A Night with Kari Jobe

Come to find out, a concert report for my American popular music class can easily double as a blog post. Like those scarves we girls used to wear as belts and headbands…

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Under flowery, painted hanging lamps in an otherwise dark auditorium, Kari Jobe sang onstage Friday night at Antioch Community Church with eyes closed and hands raised heavenward. Despite being surrounded by six band members, Jobe’s humble and open personality gave the concert an intimate vibe. Her “It’s not about me, it’s about God” attitude is reassuring as the 29-year-old music pastor from Southlake, Texas has recently come to national attention for her worship music and performed at the 2010 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. The concert was more of an all-music worship service as she started off with a revamped version of the traditional doxology “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” and “No Sweeter Name.” Standouts from the evening included “You Are For Me” in which she added a soft Spanish verse at the climax and “Revelation Song,” one of her most well-known covers.

Jobe was able to get almost the entire audience singing along with “How Great is Our God” which lead into “Healer,” both of which have been popular in churches, chapel services and on the radio for a number of years. The audience clapped, jumped and danced to the more active praise songs, but they also closed their eyes, raised their hands and slightly swayed to the slower worshipful songs. Unlike most concerts, the audience actually kept their eyes closed for much of the performance including praying for others around them. Strangers smiled at each other, caught up in the moment. The audience shouted “Amen” when Jobe spoke of being able to tangibly sense the Holy Spirit in her hotel room, knowing the church had been praying for her before her arrival.

This concert was very meaningful to me as a researcher of Christian music because it was a rare find: energetic and engaging, yet worshipful and reverent. Though light shows and dramatic fog effects have their place in concerts, this was not one of those concerts. Much of the music was familiar to me as I own her CD, but she also revealed new music that had never been performed in front of an audience. When I looked up her home church, I found it hard to believe that Gateway Church was so large since she made the concert feel like an acoustic set at a small coffee shop. Though her covers were well done, I enjoyed her own music more as it was more authentic. I look forward to hearing more from Kari Jobe in the future as her career develops.

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p.s. She also spoke the next morning at Antioch’s Create 2011 conference for artists of all mediums. Her breakout session, titled “Intimacy with God,” included a game of telephone as an analogy for how we get too much of our knowledge about God secondhand. One of my favorite quotes from her session was “Creativity is found on your knees.” I loved that because it points out that spending time with Him is not a hindrance or waste of time we could spend working on our art. It is the motive, fuel and life that allows us to make the art in the first place.

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