Sweetwater TX 1992

Sweetwater Texas February 10, 1992

by Al Dostal

Abilene Reporter News February 14, 1992

Mullins bares soul - and feet - to fans

Contemporary Christian music artist Rich Mullins added his name to the list of people who think the best audiences to play to live in the Big Country.

"I love Texans," he said during hia concert Monday night in Sweetwater's Municipal Auditorium. "The reason I love Texans is because they love Texas. They show their appreciation at the concerts and they love to join in."

Mullins performed in the ice cold auditorium barefoot something, he does at all of his concerts.

"Everything I do is crazy, so going barefoot is only natural. Sometimes it is hard performing night after night on stage and having people cheering and yelling for you," he explained after the concert. "It is hard not to let it go to your head. So by going on stage without shoes it makes me realize I'm not going out there to put on a performance but to play and sing. It helps keep me humble.

"Besides if I wore shoes all the time my feet would stink!"

Mullins brought along several performers to provide almost three hours of music without an intermission.

Jeff Sacks, a 24-year-old singer-songwriter opened the concert with three songs from his new album Jeff Sacks. A preacher's son from Plainville Kan., he sang a song written for his parents and another dedicated to his cousins who had been divorced and all people who have experienced divorce.

Nkki and Lee Lingram, who perform as Avenue g, showed their many talents opening with a rock song "Giving Up the Part." With Mullins and Sacks on keyboards, and Beaker and Jimmy A on guitar playing backup Nikki's "Home" sounded like a '60s Joan Baez classic.

The entire group continued to play backup for Avenue g and Lee switched to accordion for their "I Will Go," which sounded like an Irish folk song.

Mullins moved from the sidelines to center-stage for his trademark "Rain." Dividing the audience into sections and having them rub their hands together, snap their fingers, clap their hands and slap their knees to sound like rain.

"If you do it right it will sound just like rain," he explained to the audience. "And if you do it great we'll all get wet!"

He then proceeded to show why he has had six albums in the charts in six years. During the concert he played nine different instruments from flute to the keyboards, from guitar to plastic cups! (Sacks and Avenue g joined him playing plastic cups to "It's As Useless As a Screen Door On a Submarine")

Often called the poet laureate of Christian music, his wide range of music and meaningful lyrics soon made it clear where he got his title.

Playing hit after hit from most of his albums, he sang more than 20 songs.

Mullins took a short break while Jimmy A took the spotlight for three numbers from his album Entertaining Angels. His instrumental work had a "new age" Kitaro sound to it, which Jimmy credits to his jazz background.

Mullins returned to finish with his latest hits and evergreen standards. Starting with "While the Nations Rage," he played "Boy Like Me Man Like You," "Place to Stand," "If I Stand," and "Awesome God," before dosing with "Step by Step" and "ICU."

His encore included "Oh God You Are My God."

It was the last concert for Mullins in the area. He plans to go into full time missionary work after his current tour.

"I know there are a lot of people who would give anything to be in my shoes performing on stage," he said "There were a lot of people who paid to get in tonight who would have rather been up on that stage. I do enjoy it but I feel a calling to missionary work now."