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FFH in Concert(12/30/01)

Altamesa Church of Christ (Ft. Worth, TX) by Qubert

I’ve never heard of this group before. My brother’s very keen on them, though. (Wow, does anyone say “keen” anymore?) So at his request, off we went to Altamesa Church of Christ in Ft. Worth, TX -- he and I and our sister. I have to admit that first impressions weren’t good. I didn’t know any of their songs, though the rowdy youth-group-aged crowd sure did. Between their screams and the mangled sound mix, I couldn’t make out a word of the high-speed lines I was supposed to be echoing back.

The sound did improve, though, and their high energy continued. I even began to translate the lyrics a bit. (Now, at 28, just when did I grow too old for a “loud” concert anyway? Must have begun when I slept through that RATT show a few months back. . .) After some time, the show quieted down, which helped. I was able to focus on the band’s lyrics, about faith and love and praise. Their upbeat, mostly-acoustic style lends itself well to lovely, harmonic sing-alongs from the audience. There’s still something about listening to 500 people singing acapella that can transport a listener to heaven, no matter how many times you’ve heard it before. And while FFH have written a slew of songs in their 10+ years, it’s interesting to note that the classics appear from their songbook when the mood becomes very reflective, from “Step by Step” (by the incomparable Rich Mullins) to “We Exalt Thee”. I applaud FFH for refusing to tamper with perfection.

FFH stands for “Far From Home,” and that’s just how I felt at their show. Far from 11th grade and Al Denson serenading our star-struck Wednesday night youth group. Far from breaking into spontaneous applause at the mere mention of the name Jesus. Perhaps far from what I was and might never be again. It saddened me in a lot of ways. Oh, prayer and praise can still move my soul, but I don’t get crazy anymore. Certainly not like the crowd around me. Guess I’m seeking these days. Guess we all are.

FFH have found their answer, though. For $15, they happily share it. Does it work? Ask the 20 or so people who walked the aisle during the invitation. Or ask the hundreds who made hand motions and danced during “I wanna be like Daniel in the Lion’s Den, waiting for God’s love to save him!”

And ask me. What’ll I say? Hell, 10,000 people singing “Home Sweet Home” or 20,000 acapella voices on “Unanswered Prayers” moves my soul just as much as any praise band. Music alone will never save me through any spirit-stirring virtue. But if they think they can use song to speak to me and make me feel a bit closer to home, FFH is sure welcome to try. I even bought one of their CDs the next day.

Oh, and did I mention that the chick singer in the band is hot?

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