Last night, I saw Third Day at the San Diego County Fair. This was a good concert, and the third time I’ve seen Third Day live.
Previously, I saw them in December 2007 in Hoffman Estates during their Christmas tour, and two years ago at the San Diego County Fair – that time as part of a mini-festival that also featured Mercy Me, John Mark McMillian, a third singer I don’t recall, with brief appearances from Jamie Grace (who did a longer set on one of the smaller stages earlier) and Trevor Morgan (who was touring with Third Day and did a couple of songs in the middle of their set)
This was the first time I saw just Third Day. They did a nearly 90 minute set. During that 90 minutes, Mac Powell’s only breaks were during instrumental solos and briefly between songs. Other than that, he was either singing or talking the rest of the time. Mark Lee (lead guitar) and the support musician on the keys had a few more breaks – during long song introductions. The rest of the band had a longer break during a short acoustic set (vocal, piano and acoustic guitar).
I couldn’t help myself from noticing some of the technical details.
The fair was providing image magnification (imag), so I sometimes paid a bit of attention to the shots, but only spotted two of the cameras, and deduced where a third was. There was a hand-held cameraman fairly visible on the stage much of the time, and there was a camera position in front of the stage at stage right. There was also a fixed camera looking over the drummer – so clearly the video crew had worked with the band’s tech crew during setup. There had to be at least one more camera that had a good view of center stage based on some of the shots.
From where I was sitting, I could also see someone just off stage right who spent much of the evening doing something to guitars for Mark Lee, who swapped them out after nearly every song. Sometime this was clearly to switch from electric to acoustic, but I think it was also to re-tune the guitars (which was probably what the guy off stage was doing).
Towards the end, once it was full dark, I could see that just off of stage left there was manned console. At first, I thought it might be the lighting console – which could have been there as well. But then I realized, it was probably the monitor board. I’m fairly sure that on a show of this scale, and for a band of this level, the main mixing board sits somewhere in front of the stage so that the operator can use his (or her) own ears for the mix.
On a different topic, I think I was witness to something spirit directed. During the introduction to the song “I Need a Miracle” from their most recent album, Mac Powell interrupted the story of the song’s creation to share the gospel. He mentioned that he doesn’t normally do this, and since I’ve seen Third Day twice before (and have a copy of a fourth concert), I have good reason to believe that this is the case. So it is clear to me that something moved him to share at that point – someone in the audience needed that message. (Anyone attending the fair could sit in the second level – possibly better seats than I had paid for – or stand in front of the stage, so there were probably people who had never heard of, or heard, Third Day in that audience).