This is the blog of a Christian, Husband, Father, Audio Engineer, Traveler, Musician, Outdoors man, and anything else that grabs my interest at the moment. I started this because I needed a space to write out ideas that are more than a "status update."
This tour has kept me very busy so far. Too busy to write a post here, unfortunately. David Pierce, the leader and lead singer of the band, No Longer Music, that I'm touring with, writes a blog and currently has two posts up that tell about their arrival in Istanbul and the two concerts we've had so far. Please take a look. He has better pictures than I do.
Arriving in Istanbul has definitely changed for me. The first time I showed up here, I was full
of wonder and suspicion. My eyes were
huge as I tried to take everything in.
My curiosity was overwhelming. I
also had some fear of the unknown. Over
the next few trips my suspicion and fear subsided. My wonder remained. In preparing to return I got excited, like a
kid on Christmas morning. I couldn't
sleep well before the flight. Every new experience
was like a gift to unwrap. But now...
now the experience is like walking into a different room in my own house. It's still home, but it's just
I arrived on Friday, got settled in a picked up a few
things, like cookies, that I needed to get back into the house when I return to
New York. Saturday was a little more of
the same until the band showed up. This
tour is with a band called "No Longer Music." I've heard about them because they come to
Turkey quite often, but this is my first chance to work with them. I've used a few different term to try to
describe what kind of music they perform, but until I hear more of it over the
next 9 days I can't really describe it well.
It's edgy, intense and comes with quite a stage show. It's been good
getting to know them.
Our first concert was scheduled to be here in Istanbul, but
as with all things in Turkey it wasn't definite. Since Sunday was election day, getting
permission to do a large event was difficult.
Sometimes riots break out. The
people here are actively passionate about politics in a way Americans can only
dream about. As of Half an hour
ago our concert is back on after having
been cancelled. This is a result of
perseverance and prayer, lots of prayer.
So we're about to go into our first concert with a band of
people I don't know well, and a bunch of gear that the band doesn't know
well. A lot is going to depend on grace,
patience and professionalism, and everything is going to depend on God.
This is a question I love, and dread. I love chances to talk about what's
happened. I love letting people who are
interested get a glimpse into what I've seen and how God was working. I dread the awkwardness of going into details
and then realizing someone was asking to be polite. In either case there's never enough time to
go into all the details and I have to guess what that person is interested
in. It's like me saying, "What's in
Some people will say, "It looks like some sort of
shop." Others might be drawn to
speculate about what the men are talking about.
Even still others may have their eyes drawn to the lamps, or tea sets.
No matter what you do though, unless you're talking for an hour, you
will miss a detail. If it takes that
long to just describe one picture, how can I describe over two weeks worth of
experiences? Nevertheless, I try. I try to guess what gets people excited, or
at least what keeps people interested. Someone once said, "When you speak
be inspirational. If you can't be
inspirational, be funny. If you can't be
funny, keep it short."
Last time I told you we were going into the "home
stretch" with 5 concerts left to go.
Well, we did 3 and that was enough.
Saturday afternoon, around 3, we went to set up our late night
performance. To get there we walked 10
minutes to a ferry, from the ferry it was another 5 minute walk to a train in a
tunnel, then on to a trolley. A short
walk down the street and up a flight of stairs that took us to and
elevator. Up the elevator, then up another
flight of stair and ta-da! There you
are. Easy peasy. So we set up and sound checked. Once we were ready there we raced out the
door at about 7pm to go perform at a dinner that was 50 minutes away by
car. We get to that diner with 5 minutes
to sound check before we get on stage.
All goes well we get to eat and head back to the first venue via a car
ride that would be an entire post unto itself.
10:30pm comes and we are ready to start our second performance of the
day. When the day was all said and done
it was 3am that I went to bed knowing that I needed to get up in 3 1/2 hours to
repack the truck and drive 7 hours the next day.
I don't lay all of this out there to complain, but just to
let you know the realities of what I've signed up for. If this were just for work, there's no way I
would keep that schedule, but because of the eternal motivation that I have, I
Our final concert was in the city that was historically
known as Troy. My mixing board was set
up right under the nose of the Trojan Horse they used in the 2004 movie. By the time we had finished our sound check
we had over 100 people watching us. We
made announcements about the upcoming concert that night, and a few people
connected with individuals who had gathered.
We had a couple hours before the concert, so we just played recorded music
for a while. In that down time more
people connected with kids, tourists, and anyone passing by who wondered what
was going on. We even had an Indian family
stop by with some Bollywood music they wanted us to play so they could dance to
it. By concert time we had a crowd of
over 400 people ready to see what this crew from Chicago had to offer.
The crowd grew over the course of the performance and was
very receptive of our music and message.
At the end of the concert I did all I could to restrain my urge to pack
up and leave. It's always the practice
to pack it up and get out at my normal gigs.
In fact I pride myself at timing the truck pack and setting new records.
But these shows are different. I needed to remind myself that we are here
for conversations and relationships. I
am so glad I did.
I got to see a believer that I had met 3 years ago on a
previous tour. I got to meet some
members of the local church and I got to meet some believers who were seeking
refuge in Turkey. I won't go into too
many details about these men here, for the sake of their privacy. Suffice it to say they had good reason not to
return to their home countries. They
were overjoyed to be at such and openly Christian event out in public. They were thrilled that we were there, and I
was honored that we could serve these men in any way. If the whole trip was just to set up and sing
just for these men, I would have made the journey ten times over.
