There I sat with roughly a million questions and curiosities, but asking none of them. Making conversation over a bowl of soup, and staying focused on being a good host. I had been listening to Mitch McVicker’s The Grey and Underneath albums for weeks on Spotify as I looked forward to the concert. I also watched The Ragamuffin movie (again) and even let myself get drawn in to the memories and snapshots of the life of Mitch and his friend Rich Mullins in the endless archive that is YouTube. Concert footage, interviews, television appearances, and news articles gave me pieces of a man whose words could be equal parts wonderful, and mysterious. Now, the person who probably knew Rich Mullins as well as anyone could was sitting at the table with me, and I didn’t even mention his name. But why would I? This day was about Mitch McVicker, a man who has been making music and touring hard for all of these eighteen years since his friends passing. And this is what struck me the most in my conversations with Mitch, that more than anything else his music is about people…performing live…sharing stories…sharing hope and love…and meeting people. I could see that he basically never stopped doing what he and Rich were doing so many years ago. And it was so good.
THE SET UP
Mitch arrived in the afternoon in a nondescript white van full of goodies. We had been watching YouTube videos of Mitch for weeks and were tipped off to the possibility that he might be arriving with a wide variety of percussion “instruments”. We were hoping for it, and we were not disappointed. After meeting Mr. McVicker (apparently that’s his dad’s name) the kids and I helped load a wealth of instruments into the house. There were too many instruments to name, banjo, ukelele, chocolate syrup bottle (empty), pink flamingo, ironing board, monkey butt powder bottle (mostly empty), toys…and a Boss Loop Station connected to a small PA.
Mitch opened up the concert with a powerful performance of Danger. I was immediately taken by the intensity of the vocal. This was not going to be a simple run through of songs. These lyrics were beautiful…and obviously very personal. I had heard the song before, but this song has an entirely different feel in a live setting. Easily my new favorite McVicker song. He wasted no time connecting with the audience of 50+ in attendance. By the middle of the performance he had developed such a report with the audience that there was friendly banter and easy crowd participation within the room. The fun percussion loops provided a great backdrop to the more upbeat songs (“Plastic Horse”, “The Way Up Is The Way Down”, “Still Afloat”).
Woven in between the abundance of music were stories of faith and family. As he introduced the song “My Deliverer”, Mitch spoke tenderly of his friend Rich Mullins with whom he co-wrote the song. He made reference to the car accident that killed Rich, and left Mitch McVicker badly injured.
I don’t have a full set list, but he played for nearly two hours and hit all of my favorites: “My Deliverer”, “Come Back To Your Heart”, “In Other Words”, “Underneath”, “All Things”, and “Seashells” to name a few.
BEST PART OF THE NIGHT
Words of wisdom and encouragement from a seasoned and artistic human being were shared throughout the evening. His message was a spiritually mature view of awe and gratitude for the love of God. It was an honest expression of a desire to know and follow God that did not shrink from the reality of struggle. Life is hard, but God is good. Mitch McVicker’s art reflects both of those truths.
A friend of Mr. McVicker videotaped the concert and may include some footage in an upcoming concert DVD.
The level of crowd participation for The Lemonade Song was pretty impressive. As Mitch went to increasingly greater lengths to test the willingness of the audience to echo back, I believe he may have met his match with some of our guests.
After the show much of the audience hung around to meet and chat with Mitch and each other. He even hung around to listen to some of the younger guests strumming guitars and singing.
Attendance! There were definitely more than 50 people (including kids). There were people in the seats, people on the stairs, and kids everywhere (that’s how we like it).
Great show! Great approach! Great attitude! Great message! Mitch McVicker is welcome to play our house any time.
Chad and Jennifer