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Again, the possibility to travel to Brazil was before us and again we were held at bay waiting to receive our necessary visas. There had been trouble the previous time we had went to Sao Paulo. On the earlier trip, we had received our visas the day before we left and the plane tickets the day of our departure. The pressure was on again as time ticked down. This particular trip was a little different because we had our nine plane tickets however no visa. Our Brazilian liaisons were working their best to speed the visa process up but it was looking glum. Then just like the year before "boom!" Someone must have put in an extra prayer. There we were at the airport, tickets and visa's in hand. We had picked up our visas the day of departure.
S.O.S. Gospel Fest 94
Our entree into Sao Paulo was a Rock Star welcome. TV camera's and plenty of people were there to rush us through customs without any problem. I was beginning to wonder how much power these Christians had over the government. White Cross, had joined us at our lay over in Nashville and they were welcomed just as warmly. Our hotel was a much nicer hotel than last years.
XUXA's, the Brazilian entertainer, singer, movie, and television personality who had recently came to America with her show was there with her entourage. Though XUXA was no where to be seen her fans were. There was a constant screaming in the streets from her female fans at the door of the hotel. It just so happen that my room was on the side of the building where her fans had gathered. Her dancers were spotted in the hotel lobby wearing their little elves out fits.
The first night we played the same soccer stadium to an estimated 80,000 people. We were to do a short set and White Cross was to finish the night off after us. The P.A. and lights were of equal that which the Michael Jackson tour, that had used in Brazil. I got this wild ideal that it would be great to get close to the people. As we played our last song of the night, "Troubled Times" for which a banner was raised from the audience requesting it, I thought "what a better way than to get close to the people than to stage dive into them."
There was a group of people up front encouraging this action. There was about a six feet valley separating the sea of hands and I. My first concern was making the jump without falling short of my aim. Once I took a running leap and landed, a second concern became evident. The people did not want to give me back. For two minutes I fought, kicked, and punched for air. I could not see even one security guard in sight to pull me from this seeming doom. My concern was I was afraid of going completely to the ground and then be trampled or suffocated. I did not want to be transported in a flat coffin back to the states. Several people tugged at my shirt pulling one
arm free. They wanted my shirt and were determined to snatch it. I pulled
back but knew I was badly outnumbered. The shirt began to cut the back of my neck because of the tug o war that was going on. Then I felt someone yanking at my pants. I said to myself "I was tired of being nice." I did not want to start knocking Brazilians out with lefts and rights but "I was not going back to the stage naked" either. Just when I began my one-man assault on the 80,000 fans, I heard Jerry break into a double time Mosh beat, "thanks Jerry" I thought, and "where was Vince?" I later learned that instead of jumping in to save the singer Vince had decided to reposition the hi-hats for Jerry. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw a couple of security guards fighting to save me from this dilemma. I turned toward the biggest one and like a mountain before me, I made my climb to safety. Back on stage, my adrenaline was peaked. Thank goodness, this was the last song. Downstairs I met Sharon who had tears in her eyes. The security had swept me away like the president and she was not sure of how badly I had been beaten. I was able to walk the corridor but collapsed in the dressing room from exhaustion. My arms, back, and neck were burned, cut, and bruised but I was alive and felt victorious. Many people thought it was a crazy thing for me to do however it was important to me to touch the people physical and to send a message that Bride was the band for Brazil. White Cross-stood in shock even though they knew I was the wildest rocker in Christian music. The second night we played a full set for 130,000. The only stage diving I did was to the side of the stage into the arms of friends that had staged the second night of jumps.
I preached the gospel using an interpreter both nights to a very responsive crowd. Security the second night was tightened because of my first night antics. I could not even go to the toilet without being followed.
The revival was on again and the Brazilians dedication to the Lord was evident every where we went. They gave from their hearts all that they had. They wanted God to move mightily in their country. They did not want the commercialized God that we have made in the United States, but they wanted the God of Abraham.
Sunday we chose to get rested up because we had one more show to play. The next show would be Monday, to 4000 people at the church. This was the best of the three shows. White Cross-opened the night with a good hard set. It was nice hanging with Scott Wenzel again and Mike the drummer who we had known for a long time. It was great getting to know Tracey the bassist who at one time had played for Seriah and the new guitarist Barry, which took Rex Carroll's place. Barry had been formerly with Rick Cua. The fellowship was close and I think both bands had much respect and admiration for one another. We left Brazil on Tuesday, feeling like we had accomplished much. We had preached the gospel played three out standing shows and had great fellowship.
The lay over in Nashville the trip was topped by the presence on Johnny Cash and June Carter in the airport. Sharon had spotted them and chased them down. We got a quick autograph and a handshake. I figured it was as close to Elvis as I would get.
Home Sweet home
Back to the states for a reality, check. Our next show home was for about 350 people in Greenville South Carolina. That very same week we had shows in Helsinki Finland and in Stockholm Sweden. We had never traveled to either of these countries and were really looking forward to the trip. The only unfortunate thing about the trip was having to change planes and airlines so
many times along the way. The first show was in Stockholm Sweden where we
played for about 4000 kids. To our surprise Andre Crouch was the headliner at this particular show and the show the following night in Helsinki Finland. Andre is one of the most vital and influential artists in contemporary music. He has a international following, Andrae' gives new meaning to the term "world class artist."
We shared the stage with Rez Band also, which was always a treat to hang with Glen Kaiser. The Finland show was smaller only boasting about 1500 kids. We spent an hour and a half with Andre after the second show and absorbed what he had to say. He was a very animated fellow with a lot of knowledge stored in his head. I found his eccentric behavior refreshing it reminded me of Leee Childers from many years ago.
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