Since my last post we've performed twice. Once in Antalya and once in Manavgat. Our Antalya performance had some
"glitches" that we as a team had to work out. The result of us working things out was a
much better performance the next day.
each day we received dozens of survey forms that were filled out and a
lot of good contacts. Yesterday we drove
from Manavgat to Istanbul, a 15 hour drive after all of our stops.
We are now in what I feel is the home stretch. I have to take that perspective because I
need to know when I will get to rest.
The next five days are scheduled with late nights, early mornings, five
performances (some are not full 90 minute concerts) two 7 hour drives,
debriefing, last minute souvenir shopping (because you can never have enough
scarves), an early morning drive to the airport and a 13 hour flight home. Hopefully you'll understand if I don't get a
chance to write another post soon. As it
is I expected to be asleep now, but I woke up early.
"...[W]e rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." There
comes a time in most tours where I think, "I'm exhausted, but it's only a
few more days. I can make it." I haven't hit the point of exhaustion yet,
and hopefully I won't have to. My
"sufferings" are nothing compared to what Paul was referring to when
he wrote that quote in Romans. This just
means the development of my endurance, character, and hope are also nothing
when compared to Paul's. But, even so, I
cherish it. I'm praying that God will
help me not just to endure, but to finish well.
It's not enough to just survive through these next few days. I need to flourish. I came here to serve this team, and there
have been times when I haven't done that well.
My patience has worn thin on occasion, or a request comes up and I'm
just feeling lazy. Granted it's 100degrees and 80% humidity, but that's no excuse to slouch when you've come
halfway around the world to tell people how much God loves them.
All this to say pray for us.
Pray for our endurance, character, and hope, Pray for the effectiveness
of our communication in word and works, Pray that we will finish well, and Pray that nothing else gets cancelled.
At this point we've performed 2 nights on the street and
once on a stage. All of this was in
Istanbul. The times on the street were
both really good. The musicians
performed for about 15 minutes and by the time they were done there was a
pretty decent crowd (15-50 people) clapping and interacting with the
songs. When they are done with the 15
minute set, then we get to interact on a personal level with the people who've
come to see who this group of foreigners is and why we are here and ask them to
fill out surveys.
The stage performance was for a hip-hop festival. We walked into a mall, went down 3 flights of
stairs and there before us was a theater with a couple hundred people all up
against the stage. They were all
enjoying themselves while a Turkish rapper was going to town on the stage. The short version of the rest of the story is
that our first full stage, full set-list performance went off without a hitch. Of course we had our surveys with us and we
got many back from our newest fans. It
Now, after two days on the road, we are in Antalya. I just woke up and went for a walk along the
rocky shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea and prayed. I praised God for what He's done and prayed
for things to go smoothly. Then I stopped.
I realized that is a selfish
prayer. What if something needs to go
"wrong" for the sake of God's
How often do we pray for the easy way out? We pray for nice weather for an outdoor
activity. We pray for a sickness or pain
to go away. We pray for "travel
mercies" and expect that God will protect us from flat tires and
accidents. We pray for a concert to go
smoothly. But God....
God works in the things we see as inconvenience. When there is an obstacle in our way God is
glorified in the solution or the strength to persevere. It's in those times that we can respond to
the leading of the Holy Spirit. So how
should we pray? I decided to pray that
God would keep me aware of His plan.
That no matter what happens, whether I think it's good or not, that I
will have His perspective to see the opportunities He is placing before us.
The past two days we've been rehearsing with a hip hop band
in a church in Kadiköy, İstanbul. We
started at 10 and went until 5ish each day.
To start the whole thing off there was some discussion of whether we
could use the sanctuary or if we had to go down to the basement because they
were getting a new air conditioner installed.
It was settled that we would set up in the half of the room that was
away from where the A/C installers would be working. We were all set and chugging happily along. Beats were dropping and lyrics flying. Then we got told to turn it down. I was disappointed, especially since I hadn't
hit the volume yet that we would be using for performances. I had barely touched the subwoofers (the big
speakers that thump). Right then and
there I turned the subs off.
For those techies out there who are interested, the
offending system is 4 QSC K12 mains, a home grown pair of EAW FR250z knockoffs
powered be a QSC ex4000 at 720w per side,
a Mackie SRM450 monitor. All told what
to do by a Yamaha 01v96 v2. (I know, but
After turning it down I had to find out why. Turns out the neighbors were complaining,
enthusiastically complaining. My worldly
gut reaction was, "Well forget that!
If they're going to be grumpy about it anyway, let's just crank it and
give them something to be grumpy about."
That thought lasted long enough for me to smirk and imagine plaster
falling off the walls as I let the subs get some exercise. After a little chuckle my mind went back to
wanting to be a good neighbor and an example of grace and mercy. I would accommodate them as much as I could
and just turn things up enough for the performers to be able to hear
themselves, but not enough to get an idea of what a full concert would feel
Then I found out more.
This new air conditioner that was being installed as we practiced could
only be run for 5 hours on Sunday for the same reason that we had to turn
down. The neighbors don't like the sound
of the air conditioner outside their window.
Because of this every other meeting that happens in this church building
will not have A/C. It was 95 and humid
This irked me and now I'm trying to figure out, in the
cultural context of İstanbul Turkey, where do you draw the line? Within the context of a biblical worldview is
there even a line to be drawn? I want
to say that at some point the Christian needs to stand up and assert themselves
to illustrate their own self worth.
However since that self worth is based on Christ, the assertion must involve
service to Christ. If this is the case
we would have been justified in practicing at a proper volume. This is something I'll be thinking about over
a cup of tea.