The band changed in the 70s, but Seger's style was pretty much the same. When I heard he was coming to Knoxville I was anxious to see him. He was going to be the opening act for some band called Kiss. I was familiar with Kiss, but I was not a fan. To me they were an Alice Cooper wannabe band that didn't play music as good as Cooper's. I would have to tolerate Kiss in order to see Bob Seger.
In the days that followed I began to envision a rock band that played Christian oriented music in a live lavish concert presentation such as I had seen with Kiss. In my mind I could see "GOD" in huge letters festooned with lights hanging over a coliseum. Special lighting and pyrotechnic effects would enhance the musical experience as a stage presentation that included flying angels and orbs of light would dazzle the audience. The entire experience would be mind boggling visual displays and spiritually soaring rock and roll music.
I had been a big fan of the musical Jesus Christ, Superstar and any songs that seemed remotely related to God, Jesus, or spirituality. At the time I did not know that God rock or any rock music that actually aligned itself with Christianity existed. I was ready for it. Not only was I ready for Christian rock, I was ready for some more modern music to replace the boring music that I had been used to hearing in church. I had stopped going to church by then, but I thought if the music changed maybe I would go back.
Probably around late May of 1985 I was staying outside of Chicago, where I had some time off and decided to spend some time visiting my friend, Fred. I began telling him about my new obsession with modern Christian music. Fred was not a Christian, but he was the sort of person who always seemed to be in the know about everything. He checked his sources and found that there was going to be a large Christian rock concert not far from us that very night. We decided to go.
The venue was a large sports arena in Addison, Illinois. It was an oversized barn, but ideal for rock events. I was struck by the crowd--an array of punker and metal head looking types with crazy hair and facial piercings mixed with clean cut young church people. It looked like the crowd at any typical rock concert. The only real difference was that I didn't smell any marijuana smoke once the concert had started, but otherwise the crowd could have been the same. Among the concession stand offerings were large plastic cups of non-alcoholic beer. One of the bands played a version of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" except they substituted "Jesus Christ" for "Purple Haze". All in all the experience was strangely surrealistic with mostly unmemorable music--I don't even remember what bands were playing, but they were definitely harder rock than I normally listened to.
Subsequent years brought concerts more to my enjoyment as I became more discerning in my choice of concerts to attend. I saw artists like Michael Card, David and the Giants, and Charlie Peacock in venues ranging from large auditoriums to churches. The Christian concerts were very similar to any other concerts except that the artists would talk about Jesus briefly. Otherwise, one was much like the other.
In the early nineties I began attending church again after a hiatus of many years. I had moved to the Los Angeles area and started attending a Southern Baptist Church because it reminded me most of back home in Tennessee. The praise music they were now singing was more related to rock than the classic hymns I had grown up with. Through the years the music in our church has become progressively more rock oriented. Even when they do revive an old traditional hymn they add a contemporary spin to it.