A last minute decisions caused me to attend the “Acoustic Evening (with singer and songwriter) Todd Agnew and (K-Love’s Darling) Jason Gray at the Cavalry Church in Salt Lake City on Friday, October 5, 2012. Having just met Jason Gray at a concert in the spring, I felt that it was a good idea to introduce my daughter Katharina and her friend to an artist, who overcame personal struggles (he stutters at times) only to become one of Christian’s radio most popular artists of today.
Todd Agnew’s “Grace Like Rain” is one of my favorite songs for spring retreats. Every time when I was in charge for music selection for a spring retreat I chose “Grace Like Rain”. I love this song!!!!
Despite the likeability factor of Jason Gray and the incredible raspy voice of Todd Agnew I left the concert mad at myself, unsatisfied and completely discouraged because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
For one the “Acoustic Evening” just doesn’t work for me. I like to jump, stand, hang out, laugh, sing and enjoy myself. Sitting quietly and listen just doesn’t work for me.
Second, my German Bluntness met Todd Agnew’s bluntness and unfortunately it was a terrible match. I have no issue with me being blunt (naturally), but once it is matched by a performer I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. (I paid 45 bucks; at least pretend that you love to be with us. Is that too much to ask?)
But first things first! It was good to catch up with old friends at the Calvary Church I enjoy Drew Reese who created PlugintoUtah.com and Warrior Worship Ministries. People for Christ were there and they promoted Tenth Avenue North. (I will be working this one)
Todd Agnew started the evening of. This guy has a great voice ,doesn’t have problems making his points and is right in line with my understanding of Jesus and the Bible. But yet he irritated me without an end. The way he connected with the audience was just not working for me. His confidence was borderline arrogance and his performance style did not appear just laid back, it actually appeared quite lazy. It was uninviting and uninspiring.
He said that night, he wants to be liked but I did not see the desire in him in any way. When other artist usually thank the audience at the end of the night, Todd Agnew used the opportunity to lectured us. He mentioned that he first has to call his wife before he comes out , sign autograph or listen to our story. And if he was an audience member he would just go home or eat! He went on saying that he has to give his best to his wife, and not the audience.
For the record I don’t see anything wrong with all of that. A songwriter, artist, performer can do backstage whatever they want to. I have not a beef with that. And of course I would understand that problems at home would prevent them from coming out and signing autographs, but why lecture the fan base on that? Why would he belittle those who would like to meet him and tell him what his songs mean to them? I have no idea whatsoever! I have been taught to always appreciate an artist and shake hands during a book tour, a concert or a theater piece. And I always do it!!!! I have never run into an artist who belittles me for it! At concerts with local performer, sometimes I am the only one..
Back to Jason Gray! Jason was the same guy I met in the spring. He is funny, laid back, encouraging and sweet. His voice is smooth and he connects with the audience well. However I think the acoustic evening just threw me off. I prefer bands, drums, rock, sounds… He sang: “I am new”, “Good to be alive”,” Remind me who I am” and “More Like Falling in Love” among other songs. He is Christian Music’s Sweetheart! There is no doubt about it.
Anyway, so at the end of the concert I got in line to shake Jason Grays hand. I didn’t have any intention to feed into Todd Agnew’s ego. Also after this lecture there was no telling if Todd Agnew would grace us with his presence or not! Unfortunately for me, myself and I Todd Agnew joined Jason Gray in the same autograph line. Well, this wasn’t good!
So Jason remembered me from the spring and we started chatting. Then Todd Agnew joined in. For some reason I felt embarrassed that I only bought an album from Jason Gray for Jason to sign! So I said to Todd Agnew in my “defense”: “I would have bought an album from you too, but you are so uninviting”. He shrugged his shoulders and said:” Well, I don’t want to be.” Which Christian doesn’t want to be inviting? I was stunned once again. But I felt kind of awkward talking to him now. So I stuttered and said that I really like his raspy voice and that I played “Grace like rain” at every spring retreat I was a part of. And out of desperation I pulled a couple papers out of my back pocket of my jeans fumbling for my tickets, he could sign. Then I said:” Well, you could sign the ticket but I can’t’ find it right now. Not to mention I probably would lose it anyway. “He shrugged again and said: “You probably would”. Then I left mad at myself for standing in line so long, mad that I had nothing to sign for him, mad that I wasted 45 bucks on this guy, mad that I didn’t follow my own advice. (“If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all”), mad at the whole situation and mad at everything! I go to a concert to feel good! The opposite was achieved!
It took me a whole day to listen to my signed album from Jason Gray.