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Come running like a ‘Prodigal’

Posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

  • Photo by Hannah Elliott

Award-winning band plays to sold-out crowd

Nearly 700 people came out to embark on a journey of music, laughter and faith at Oak Grove Baptist Church as it hosted award winning, Christian band Sidewalk Prophets on the spring leg of its “Prodigal Tour,” Thursday, February 2.
The lights and screens surrounding the stage faded to black as the once silent crowd stood to their feet and began to cheer with the roar of drums erupting from the speakers. A prism of lights suddenly flashed to show members of band Sidewalk Prophets—made up of lead singer David Frey, lead guitarist Daniel Macal, bassist Cal Joslin and drummer Sam Ridgell—jumping center stage to perform its song “Prodigal” to kick off the night.
The band’s first time in the Northern Neck, Frey expressed how excited he was to see the beach after being on the road in the middle of winter.
“You know we were so excited to come to Colonial Beach today,” Frey said, laughing. “We came expecting to see a beach, but little did we know the beach is like 200 miles away. I drove about 20 miles (up the road) and instead, jumped into a river!”
In between the bands energetic songs, pieces of a short but powerful film, known as “The Prodigal” displayed across the screens. The overall video depicted a young boy coming to see the error of his ways through something as simple as a Post-It note and a computer screen. Terrified and ashamed of what he had done, the video came to an end with an older man, portraying God, offering to change the path for him.
Frey had said in an earlier interview that the band hoped to engage guests in an “immersive concert experience” like no other.
“With this tour we are trying to make it an immersive concert experience,” Frey said, chuckling. “… I know that may not be descriptive enough. But, the whole night is about bringing the lost home—that’s our great goal—just like in the parable of the prodigal son, who took and wasted all of his inheritance only to realize that he needed to go back home. He was ashamed, worried and afraid to face his father, but his father welcomed him with open arms. There are just so many that are lost that feel like they have to run away from ‘Home,’ but we’re hoping that if nothing else someone will take a step closer to Jesus that night.”
The band also showed another short video later in the night that showed many children from countries across the world. Frey then spoke to the crowd about his experience with World Vision, an organization that works to assist children in poverty through volunteer sponsorship.
He reiterated the video’s message that explained how many children across the world do not get to experience childhood often the way many of us Americans are so privileged to, instead many beg for food and walk miles just to find something to drink.
Frey and the band’s heart for children is not surprising. Frey had described previously his favorite memory touring as the “most powerful night of his life,” when he met a family whose son was diagnosed with leukemia.
“It was our first time playing in a big arena,” Frey said. “We were in front of 16,000 people and I saw a group wearing ‘Superman’ shirts. And I thought, ‘God must be telling me to have courage.’ Later on, we met that group at our merch booth, and it turned out that ‘S’ was actually an ‘E’ that stood for Evan, a young boy who was battling cancer. I got to pray with his mother and she was afraid that he wouldn’t last through the night. We’ve been privileged to become close with that family over the years and Evan fought leukemia and won. That story is amazing because God just blew me away and it is a reminder of how awesome He is.”
He encouraged members of the audience to sponsor individual children to assist World Vision in “pulling up the roots of poverty and planting the seeds of change.”
According to the World Vision website, the organization has transformed the lives of 4.1 million sponsored kids, impacted 1.6 million jobs, served more than 371 communities, provided clean water to more than 2 million people and assisted more than 12 million disaster survivors and refugees. And approximately, 85 percent of the organization’s total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need.
After a few more songs from albums These Simple Truths, Live Like That and its latest hit Something Different to round up a full night of energetic worship and laughter, Frey explained that the band receives hundreds of prayer requests nightly—so on this tour they wanted to do something different. They asked the audience to come up to the stage and grab a Sharpie and a Post-It note, and write down the name of the person they want to pray for, and then, place it on the lighted boards off to the side. This act correlated with the first set of videos in “The Prodigal” film, which allowed guests to engage further into their experience.
In a previous interview, Frey explained that he considers the power of prayer and his relationship with Christ as the “paramount” of his life, and hopes that the Prodigal Tour experience will reveal the same for others.
“I just hope when they leave, they realize that prayer is so important,” Frey said. “God loves to hear from us even though He already knows everything. You have to believe that those prayers don’t go unheard and that God is always on the move. It may take longer than we’d like sometimes, but He hears them.”
The night ended with thanks from the band and some of the crew as well as a special birthday tribute to a lifetime fan. Frey also took a video to show what a sold out crowd looks like to the next stops on their “Prodigal Tour” in Georgia and Alabama. You can check out more information at prodigaltour.com or sidewalkprophets.org. You can also see more photos from the night at westmorelandnews.net!

Hannah Elliott is the Westmoreland News Editor.