Plymouth, Michigan Concert Review
Temple Baptist Church
August 15, 1997

[I Will Sing]

(cheers & applause)

[Sing Your Praise to the Lord]

(applause)

Thank you so much! (cheers)

This is a song that I wrote over in Amsterdam because everything is legal in Amsterdam. And I needed to do something to beat that. So I wrote a song.

[Hold Me Jesus]

(applause)

[While the Nations Rage]

(applause)

Well that one I wrote for Hillary's village, but this one I wrote for the sky...

[If I Stand]

(stops before last chorus of song)

Were some of y'all singing?

(cheers & applause)

Well, it sounded beautiful. You just ought to sing out a lot, 'cause I love to hear it.

(finishes song with audience singing)

If I stand...

(applause & cheers)

[Screen Door] ('Cup Song' version)

(cheers & applause)

Thanks so much! We're gonna do a couple of songs now that you might not have heard because they're from a musical that I wrote with Beaker and with Mitch, and I guess some of you have probably heard rumors that we started a religious order... (laughter from audience) (Rich chuckles) and they're probably true! Because the truth is, we'd all like to be Franciscans, but we don't even have the guts to really be Catholics. (laughter from audience) It's hard on you, but I do love, as Mitch and Beaker do, Francis of Assisi. And I don't know if any of you know this or not, but he is considered to be the grandfather of the Renaissance. He's the guy that invented religious poetry and acting in the Western world, and many, many other things. And there are so many ways to describe him.

G. K. Chesterson in his biography of Francis said that the really amazing thing about Saint Francis is not that he was an ecology lover, that he loved nature. It's not that he was a great believer in imitating the Gospel, or living in poverty, or practicing chastity, or in his thinking. What's amazing about Francis of Assisi is that he was simply a man who fell in love with God. And when he fell in love with God, everything in the world changed. And so we were thinking that maybe if we fell in love with God too, that it would have the same effect. But that hasn't kicked in yet. (crowd laughs) So we decided to write a musical because we'd kind of like to turn more people on to Franciscan spirituality, because there are components of that that are very much missing in our Evangelical world view, and we have a lot to learn.

And so we decided to reinvent him, and take him out of Italy and put him in the American West. We realize that's kind of hard to do with Italians. We decided to take him out of the 12th Century and put him in the 19th because a lot of people consider the 12th Century a dark period of time, as if the 19th Century wasn't. (laughter) We decided to change his name from Francis to Frank for all the homophobes out there. (laughter) So we turned a 12th Century saint into a 19th Century cowboy and wrote a musical, based on the life, and the events in St. Francis' life. And hopefully reflecting his ideas and his values, and hopefully it's in a more fun thing than a lot of the books that you read about Francis, which are so serious, and so forth. He had such a colorful life, it's amazing that writers can do that.

So we're gonna do two songs, because we have the cd available. And you're only the second audience that we've had the cd available for, so get it quick! On the cd, there are four singing parts in the play. The part of Frank is sung by Mitch, and he will sing his own parts tonight. The part of Ivory, who is this fleshpot friend of Mitch's, was sung by Kevin Smith of DC Talk. We thought it was appropriate for him to be a fleshpot. (laughter) Michael Tait sings the part of Buzz who is a former slave, and Leigh Bingham Nash of Sixpence None The Richer sings the part of Claire. And so we're going to do two songs. The first song is the song that Frank sings when he realizes that to say 'yes' to Jesus, it necessarily means that you must say 'no' to everything else. And the second song was based on Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Sun, only we changed it to...

Mitch: There You Are. (laughter) Big difference.

[Heaven Is Waiting]

(applause)

[There You Are]

(applause)

(playing slow piano intro) Well, it's that time of night, folks, when I'm gonna ask hundreds of you to come forward and... sing another This Train song. (laughter)

<Mimes of the Old West>

Mitch: I guess you decided to sit back down!

[Hope] (Mitch)

(applause)

[The River]

(applause)

I would like to thank, we have five people who are signed up for Compassion, for their work on the Reservation and throughout the world, and we want to thank you for that especially. We're, uh, just about out of gas here, and we're way past Richmond (laughs). So I guess my, in some sense maybe my grandpa made it to Detroit. At least to Plymouth. (applause)

It's so funny to think about, you know, I remember when I was real little, living in some place called Arvin, Indiana, and it was a real blast, because I think there were twenty people living in Arvin, Indiana. And there were, at least a third of them lived at our house. And half of the rest of the people living there were related to me. The other half were related to the Peters. And everybody got along real good because in rural Indiana you have to get along because there ain't that many people, and if you don't make friends with your neighbors you'll be awful lonely.

