Journey, The Doobie Brothers And Dave Mason: The 2016 Tour

Journey, The Doobie Brothers And Dave Mason: The 2016 Tour

Don't stop believin'.
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On July 8, 2016, I went to see Journey in concert, along with Dave Mason and the Doobie Brothers. It was a birthday present for my grandma, so obviously she accompanied me. It was held at Aaron’s Lakewood Amphitheater in Atlanta; the place was packed, so lines were super long and it was unbearably hot by the time everyone showed up. But even so, the crowds were organized and well-maintained. The Lakewood staff is always good about that, no matter the audience’s size. I’ve been to the venue many times over the years and I’m always impressed by the friendliness and professionalism they always display.

So we grabbed some drinks and sat down. Thankfully the staff had the huge overhead fans going, so the heat was bearable. Not so many people were there in the beginning, but it was hilarious to see the beginnings of a huge crowd of drunk 55-and-overs jamming to the songs of their younger years. Dave Mason went first, and I was genuinely impressed at his level of musicianship. He wasn’t a big showman, there weren’t a bunch of crazy light effects or sound distortion. He just had himself and his band, and they played. Especially because of his age, how long he’s been in the music industry, I was amazed at the quality of both his instrumentals and his voice. He had a rich psychedelic sound that entranced me and also made me a little sleepy, to be honest.

Next was the Doobie Brothers, a classic American rock band from the 1970s. They were much more of showmen than Dave Mason: they were calling out to the crowd, had light effects, and really turned up the energy of the whole thing. There was a multitude of guitar solos, screaming vocals, and an amazing set of saxophone solos by guest Mark Russo of Mark Russo and the Classy Cats. As they played more and more people migrated in and got drunker and drunker. It was quite a sight. My favorite had to be Grandma Aesthetic, as I deemed her: a woman, at least 60 years old, wearing a flower crown as white as her hair. There was a multitude of Coachella-esque costumes, of people young and old. I had just as much fun people-watching as I did listening to the music.

Finally, around 9 P.M., it was time for the main event: Journey. They came out in an incredible flash of lights after a one-minute intro soundtrack. Their new singer, Arnel Pineda, was an amazing front man. He had incredible stage presence, a jumping-bean-esque energy, not to mention unbeatable vocals. Every song was a party; high energy, shredding guitar solos, and every once in a while, a pounding drum solo. I wasn’t really a Journey fan -- the basic extent of my knowledge was “Don’t Stop Believing’” -- but I definitely left as one. Regardless of whether I knew the song or not, I found myself dancing along and having a great time. Even if the two women next to me were incredibly drunk and annoying, I had a blast. With the incredible instrumentals, killer vocals, light show, and even some classic, cheesy eighties music video effects on the big screens around the theater, it was one of the most incredible shows I’ve attended. Journey has been putting on amazing shows for 40 years, and even despite the declining health of their original lead singer, they continue to lead crowds across the globe to a night of bright lights and timeless music.

Make sure you pick up Journey’s latest album “Eclipse” now!

Cover Image Credit: http://static1.stereoboard.com/images/stories/2013/images/A-Z%20Main%20Artist%20Images/J/600x503xjourney_doobie_brothers_js_251115.jpg.pagespeed.ic.VWDZVeqCJj.jpg

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Christian Boys Vs. Godly Men

It is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.
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Ladies, there is a huge difference between a Christian boy and a Godly man; therefore, it is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.

So many times I hear girls saying:

“Well, he’s a Christian.”

“He goes to church with me.”

“He listens to Christian music.”

“He went to church camp.”

“He has a favorite bible verse.”

SEE ALSO: What An Attractive Man Looks Like

Well, all of those things are just peachy and there is nothing wrong with doing those things. I mean, they’re all good things to do. But how is his personal relationship with God? How is his prayer life? Does he talk about his relationship with God, with you? Is he truly a follower of the one true God in all aspects of his life? These are some of the characteristics you should be looking for that makes a Godly man.

Ladies, a man will love you great when he loves God greater.

A Godly man will pursue an honest relationship with you. He will be clear of his intentions. A Godly man will worship, pray and passionately praise God with you. Whereas, a Christian boy might open the door for you, a Godly man will open his bible and explore God’s word with you so that you both may grow spiritually, together. While a Christian boy may put on an outward show, a Godly man will live out the love of Jesus daily.

So ladies, are you catching on to this ongoing trend? A Godly man does more because you deserve more.

