Casting Crowns, Danny Gokey & Unspoken at the Milwaukee Theatre
Did you think I would SKIP seeing Danny Gokey return to his hometown on The Next Very Thing Tour?
I didn’t think so.
When the tickets went on sale I managed to snag two tickets from the Ticketmaster phone App. It told me they were the “Best Available” tickets when the Casting Crowns pre-sale started. I’ve been burned by letting the ticket seller pick my seats (Eau Claire for the Celebrate Christmas Tour….) but I was on my phone at work. So, I grabbed them, checked out and hoped for the best.
My husband’s sister, Barb, said she’d love to go (she’s been at a few Danny events with me through the years: Dodge County Fair, SHF Gala, Spring Creek Church.) We made plans to have a late lunch, do the River Walk in downtown MKE and head to the show!
And then our beautiful spring-like weather returned to normal Wisconsin February weather and we adjusted our plans to account for the dropping temperatures and cold rain falling. (Glass of wine in a warm location, anyone?)
We arrived at the theater just before door opening. (Bless Milwaukee Theatre for having a warm vestibule for everyone to get out of the rain.)
Upon entering we were impressed at the beautiful building that was opened in 1909 and recently remodeled. And our seats were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. They were second row seats in the middle orchestra section. And our seats didn’t have 1st row seats in front of them.
Next up, find Miguel Perez, Danny’s guitar player, for a scheduled DGNews “Get to Know the Band” exclusive! Miguel is a talented musician, a pleasure to interview and he’s extremely kind to fans. Thanks to Barb for being my videographer as I interviewed Miguel. I’ll update this post when his interview is ready!
And then it was time for the show to start! Unspoken was just being introduced when we got back to our seats. Lead singer, Chad Mattson is joined by (fellow Maine native) Jon Lowy, Mike Gomez & Ariel Munoz. They sang their hit songs, “Higher” and “Start a Fire” but also did a feature of their musical influences that ranged from Vanilla Ice to Santana! I’ve included Perlyshell’s video of their set HERE.
The crew setting the stage worked so smoothly that Danny’s band came on practically before Unspoken exited.
The “Pride of Milwaukee” was introduced and Danny opened with “Hope in Front of Me” to great crowd enthusiasm and applause. Danny performed seven more of his songs, Tell Your Heart to Beat Again, More Than You Think I Am, RISE, Chasing, Better Than I Found It (with Meaghan) from Casting Crowns, If You Ain’t In It, Stronger Than We Think. You can see my earlier post about his set on the tour HERE.
Danny closed with a high energy performance of The Comeback. The crowd wanted an encore, but soon Casting Crowns took the stage with their full stage set.
The Milwaukee Theatre is listed as a +4,000 seat venue. It looked full – except for the obstructed view seats on the far sides. Lead singer of Casting Crowns, Mark Hall, as well as other band members are youth ministers back in the Atlanta area. Mark is a very good lead vocalist as well as an incredible story-teller! His stories took up more concert time than I am use to seeing, but I found him captivating. I especially liked his yarn about the teenage girl named Sarah in this photo.
You can watch PerlyShell’s video of Casting Crown HERE.
After they finished their two sets, Casting Crowns returned to do an encore song: Glorious Day and they brought Chad Mattson and Danny with them.
I’d seen Danny’s father enter the theater and I was told that many more of his family was also there. So when we approached the autograph table where “Unspoken” was seated after the show, it wasn’t surprising that Danny wasn’t there. It makes sense that he would try to squeeze in some family time and not meet fans that night. But we waited to be sure. As we were about to give up, I looked down at my silenced phone and saw two messages from Danny Gokey. And they were from 23 minutes ago.
“Tony is looking for you”
“Come to the front of the stage”
What could this be about and why was Danny messaging me?
By the time we had convinced the security guards that we had a legitimate reason for entering the stage area as the crew dismantled the set, there was no sign of Danny’s road manager, Tony.
And no one knew where he was.
Oh, oh. Had I read the message too late?
I tried out my skills at being persuasive…. The security guards looked unconvinced at first but then led us to where the semis were being loaded and we waited back stage for Tony. Just then Danny’s family walked past us. Well, Danny had clearly been back here, but where is he now?
We stood around a little while looking a bit out-of-place. But we tried to stay out-of-the-way of the busy crew. I recognized Chad from Unspoken returning from the signing. I went up to him, complimented him on his set and said, “You’re sharing a bus with Danny’s band aren’t you?” He said he was and we joked about him letting me on the bus while the guys were getting “comfortable” after the show….. He then picked up his phone, put it on speaker phone and he called Danny. He told him, “Jan is waiting on you”. I stammered a little bit but thanked him for his help.
Within minutes Danny came bursting through the door in front of us and gave me a big hug. Turns out, he had originally asked Tony to bring us back stage, but I ALMOST missed the messages! And he had another surprise for me, Hsing Liu, the former CEO of Sophia’s Heart in Nashville, was right behind him and I got another big hug!
The four of us visited a little bit and we talked about upcoming events. I then looked straight into Danny’s eyes and I had the pleasure to tell him how thrilled we were for the wonderful things happening for him.
Soon it was time for Danny to drag his suitcase to the bus and for Barb and I to dodge the cold rain on the way back to our car.
Yes, this was definitely a concert I wouldn’t have wanted to miss, and if you love Christian music, please make plans to catch Danny on this tour! You can check out the remaining dates (and Danny’s solo shows) HERE.
You know I’ll be just as excited the next time Danny returns to Milwaukee!
Who’s coming with me?
And one more kind of funny picture, because I can
Our thanks to Perlyshell for sharing her videos!