Hi there are you ready for ACCELERANT!!
That's how we were greeted the morning of our first FULL day in Gatlinburg. But our morning began LONG before the announcer at Accelerant greeted us. We awoke at six o'clock--after having gone to bed at two--and immediately set about getting ready for the day. After we had conquered the strange hotel shower and once again had our hair and make up under control it was time to head out for Accelerant! :D But before we left Jessie took a pic of me out on the balcony of doom. I look a little tired, wired and crazy huh? Well...I guess that's what comes from having a fruit roll up for breakfast and less than four hours worth of sleep. But hey, I was having fun!
Well when arrived at the convention center the first thing that struck me was how BIG it was! I mean this place was huge and there were SO many people! And for me...little miss introvert...this was all just a tad freaky!! :O I mean it wasn't wild...but I'd never been to something like this so it was a new experience. Now some of you may have been to things like this so you know what I'm talking about...but for those of you who haven't let me just set the scene for you!
We walk into a large high ceiling room that was about the size of nearly TWO gyms. There's a large metal framed stage up front with tons of blue strobe (Accelerant's color is blue apparently) flashing and waving around like nobody's business. There's a Manafest song playing over the sound system and on the three large video screens mounted up above the stage. The room is dark except for the strobe lights and one can obviously see thick smoke hovering in the air from the smoke machines that are mounted somewhere in the room. More large lights that are manually operated sit high above the crowd near the back of the room. The large white lights scan over the stage and the crowd as hundreds of excited teens walk up to the front of the stage to see the two preforming artists who will be coming on in a few minutes. The noise is unimaginable. Laughs, shouts and general chattering hanging above the mass of people wedged into the room; loud music blasting out over everything and everyone; shouts from the workmen as they try desperately to communicate with the young interns working on the lights and crowd control. And of course with all this noise there's vibrations. The convention center had a hard concrete floor that seemed to just pick up every sound made in the room. So each time the speakers boomed so would you. I mean really, I was standing there and I could feel my chest just rattling with the noise! It was intense!
And just so you get a feel of some of the music that was being played here is the Manafest song that I heard when I first came in. After you've watched this try to imagine it being turned up so loud that each beat sends your heart skipping a beat. If you can do that then you get a small idea of the noise level.
But despite the noise (I'm dwelling so much on this because I'd never experienced something like that before) I was riveted. Everything was so new to me. I guess I am a country mouse of sorts...not use to concerts or conventions...so when I walked through that door I thought--for a brief moment--that this was a mistake. I mean, when I came through and saw the strobe lights, the crowd and the booming speakers I felt that I had just walked into an alien world. I've been to concerts before...but they were never like this. So to be perfectly honest...I was scared out of my wits!! Here I was in an unfamiliar state, in an unfamiliar building at an unfamiliar conference. I was freaked out!! 0_0
It didn't take me too long to adjust though...but I will admit I don't adjust quickly. So when Jessie suddenly grabbed my hand and started down towards the stage I was suddenly gripped with nervousness. Seriously...I hadn't been that nervous since I was thirteen!! But anyway, Jessie pulled me through the crowd until at last we found a spot off to the left hand corner of the stage. She told me that the best places were of course up front but you'd have to get there early to get those spots. She also said we'd try for those tomorrow. I wasn't too thrilled with getting up front at first...so I didn't really care. I was just glad we had a spot and that Jessie seemed to know her way around. I was, at the moment, content.
Then it started.
A speaker came out onto the stage, a mike gripped firmly in his right left hand and with a excited, booming voice said:
"Hello are you ready for ACCELERANT!!"
To which the entire room responded with screams and cheers of complete and utter excitement! I screamed too, though mine was more like a hushed scream.
The speaker began talking about Accelerant and how it was their fifteenth year (which again aroused a ton of screams from the crowd.) and how excited they were to have another group of teens to minister to. He spoke a little longer before he lead us in a word of prayer and then lead the opening act on stage...Chasen.
This is one of the songs Chasen performed. Check it out...it's awesome! I was blown away. I loved it!! Trust me when I say these guys give a good show!! They were awesome!! I mean seriously it was one of the coolest things I've ever seen! :D :D :D :D The crowd loved them! And when it was finally time for them to leave Jessie and I were more than just a little sad. But of course there was another person waiting to preform. The totally awesome rapper, J Prophet!
This is the first song he preformed. Check it out. It's just a preview cause for some reason I can't find the full version. But anyway it gives you an idea. This was really amazing when it was blasting over the speakers and everybody was going nuts over him! He was definitely a hit I can tell you that!I was totally impressed by him! For the rest of the trip everyone in our group was singing J. P. R. O. P. H. E. T.! LOL!!
Anyway, after J Prophet was done preforming we went back to our seats and prepared for Tavner Smith to come on and speak to us about taking a stand for God. His speech was amazing!! So moving, so powerful! I was floored. Tavner was so moving...and SO funny! But he moved me to tears several times during the sermon!! He told us that we, as a generation, had to take a stand. That one person can make a difference! It was an incredible speech!! I cried and cried through it! I was so moved!!
