This Past Weekend in North Dakota
Tue., Dec. 13. 2005 12:54am EST
As the old saying goes, "Things go better with North Dakota." Well, actually, the old saying was "Things go better with Coca Cola," but regardless of that, things did go better in North Dakota this past weekend than they did the last time we were there. But wait ... wasn't Friday's concert in Fargo our first ever in the Peace Garden State? Yes, indeed, but it wasn't our first flight to Fargo nor was it our first overnight stay there. That was back in July 2003, when we flew there to play Spirit Fest Midwest, a festival in Detroit Lakes MN, right over the North Dakota state line.
On that trip, we made it to Fargo a day before our luggage, prompting one of our favorite newsletter story headlines, "No Cargo in Fargo." But the rest of that story was even better. Without luggage and a car, we walked to a nearby Outback Steak House for dinner that night, and our waiter just happened to be the brother-in-law of a famous Christian rocker, Audio Adrenaline's lead guitarist, Tyler Burkum! Even though we'd just met, he actually let us borrow his car so we could go to Wal-Mart and buy clothes, toiletries, etc. That got us through the night, and our clothing and equipment arrived in time for the show the next afternoon. God is good.
This past weekend's headline almost wound up being "Fargo via Chicago is a No Go" or "Fargo: Too Far to Go." Both Pittsburgh and Chicago (the location of our connecting flight) got belted with snow Thursday night, canceling our 5 a.m. Friday flight. Thankfully, we were able to to get rescheduled for a noon flight, but that flight got into Chicago later than expected, which didn't matter that much, because our flight from Chicago to Fargo was delayed several times, and after we boarded, we had to wait on the runway for almost an hour. We finally touched down at the Fargo airport at about the time our opening band, Unshaded Lamps, went on stage.
Praise God we had an opening band and such a helpful staff of volunteers at Salem Evangelical Free Church in Fargo. They fell upon us like a NASCAR pit crew and helped us set up our equipment and merchandise in a flash. Thanks to Dawn, Jay and Nancy for coordinating the event, to Fargo Jody and Fargo John for acting as our chauffeurs, and to Michelle, Ruby, Sue, Barb, and Jean, for running the merchandise table.
As a matter of fact, all three North Dakota concerts last weekend were both well staffed and well attended. ApologetiX superfans Jon, Carol, and Missy Eklof did their part by coming to all three concerts. Having seen us play in 13 different states, Jon is now in a three-way tie with Larry Davis and Chris Christopherson for second place on the all-time list. Carol and Missy aren't far behind, either.
On Saturday, we embarked for Bismarck, with a last-minute stop at the Fargo Burger King. The lady behind the counter asked, "Are you guys from here? You have this ... accent." If you're familiar with the famous Fargo accent, you'll appreciate the irony. Thanks to Jim Koch for coordinating the Bismarck concert, and to Lynn and Mickey for running the merchandise table. After the concert, ApologetiX bassist Keith Haynie picked up yet another name for his collection when somebody mistakenly called him "Kelly," continuing a long tradition (See the FAQ on our site titled "How Did Keith Get So Many Names?")
Sunday's concert in Jamestown ND was our 100th of the year and our 777th all time. Thanks to Kelvin Friesen and Pastor Randy for coordinating the event, to Michele and Ruby for running the merchandise table, and to J.P., Bernie, and Zack for making the sound run smoothly. Thanks also to Jimmy Tanner, who has been filling in on drums for Bill "Moose Rieger" since late October, has now played 15 concerts in 11 states with us!