And then we moved out to the farm, which was in a different county. And one time when I was in the first grade - I was very serious, I have always been very serious, just down right morose. (laughter) I had gone to school and I was very proud that I was a straight A student. I'd never made anything on my paper besides an A. The problem is that my first grade teacher was best friends with my mom when they were kids. (laughter) My mom knew all kinds of dirt on her. (laughter) It's another great advantage of growing up in rural Indiana, everybody treats everybody nice because we all know too much. (laughter)

Anyway, one time I got confused about what my assignment was, and I did the assignment all wrong and I got an F on my paper. And I was scared to go home, because I thought I had failed. I thought, oh man, I'm gonna get a whipping. I'm probably gonna get a dozen whippings. I'm probably gonna, I'm probably gonna get whipped every day for the rest of my life. Which it was pretty much that way anyway, but at least not over an F.

So I snuck on a different bus. I waited for the bus to leave to go home, and then I snuck onto bus 13. Bus 13 went out to the county line. And when we got into the yard to park I could get off the bus and I could walk up to my great-grandma's house, my great uncle and my great aunt. All these great people lived out there. (laughter) I went on up to my great uncle's house. He had a boy named Jim who was absolutely my hero. I wanted to be just like him, because he was a jock. He got all the girls. That's why I like the Beatles so much. (laughter) When I was a kid I knew, man, I don't have a shot, 'cause only jocks got dates. The Beatles came on Ed Sullivan and women were fainting-- (laughter) and then I wanted to be a musician. (laughter)

So, Jim's mom used to give my mom his clothes when he outgrew them. So it was pretty neat when I was big enough to wear them, you know, 'cos we didn't know we should be ashamed about wearing hand-me-downs. We thought it was really cool. So I went up to their house, and I remember my Great Uncle Glen sat me on his lap. Of course I was crying. I said, "Oh, I failed, I failed!" He said, "Oh? So, did you fail first grade, or did you just get an F on a paper?" And he explained to me that I had to make a bunch of F's before you actually have to take first grade over. And then I was so embarrassed I'd been so upset over something so silly. Then he told me all about some of his failures. He told me about things that he regretted - things that didn't work out. This whole time I was just sitting on his lap. Then he told me about some of Jim's failures, my hero's. And I felt so 'good', by the time he was done, I flunked second grade, (laughter) to see my hero afraid of failure.

You shouldn't be trapped in the failures of other people, you know? Some of you are so scared of going out, you go hang out with anybody. But you ought to go out there with God, He listens, and listens 24 hours a day.

You keep your television on, you surround yourself with friends, but you're scared of God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Never lose your reverence for Him. God is nothing to be joking about, but perfect love casts out fear.

What I want you to know about God is, He ain't waiting to whip you. All God's wanting to do, right now He's ready, you don't have to wait, because what He wants to do, before you can even get to His house, He wants to run out and wrap His arms around you, take you up and swing you around in the air. He wants to take the ring off His finger and put it on yours. And then He will call to have the fatted calf killed. I don't know what He'll do with those ridiculous vegetarians. (laughter) But He is not nearly as hung up about cholesterol as we are. (laughter) He knows something is going to kill you, He figures it may as well be something tasty. (applause)

Friends, don't be afraid to go home. The Heavenly Father is waiting. Not because He wants to give you a whipping. Not because He wants to rub your nose in your failures, but because He had a Son who was a composite failure. He had a Son who tried to have this great ministry, had thousands of followers. His Son chose for Himself, He had twelve people on His staff. In three years' time He had managed to alienate every person in one way or another. He died His Father's Son, stricken with grief, so overloaded with guilt that He had to look away, His Father could not look at Him.

He knows what it's like. He wants you to come to Him.

[Sometimes By Step]

(applause)

[Creed]

(applause)

God bless you all! Thank you very much!

(applause, cheers)

Ok, while you're up, you may know this song, so sing loud if you do!

[No Not One]

(applause)

[I'm Gonna Sing Sing Sing]
Transcribed by Sandy McMullen