Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's like Thunder...and Lightning

KLTY: THE Christian Radio Station of Dallas Texans, puts on an annual Festival called Celebrate Freedom.  I've heard that up to 200,000 people have gone to the one day free festival.   Yesterday, not as many people turned out, maybe because it was 99 degrees, or the new location didn't have the same nostalgia as previous years at South Fork Ranch, but none the less, I was excited to be invited back for the 3rd time!   Truly.  I told John Hudson yesterday, it's like if you go to eat at someone's house that you really like, and they invite you back...or if you go on a date with someone you like, and at the end, they say, "we should do this again sometime", It feels great!  You should never feel entitled to receive a call-back.  How arrogant would that make you?  So needless to say, I've been pretty stinking flattered that they'd asked me back twice now.  I was going to play at 6:10.  Meredith Andrews went on just before that and my band played with her (Ashley Appling filled in for Josh) for her song "You're Not Alone"  And she killed it (that's a good thing)  Great song Meredith!  Then she introduced me, "Now, would you please welcome, Aaron Shust!"  Just then, someone from KLTY walked to the front and said, "Everybody, the storm is getting very close and it's bad and we need to head for cover immediately: to the corridors or to your cars right now!"  
People were bewildered.   They stared at her like, "are you serious"   
Just then a massive thunderclap crackled through the blackening sky, accompanied by an immediate bolt of lightning.  And every teenaged girl in the stadium screamed.  It was incredible.  
The people scattered, leaving remnants of folding chairs and umbrellas.  We waited and waited for the storm to pass until finally, they called it officially cancelled.   I never played one note.  
We grabbed some Mexican food, went to bed.  Got up at 4:30 again.   Now I'm home. 
Sleepy time. 

Monday, June 23, 2008


sorry...didn't mean to make it difficult to post.  my bad.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kansas City and Michigan

The alarm went off at 3:45 Friday morning and I loaded up my Jeep and drove through the cool and desolate Tennessee towns on the way to the airport.  I met my new road manager Eric there and Scotty who had flown in from Yuma the entire day before and we headed to Kansas City.  Which is not in Kansas.  We met up with Duffy and Ashley in Memphis half way there.  My drummer Josh couldn't make this date which is sad cause he's actually from KC and homecomings are always fun.  But Ashley was great and even though the crowd was smaller than the promoter had hoped, the people who were there were excited to be there and we had a great 'living room' concert, I like to call it.  Sometimes you really just feel like family.  

Early on Saturday we managed to get through the impossibly strict KC airport security, (the toothpaste industry must be thriving) and flew to Detroit, rented a SUV, packed all the gear, luggage and Scotty in the back and drove 3+ hours north to Gaylord and played the Big Ticket Festival.  I don't know how many people were packed into that Worship Tent, but thanks to everyone who came, I feel like I got to meet most of you afterward, but what a fun time that was!  They wanted an encore and since Chris Tomlin wasn't there that year, we sang "How Great Is Our God" cause who doesn't want to sing that?   Another great "family" feeling in that tent.  We had church!  

After catching up with Shonlock (appraising our busted fingers) Tim and Brian from Diverse City, eating dinner and having some serious chocolate festival fondue, we drove the 3+ hours BACK to Detroit.  A couple of us chilled in the hotel hot tub for a bit, although we forgot our swimsuits...

6:30 wake up call and we're back home...I even made it in time for church.  A fantastic message you have to hear.  Took a 3 hour nap then went to the pool with Daniel till his lips turned blue.  Twas a good week.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Outpost Advance

Every year starting in 2002, I look forward to a retreat of sorts with some of my dearest friends I've ever encountered on this planet, since my days growing up in Western PA.  We call it the Outpost.  What started out as a simple getaway and some well needed rest and renewal with 4 of us, has turned into an annual event for no more that 30 men ranging from ages 19 to 65, who have either lived life together closely, or who are dear friends of some of us, who are brave enough to enter into a community where love and a desire for growth abound.  

We eat more food, thanks to TJ Witterman, than I can handle.  16oz steaks that have no equal, his mom's recipe for mashed potatoes, Chicken Philly Subs, skillet breakfasts and more.   We white water raft, we hiked the Appalachian Trail (not all of it) we even had a contest to see who could stay in a pool of spring fed water (45 degrees!) the longest.  The polar bear club competition.   

But we also have incredible times of worship (men singing loudly is something to hear!) and conversations about being restored to God, reconciled to each other and reconnected with creation.  

I so look forward to this time of rest and renewal every year.   We ended it on Father's day and I and my brother were blessed to have our Dad with us and after we all took communion on Sunday morning we prayed together for our Dads and they prayed for us, some of US new dads.  Then I drove home and saw the kid who made ME a dad!   It was a good weekend! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


The flight from Dallas to Omaha (via St Louis) was a non-stop, so we didn't have to scramble at the airport to find a new gate.  Josh and I grabbed the aisle and window seats respectively and I blew my nose and Josh made grunting noises hoping that no one would sit between us.  But it was a full flight and we ending sitting by a fascinating person, Carli, who is basically Claire from LOST.  Carli is from Melbourne, Australia and is taking some time off to travel around America staying with people that she meets along the way.  She had just spent a week in New Orleans, but had met a couple in Phoenix who lived in Omaha.  So she was going there next.  She's a traveling vagabond until her cash runs out.  I told her she needed to see NYC, San Diego and Seattle.  Josh recommended Chicago as well.   Josh also tried out his Australian accent on her.  If you ever saw the beginning of Dumb and Dumber, you know the awkward moment that it was.

We drove out to Norfolk early Sunday morning to the big town park area and after soundcheck, Hawaiian shaved ice and 2 bites each of a Funnel cake, we spent the afternoon in a local hotel room and slept.  I tried to get a pic of Duffy, Scott and Josh all sleeping on the King sized bed, but it was too dark and my phone doesn't have a flash.  I fell asleep on the couch watching Bourne Identity and Pirates of the Caribbean on tbs.  Then we played at 8:30 but had to end early because of something called a massive lighting storm.

Monday we flew out of Omaha early and flew back to Nashville, Josh went on to Orlando to do a gig with Dave Barnes, Scotty flew back to Yuma today and I drove home to Atlanta to watch the Penguins stay alive in the Stanley cup for one more game in Triple Overtime from my own couch!  Good to be home.