A Godly man will be a leader. Trust me, I know that in today’s society Godly men are few and far between while Christian boys come in plenty. But you deserve a man who is after God’s heart not just a boy who goes to church. And I know that this Christian boy may seem great and have some really stellar qualities at the time but money and looks fade, whereas, an ongoing love for our savior will not.

The greatest thing a man can do for a woman is to lead her closer to God than himself. (Yes, yes, yes).

SEE ALSO: As Christians, Life Isn't Supposed To Be Hard

So I beg of you, do not settle. Do not settle just because you’re tired of being single, it’s convenient or because you want the relationship your friend has. Single does not equal available and a relationship status does not define you. God uses your season of singleness to prepare you for what is to come. And if you’re dating a Christian boy, he needs to step it up or you need to move on. Wait for a Godly man who is ready to lead you. God’s timing is always better, always. No matter the circumstance. So, do not rush God. (I mean, He is, after all, pretty good at His job). Therefore, turn your full focus to Him and He will direct your path.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Cover Image Credit: Christina Sharp

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To Percy Jackson, I Hope You're Well...

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus are both series which helped shape my life. I want to share my love for them here, with you.

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Two days before I moved from New Jersey to California, I had a late night at a friend's house. Just a few miles outside of my small town of Morris Plains, his house was out of the way and a safe haven for myself and my mother during a harrowing and strenuous move. My father had been across the country already for almost two months trying to hold down his new job and prove himself. His absence was trying on me (at the tender young age of nine years old) and my mother, and we often spent time at my friend's home, as our mothers got along well.

That night came the time to say goodbye for the very last time, and as our mothers were tearfully embracing at the door, he ran up to me and shoved a book in my hands. Bewildered and confused, I tried to give him my thanks but he was already gone - running away in a childish fit that expressed his hurt at my leaving more than any words he could've said. I looked down at the book in my hands. It was a battered copy of Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief," with its binding bulging slightly out in a strange fashion, the cover slightly torn and bent, and quite a few pages dog-eared. The book wasn't in good condition, but I took the time to read it. I was ensnared and enchanted by the lurid descriptions of mythology, of the lovable characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, and the upside-down world they lived in. Over the course of the move and our eventual settling into our new California home, I devoured the series adamantly, reading "The Battle of the Labyrinth" almost five times in the fifth grade and eventually finishing out with "The Last Olympian." The series accompanied me through a difficult move and a whirlwhind of early puberty; by that time, Percy and friends I knew intimately as my own companions. When the series ended, I happily parted with it, and began other literary conquests (namely in the realm of classics).

After an almost year-long break, I re-discovered the series in sixth grade. I hadn't realized that there was a companion series to the first, in fact, a continuation - The Heroes of Olympus. I lapped up "The Lost Hero" and "The Son of Neptune" with greed, and eagerly awaited the arrival of "The Mark of Athena" the following year.

One of my most vivid memories of middle school was sneaking downstairs the morning of the Kindle release of "The Mark of Athena", sneaking past my parents' bedroom as stealthily as I could in the wee hours of the morning to get my kindle and immerse myself in the world. I believe I finished it in about two days. For the next two books in the series, I followed the same pattern: get up early, read it as fast as I could get my hands on it. "The Blood of Olympus", the last book in the series, came out in my freshman year of high school. After finishing the second series, I shelved my much-loved paperbacks for good, and turned myself to other literary pursuits. I eventually relocated to Virginia, and went to college. Percy and friends were almost forgotten until my first year at the University of Virginia.

I was devastatingly alone my first semester at university. I didn't know what to do with myself, entombed by my loneliness. However, at the bottom of my suitcase, I found my old Kindle Paperwhite, with both of Percy's series neatly installed for me. I made a resolution with myself: I would reread both series, reading only at mealtimes where I sat alone. By the time I was finished, I wanted to see where I was compared to when I started.

Re-reading the series was like coming home. It was nostalgia, sadness, and ecstasy wrapped into one. I delighted in revisiting Percy's old haunts, his friends, his challenges. However, it was sad, knowing I had grown up and left them behind while they had stayed the same. It was a riveting memory train which made me look forward to meals, and eased my loneliness at school. Gradually, as the semester progressed, I was reading on Percy's tales less and less, as I found my friends, clubs, and organizations that gradually took up more and more time.

I still haven't finished my re-read, and am about halfway through "The Blood of Olympus". I've come a long way in the almost decade since I first received that tattered copy of "The Lightning Thief", and I still have some ways to go. So thanks, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Jason, Piper, Reyna, Nico, Frank, Hazel, Leo. Thank you for growing up with me. I'll never forget you.

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