Winter Jam 2011 – Boise ID

As I previously mentioned, we attended Winter Jam last night. The first hour or so was spent with my friend Katie and the band Kutless. One of the perks of THAT little gem was getting to save our seats before doors opened to general public. We claimed a couple of rows about 4-5 back from the front.

various artists finishing Q&A, as seen from our seats

My husband has often said meeting new people is my version of crack. Last night and the Kutless event was no exception. AND I was excited about the upcoming concert. So the pre-Jam artists were a bit of a blur for me. The one that DID stand out was “For King and Country“. (They’re the 3rd & 4th in the picture above) They were wandering around outside and told TheBoy his hair was awesome, which I’m sure made HIS day. Then they talked to my husband and boys about 15 minutes. Obviously I wasn’t out there but trust me, Jon rubbed THAT one in because hello! they’re Australian. They could read the weather report to me and I’d be happy. Jon pointed out that their booth was actually quite easy to get to from our seats. But they would have spoken and I would have probably drooled all over them. And that would just be embarrassing.

Then Red took the stage. Oh. My. Goodness. Their set? Entirely too short.


They definitely put on the most intense show of the evening. They were one of the groups I was most looking forward to and they did NOT disappoint. I would gladly go to a full length concert of theirs. LilBit showed a little concern initially over the pyrotechnics. We were close enough to feel the heat. But once I explained that it was on purpose & nothing had blown up, he thought it was “SO COOL!”.


I honestly don’t remember who was next…Fireflight maybe? I was REALLY looking forward to seeing them. They have a female bassist. LOVE. Dawn Michele wins the award for coolest outfit of the evening.  But I wouldn’t go specifically to see them live again. To be fair though, I was distracted most of their set by a guy in the aisle next to us….well…by his camera. It looked suspiciously like a EOS-1DS Mark III. I didn’t bop him over the head though. (Jon wouldn’t let me…)


Newsong was either before or after Fireflight. Isn’t THAT specific? I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Newsong. Not that I don’t LIKE them. I just didn’t KNOW them. And they were probably my least favorite of the evening. They weren’t bad by ANY means. But they can’t all be my favorites.  Two things stood out though. One – dude played the CELLO. Beautifully. I leaned over to my husband and said “Sorry honey. I have to crush on anyone who can play the cello like that.” (See the footnote on my previous post re: crushing on musical abilities) And two, they sang the most POWERFUL song of the evening. Or ever.


Then. Kutless took the stage. Do I really need to say anything more about THEM? Yes I enjoyed their set and yes, I would go see them in a full concert. I will buy their albums. I just really hope they put out an acoustic one at some point. Because seriously? They shine acoustically.

Matthew West. Wow. What can I say about Matthew West? (Don’t believe we got a picture of him) I was fairly ambivalent going into it. It was another case of enjoying his music but knowing nothing about the artist (see previous post re: Kutless).

(One amusing incident unrelated to his performance – he was talking and I was thinking “Gee…he reminds me of Bren SO MUCH!” (Bren being a former pastor at our church). I had no sooner made that realization when Jon leans over and says “He reminds me of Bren!” )

But. Back to his set. Dude is a GREAT live artist. He’s another one I wouldn’t mind going to see and who’s set was WAY too short. My only concern actually has nothing to do with him. He was wearing a Boise State shirt underneath another one. He took the top shirt off and the arena. went. nuts. When everyone realized what he was wearing, the place was deafening. And I clapped but as it got louder, it really bugged me. There’s not anything WRONG with being excited about the local team. But the difference in volume & excitement between that any NUMBER of other stories about lives changed was disturbing. It was very audible indicator that our priorities might be a little whacked.

News Boys

The News Boys set was the most extravagant. Michael Tait is a showman through and through. He pays attention to the crowd around him; he reacts and adjusts to them. They’re all showmen really. Their drummer (Duncan Phillips) is a CRAZY dude. His facial expressions were…indescribable. He obviously enjoys what he does.  (He’s apparently Australian too but didn’t speak. Too bad.) At one point they lifted his set on a platform (ok that happened a few times), tilted him so the set was flat to the crowd/he was parallel to the ground (he was buckled into his seat), and then SPUN HIM AROUND WHILE HE PLAYED. He looked like he was on a carnival ride…all while maintaining the underlying foundation for the rest of the guys. In. Sane.   They all were on lifts at one point. It was fun and loud and designed to totally blow the crowd’s collective mind.

I think it worked.

Best part though was when they played “God’s not Dead”. That has become one of my favorite songs and to have an arena of about 6,000 people singing it…chills! And of course they ended with “Jesus Freak”. Because. Of course.

We loved it. Jon really wanted to see Red and was not disappointed. They were his favorite by a long shot. The boys had a BLAST and each had their favorites. I loved it all but I think my ABSOLUTE favorite part of the concert was hanging out with Jon and watching his face when he was really enjoying it. I would’ve enjoyed it but experiencing it with him was what truly made it memorable.

(All photo credits, except the first, goes to Jon)

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