October 27, 2002, 7:35 am
Filed under: uncategorized

So on Friday evening, shortly after coming home from work, a couple of old friends call me up. They’re on their way down to San Diego from Orange County, where they work. They are on their way to see the Creed concert at the Cox Arena. My friend went to high school with one of the band’s sound engineers and has some comped tickets. They ask if I want to go. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen one of them, and about three months since I’ve seen the other one, so I go.

Creed gets a lot of interesting press because of lead singer Scott Stapp’s “spirituality.” To me, they just play an updated version of the arena rock that made bands like Bon Jovi popular in the late 80’s. Stapp has an “alternative” edge to his voice, and a magnetic stage presence, so people who wish the 80’s weren’t over are still allowed to like them.

The concert was . . . ummm . . . well, interesting. If you’re a Creed fan, you would probably think it was a great show. If you’re marginally into them, you would probably think it was good, and you would think all the pyrotechnics (large plumes of flame, and lots of sparks) were cool. For me, it was well worth the price I paid. I’ll admit that I own one Creed CD, and I’ve listened to it a good bit. But when it comes down to it, Creed really only has four songs. They just rearrange the guitar riffs around a bit to make new versions. Many bands are like this, I know. It was just very difficult to tell from Mark Tremonti’s mellow opening guitar parts (think “Stairway to Heaven”) which song they were playing – until the heavy power chords kicked in.

With all of that said (except for the $30 t-shirts they were selling . . . uh, thanks, but no thanks), given what I wrote the other day about the large gatherings of the church being similar to a rock concert, I spent a good bit of my time making observations along those lines. Now, if I had been looking to prove myself right (and I wasn’t), I couldn’t have chosen a better band than Creed. Scott Stapp is a spiritually oriented man – one who is searching for an authentic expression of his journey. At one point as he was inviting the “congregation” to sing a chorus along with him, he said something that goes a little bit like this . . . “This show isn’t about you enjoying seeing us, or about us enjoying seeing you. It’s about all of us in this place. So let’s all do this together.” That’s close to what I was going for the other day.

Then this “pastor” invited this “church” to do some good ol’ American flag waving. I just stood and watched . . . kind of like I do at my home church when that happens.

By the way, I think I did actually have a good time at the show (forgive my critical tone here). Arena rock does sorta have an appeal – you gotta love a good power ballad. Scott Stapp does have a magnetic presence on stage. And the pyrotechnics were really cool.


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