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Hillsong United Aftermath Concert Greensboro Coliseum

The popular Christian praise band, Hillsong United made their way to Greensboro last week. These guys are in a unique position where their songs are known and sung in local churches all across the world. Who needs radio airplay when you have millions of believers singing your songs every sunday, right? And because of this, Hillsong United attract arena-sized crowds wherever they go. They even managed to sell out the Staples Center in Los Angeles earlier this year. And after seeing them at the Greensboro Coliseum, I can tell you first hand that they know how to put on an arena-sized show.

It’s an interesting dynamic that the team has to balance, really. Singing praise songs to God is an intimate thing so how do you handle and respect that aspect of it when you perform in an enormous venue? I mean, it’s a tough enough job just to command the attention of 10,000 people for two and a half hours. But to do that PLUS bring people closer to God just adds to the complexity of it all. In any case, I have to say that Hillsong United did a tremendous job both as a live band and getting those in attendance pumped up for Christ.

Yes, they incorporated all the elements found in a typical concert including a synchronized light show, video screens and top-notched sound equipment. But thankfully they did things with humility and sincerity that helped transform the concrete arena feel more like church. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t your touchy-feely, wimpy campfire singalong that people usually think of in terms of church praise music. These guys rocked. the band was tight and played like a well-oiled seasoned arena-rock band. The guys out front (Joel Houston, JD Douglass, Matthew Crocker and Jad Gillies) were full of energy and were infectiously enthusiastic about sharing their love for Christ.

Highlights included: “With Everything” (with the band pounding away and the arena shouting in one voice, it was absolutely phenomenal!!), “All I Need is You” (would have loved to have lingered in the sweet moment a while longer but the band had more songs to perform), “Shout Unto God”, “The Stand” and the one-two-three punch of the high-energy encore led by JD Douglass (“Your Name High”, “Take it All” and “Yours Forever”).

I also want to give props to the audio/visual team. They obviously spent a good amount of time/resource to create unique visuals/lighting design for each song. It definitely enhanced the experience. Also old venues like the Greensboro Coliseum weren’t originally built/designed with concerts in mind so it’s pretty difficult to get decent sound in places like these. But under the circumstances, I thought the sound crew did a spectacular job. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it sound as good at the Coliseum before.

AM Posted by Admin

New giveaway at the ampm facebook page

Ever since a buddy of mine introduced me to ampm's Chili Conquistador burger while visiting him out in Cali, I've been itching for the good folks at ampm to open up a joint here on the east coast. They're still not in my state just yet but they're getting close. Last I heard, they've got locations in Kentucky and Georgia so they're slowly but surely making their way eastward.

Anyway for those lucky enough to have an ampm nearby, be sure to check out their facebook page to take part in their Too Much Good Stuff giveaway. It's an aptly named giveaway since they've got ipods, ipads and macbooks for prizes. Take a spin on the virtual slot machine and you can be an instant winner. It's a fun lil' diversion and who knows, maybe you could wind up winning that grand prize trip to Vegas.

I tried to enter but apparently the contest in only open to those that live in a state that has an ampm (AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, NV, OH, OR, WA, WI). Founded in 1978, ampm is more than just a regular ol' convenient store. They serve great food, hot coffee and not to mention their famous Thirst Oasis beverage fountain that features up to 24 different thirst-quenching flavors.

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Counting Crows – August and Everything After – live CD/DVD to be released

Eagle Rock Entertainment are proud to announce the simultaneous release on CD, DVD and Blu-ray on 29 August 2011 of August And Everything After – Live At Town Hall from Counting Crows. The DVD and Blu-ray are the first ever video releases from this acclaimed band, and all formats of this release feature the complete album “August And Everything After” performed live with extended running times and a few surprises. Of course the set list for this cracking live set includes the hit singles “Mr Jones”, “Round Here” and “Rain King”.

Counting Crows‘ debut album August And Everything After was released in late 1993 and went on to sell over 7 million copies in America. In the UK it charted at No.16 and has sold over 400,000 copies. On 18 September 2007, the band performed the complete album live at Town Hall in New York City.

AM Posted by Admin

Yet another body-swapping movie – The Change-Up starring Ryan Reynolds

I'm not sure what to think about the upcoming Ryan Reynolds movie titled The Change-Up. I mean come on, yet another "body-swapping" movie? It's got the dreaded "been there done that" smell all over it. Off the top of my head, I count at least five movies that used the well-worn premise in the past. let's see now… there's "Freaky Friday" a 70's movie that was already re-made with Lindsey Lohan. Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin starred in one back in the 80's titled "All of Me". Dudley Moore did an awful one with Kirk Cameron titled "Like Father Like Son". The following year after the Moore/Cameron switcheroo, Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage released their own take on the formula called "Vice Versa". Even goofball Rob Schneider did one called "The Hot Chick". blech. So, needless to say, Hollywood has long run out of ideas.

But having said that, I'm not going to count out "The Change-Up" just yet. Ryan Reynolds is still a hot box office draw. Appearing alongside Reynolds is Jason Bateman who I've personally enjoyed watching in other comedies. And then there's another favorite of mine, Leslie Mann. With help from her husband Judd Apatow, Mann did some great work on a good number of high-profile comedies including "40 Year old Virgin", "Knocked Up" and "Funny People". Also involved with the flick is the director of "The Wedding Crashers", David Dobkin and the writers from "The Hangover". So, there's a lot going for it. And I have to admit that Leslie Mann and her "thai food" bit at the end of the movie trailer is hilarious. Let's hope that's not the only laugh-out-loud moment in the film.