After the sermon was over Chasen played one more time before it was time to go. So we made our way through the crowded room until we finally were at the exit. After we left the conference center we walked down through the town of Gatlinberg. The first awesome place I took a picture at was the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. There was this really cool stone ball in the front of the museum that was held up by a spout of water. You could push the ball around and the fun was trying to stop it from moving! This thing was HUGE and really heavy! We played with it for a few minutes and then we moved on. We walked and walked and all the while I took as many pics as I could. Now let me tell you that walking through Gatlinberg is one of the funnest things you can do! The town is set up like a little German town crossed with a little backwoods mountain town. It's actually really cute and the best part of it is...all the boutique stores! I mean they had stores for everything! Airsoft gun stores, purse stores, movie poster stores, they even had a store dedicated to NOTHING but signs!! Another thing awesome about Gatlinberg were all the museums!! :D Like the Guinness World Records Museum.
We didn't get to go into the museum but it looked totally awesome!!
Anyway, after a LOT of walking we finally picked out a restaurant to stop at. Wendy's!! YUMMY! It was SOOOOO good! We laughed and talked and besides a strange dude who kept looking in at us through the large bay window at the front of the restaurant we had fun. Seriously we were sitting right in front of the window and this dude kept peering in...he had his face RIGHT against the glass. It was a little creepy...he freaked Jessie out! LOL!! But anyway, after a meal our group leaders said that we could go into the mall and go shopping, just Jessie, Carey, Lydia and me!! So without a second to spare we shot off to the adjoining mall and set about shopping. Here's a pic of Lydia and Jessie by an old truck that was set up in the mall. I really like this one of them! :D Anyway we stopped off at a ton of totally awesome stores! There was a TY beanie baby store, a pet store, a cowboy hat and boot store, an art store (where you could see a very nice artist working on some really beautiful pieces. We talked to her several times when we came through), a sun glasses store and a weapon store! It was amazing! We had so much fun! As you can see from this picture.
Well, we didn't just shop at the mall. We went out and shopped all around town! I bought a pair of aviator sun glasses (not the ones in the pic above), a giraffe stuffed animal and a penguin stuffed animal for my sister. I also got some taffy for my dad, a frog covered golf ball for my bro, a small sign for my mom and a little stuffed tiger for myself. What? Some girls like stuffed animals...and I'm one of them!
Well, we walked and walked and WALKED until at last our legs felt like they were just going to fall off!! But we did get to rest for a while at the Ripley's Candy Store--yes they have a candy store--and at the Smokey Mountain Candy Store which had the best taffy EVA!! :D :D :D :D In case you were wondering this is the store where I bought my dad his taffy.
Anyway, after our shopping spree was over it was time to head back to the hotel. We had just enough time to freshin up and take a brief nap before it was time to head out to the evening concert at the Conference center. But before we went to the concert we had to go find something to eat. Jessie, Lydia, Carey and I decided on Subway while the rest went to another restaurant a little ways away called Jose`s Fresh Mexican Restaurant. Now I've never liked Subway...but I decided to try it despite my past hatred of it. I was amazed to find that my taste buds have changed since my last subway experience. So anyway...we went to Subway and I was so hungry I ate almost a whole foot long roast beef sandwich!! Yea, normally I never would have been able to manage it...but I guess after all that walking I was hungry. Well anyway, after we ate we walked back to Jose`s (which was about a two or three minute walk from Subway which was across the street from the mall we shopped at earlier). After we reached Jose`s we found that the other's weren't done yet so we just sat outside and talked and laughed and enjoyed some of Gatlinberg's scenic night life! :D Seriously...the whole place is lit with thousands of beautiful lights every night! :D I took some pics while we were waiting. Here's Carey with some of Gatlinberg's lights behind her. Here's Jessie at Jose`s. The restaurant was really cool! It had all these different cool signs set up...most of them liquor but whatever. Anyway, after the leaders and the other youth members were done eating it was off to the concert!! That night we were going to see the Afters preform along with Leeland! We were SO excited! When we got there we had just enough time to get a good spot before the crowd really started to gather. The only bad thing was that we were right in front of a speaker so we were blasted to the point that for a few seconds I felt ill. Don't know what that was about. Anyway, when the Afters came on there was crazy red strobe lights and smoke machines going everywhere! It was awesome! Josh, the leader of the Afters actually jumped off the stage and walked through the crowd...which freaked the security guards out...but there was no reason to worry. He walked through the crowd but he was near the back and I was distracted by some of the other peeps on stage. But suddenly I heard Jessie scream
"REBECCA LOOK OUT!"
When I looked back Josh was coming my way and in an instant he head butted me in the stomach. He turned around and his elbow caught me and we got sorta tangled up. Normally I'd be embarrassed out the wazoo, but in this case I was sorta honored. I mean how many times do you get headbutted by a famous and totally awesome singer?!
Well anyway, after the Afters were through preforming it was time for Leeland. Leeland was pretty good and we really enjoyed them...but by this time it was nearly nine and I was super tired and after the Afters totally wicked show...Leeland seemed a little dry. I mean they were good, but they were just a little less 'jump off the stage' than the Afters. But still, they were very good.
Well after the concert it was time to head back to the hotel. By the time that it was over we were all so tired that we just flopped down and went to sleep.
And that was it for day two! We had loads of fun!! But day three was even better! So tune into tomorrow for day three! :D :D :D :D
Your Ever Busy and still slightly sick blogger,