11ive: Jars of Clay in Concert (DVD/VHS)
- reviewed by reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Sep
I'm sure many of you can remember when you first saw Jars of Clay in concert, perhaps on tour with the likes of Michael W. Smith or Sting in support of Jars' self-titled debut and breakthrough hit single, "Flood." You probably also recall how uncomfortable they seemed in a live setting. They weren't necessarily bad in concert – they got the audience singing along and jumping around alright – but they almost seemed a little robotic in how closely they stuck to the original song arrangements on the album. I especially remember how introverted lead singer Dan Haseltine seemed, saying little to the audience besides "How's it going [city name]?" This was a band literally thrust into the spotlight after overnight success, with minimal tour time clocked. Those memories are what make 11ive: Jars of Clay in Concert a particularly special viewing experience. Dan, keyboardist Charlie Lowell, and guitarists Matt Odmark and Steve Mason have come such a long way in eight years, becoming one of Christian music's best live bands. They no longer simply try to recreate the album on stage. They perform well, they have a sense of humor, and they have something substantial to say – in other words, they connect with their audience.
Jars are indeed true musicians, incorporating a variety of different instruments to their sound and playing them all very well. Steve and Matt are exceptional guitarists, Charlie is a gifted keyboardist, and Dan has gradually revealed himself to be a very capable lead vocalist over the years and a surprisingly good multi-instrumentalist (drums, accordion, etc.). Along with their touring rhythm section, Jars of Clay has sharpened their craft in a relatively short time to become a truly impressive live act. Additionally, they have a knack for reinventing their songs to keep them fresh and interesting – small subtleties in "Crazy Times" have made it a reliable rocker, "Liquid" seems to change style with every tour, and "Worlds Apart" has become an extensive ten-minute finale. Though they look like a relatively clean-cut college band with a costly production, Jars is quite the opposite of a record-label packaged boy band with instruments. These are talented musicians with a strong rock presence that only comes with artistic growth and years of experience.
Now that Jars has four studio albums to their credit, The Eleventh Hour Tour is a great time to catch the band in their early prime, presenting a near-perfect blend of excellent new material and old favorites.
In addition to the concert footage,