastern flavour and provide a point of contact between the eastern and and western cultures - to allow the Egyptians watching to find a thread of familiarity in the music.

The sound was outstanding, the lights were magnificent and the crowd loved every minute of it. Gordon had put together a whole sequence of visuals with lyrics for every song on a mixture of still and video backgrounds, and it really helped us understand the significance of the music. It was an amazing concert, but because Brian's material is all worship songs, the spiritual dimension of the event was really well defined. It was unmistakably all about God and not about the band or the crowd.

There were many non-church people in the crowd, and the feedback we got from them was overwhelmingly good - it rocked!

Cat poo coffee

A friend of ours has just returned from Vietnam and brought back with him a very special blend of coffee - the legendary "ca phe cut chon", meaning Fox Dung Coffee, also known as Weasel Coffee, which is derived (literally) from the civet cat (cat, fox, weasel, whatever). This cat is actually a relative of the mongoose and it eats the local Robusta coffee beans from the lower branches of the coffee tree and poos out the best (or most sturdy) beans that manage to remain intact after their journey through the cat's digestive tract. Then lucky people inspect the ground and collect the poo. The beans are cleaned and roasted and sold. Not cheap stuff!

So how was this cat poo coffee? Absolutely delicious!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Amazing guitar duet!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Brianfest setup pictures

It's happening...


Backline (the drums sounded better than they looked).

The view from the stage.

The EV line arrays! And Martin side fills, which we didn't use in the end.


Magdy - couldn't have done it without him.

And all without a safety net!

The band!

Lights, sound, tent, carpets, screens, musicians.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Brianfest Day 4 concert set-up

The workshops went down a treat. I sat in on the last one that Brian did where we spent an hour with three local worship leaders who talked about their prayers for this nation, what they feel God is doing here and their dreams for the future.

After the workshops were finished I took Terry the sound engineer up to the field where we found a much more encouraging picture taking place. The sound and light engineers were on site, the sound system was all set up, and so it was time for Terry to start doing his thing. All afternoon he tweaked and tuned. One magic moment for me was standing at the sound desk and hearing "I did it" by the Dave Matthews Band come pouring out of the line arrays and subs as clean and clear as it is through my own desktop monitor speakers, only about four hundred times the volume. It made me smile.

Through the afternoon we worked, setting up the field. The chairs arrived, the drinks arrived, the stewards came to help with the fetching and carrying. Merchandise (CDs and t-shirts), ticket tables, the hot dog guy, the popcorn machine, power cables, projectors, screens, a better kick drum pedal, better drum stool, guitar stands, music stands and finally, some musicians at about 4:30pm.

By this time the lighting rig was nearly up and being tested, the tenting had been adjusted so the backdrop was straight, the intercessors had been round several times preparing the ground spiritually, and the whole system had been EQ'd, including the monitors. Terry was saying things like "Take a little bit of the 33.1K out of the BV wedges", with a couple of our sound guys watching and taking notes - what a great opportunity for them.

Once the band arrived and set up their instruments then the sound check was under way. The sun was beginning to get low, and we were starting to have some idea of how things would look for the concert. The lights were spooled up again and put through their paces, and I was finally beginning to relax and think "It's all going to be ok!"

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Legit for another year!

Brianfest Day 4

I was up and about at seven o clock, collecting a pick-up truck from a friend and then we headed over to the church to collect a load of stuff. This morning Brian and co were offering workshops for worshipers at the school. We tented over the playground to shade it from the sun, set out a hundred plush red chairs. We also set up a small sound system with mics and monitors, and all the instruments for the band. The workshops went really well. Brian started of by giving a session about the Biblical view of worship, then he offered a session on songwriting while the rest of the band did a "band dynamics" workshop. For the third session, all the band members went off to individual rooms and gave clinics for their instruments, except for Philip who led a great workshop on vocal technique.

Meantime I was nipping up to the field every now and then to check progress. This is what I found the first time...

Yup, kids playing football and not an engineer to be found.