We began by rising at 6:30 AM on next to no sleep. It's funny, we're a family of seven (including an infant with a portable crib) but when it comes to getting out of the hotel and getting on the road, we've done this so many times now that we can pack up and be out the door in about 90 seconds.
We stayed only a few minutes from the church. Our load in was quick, but it was starting to drizzle! In all the years that we've done our show, we've never had to load in during a raging thunderstorm. I've always wondered when it was going to happen. Well, today was almost it. The last case was out of the trailer and in the door when the rain really started to come down.
Suddenly- there was a LOUD boom of thunder. The entire ceiling of the building shook, causing all the lights to sway, and... no power! There we stood in the dark, with only the emergency lights. The rest of our setup took place that way. Now, I began to wonder if they would still have their service (and if we'd still have a show) with no power. Thankfully there was no question. Their praise band switched into "unplugged" mode and began practicing some acoustical songs.
Just before the show began, several of the emergency lights began to lose their power, making the area even darker. We went on stage lit by the lights of whatever they had been able to find (such as battery powered work lights off to the sides and even people's cell phones in the first few rows). No power meant that I had no microphone. That's not a problem, though, because way back when, I did my first zillion shows with no mic and I know how to project my voice. The bigger issue was no music. Music is essential to several of the illusions. So, the praise band from the church sat behind us and would play some upbeat music when we needed it. It's been quite a while since I've worked with a live band- they were awesome!
Just as we were approaching the final few illusions in the show, the power was restored. Here's the crowd, still sitting in all kinds of weird spots due to the lighting situation:
After the show, Pastor Mark took us to lunch at "Granite City". They're a chain out this way that would remind you of a more upscale TGI Friday's. We were preparing to hit the road and Pastor Mark mentioned that we'd be passing the Mall of America. Huh?
This is truly one of the most awesome things about a trip like this. Our children get to see so many things that they'd never see otherwise. Ever been to the Mall of America? It's the largest shopping mall in this country. I'm not sure how I could even begin to describe this place. In the less than two hours that we had, we didn't come anywhere close to seeing the more than 500 restaurants on 4 levels. There's even a HUGE amusement park inside! The kids and I rode this thing:
There's also a HUGE lego store, which I had a hard time pulling the boys out of.
So, tomorrow it's Waterloo, Iowa. We can officially check Iowa off the list of states we've never visited!