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'All Star United' Rocks Waldorf 
Friday, February 27, 101 people gathered at Immanuel Lutheran Church, in
Forest City, IA, to watch the Grammy                           nominated
Christian music group, All Star United, perform in concert. From the
time the band broke into their opening song, "La        La Land," to the
end of their encore, the audience was captivated.  It was a unique and
very enjoyable experience.
    The performance was done in a very laid-back
atmosphere.  The members of ASU did a wonderful job at interacting with
the audience.  In between songs, the lead singer, Ian Eskelin, would
talk with the crowd and get them involved in the performance. He also
took the time to tell the stories behind most of their songs before they
sang them.  By being so personal, it was apparent to the audience that
the members of ASU have a lot of fun on stage.  Being apart of this
experience made the crowd enjoy the performance even more.      ASU has
been together for nearly one and a half years.  They have performed
around 300 shows since their self-titled debut album came out and have
gained national and international acclaim, including having the most
Christian record sales in Europe a mere four months ago.  It was made
evident throughout the concert that the guys in ASU love to joke around.
Eskelin introduced their very young-looking drummer, Christian Crowe, as
being 13 and a-half.  In reality, he is 26 and married.  Later on,
Eskelin asked the keyboard player, Patrick McCallum, to play the drums
for the audience because he looks like Kermit the Frog when he plays
them.  Although it took some persuasion, McCallum finally got behind the
drum set, and Eskelin's point was proven.
    Eskelin was not the only one throwing the jokes around.  The
band, which included Crowe, McCallum, Dave Clo (guitars) and Gary Miller
(bass) took every possible opportunity to throw him off-guard.  Just
coming from the Grammy Awards two nights before, they had plenty of
tricks up their sleeves.  For example, one of the times Ian was
preparing to sing their next song, the band broke into the song, "Jesus
Freak," by the popular Christian music group, D.C. Talk.  D.C. Talk took
home the Grammy Award that ASU was nominated for.  It was obvious that
this completely threw Eskelin off-guard, but he managed to play along
with the joke by pretending to be upset and stormed off the stage.  He
returned to the stage after that, laughing at the joke.
    Although much of the concert was full of jokes and laughter,
Eskelin took a few minutes in the middle of the concert to explain that
he has complete peace and joy in his life.  He admitted to the crowd
that he messes up in life a lot, but that if something weird were to
happen to him after the concert, like being struck by a lightening bolt,
he would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would go to Heaven
because he has Jesus as his best friend.
    When Eskelin said what he wanted to share, the band went back to
playing their songs.  The last song they played before saying goodnight
was "Smash Hit."  At this point, McCallum walked to the front of the
stage with his keyboard and began playing it while holding it upside
down over his head.  The song ended and the band walked off the stage,
only to be brought back for an encore.
    Almost as if he were trying to decide if he should be
embarrassed or laughing, Eskelin admitted that they had played all of
the songs on their record, and did not have different ones to play,
something he never has had to tell a crowd.  So, he was open for
suggestions.  They ended up playing "Awesome God" by the late Rich
Mullins.  After that, they played their own, "Beautiful Thing," again
simply because it is Eskelin's personal favorite song they have written.
    Following "Beautiful Thing," the band once again threw Eskelin
off-guard by playing disco music.  Eskelin told the crowd that this is a
point in their show that he never knows what to expect from the band.
He then began pulling people out of the crowd up onto the stage and
invited anyone else who wanted to come up on the stage and dance to feel
free to join them.  When the band stopped playing, the crowd jumped off
the stage and the band said their final goodbye before walking
backstage.  Despite the facts that the band members were tired and
Eskelin was feeling a bit under the weather, ASU put on a show that was
truly second to none.
    Back at Oak Knoll ( Waldorf College's President's
house), the members of ASU settled into their rooms and then joined a
select group of Waldorf students in the kitchen for some food.  Many of
the group members went to bed shortly after grabbing something to eat
because they were so exhausted.  However, McCallum and Clo decided to
stay up to answer questions and talk for a while.  Both were more than
willing to share their stories regarding how they got involved in ASU.
    McCallum said that he is from Hobbs, New Mexico.  After
moving to Albuquerque, NM, he began touring with another Christian music
group, Echoing Green.  It was when he was with them that he met Eskelin,
who was in need of a keyboard player.  He left Echoing Green and began
touring with Eskelin.  Eskelin was a solo artist at the time, but
decided to join with his backup band to form All Star United.  McCallum
said that they chose the name "All Star United" simply because they
liked it.  There is not any kind of a secret meaning behind the name.
    Clo said that he met Eskelin a long time ago in Miami.
He ended up helping Eskelin write some of the songs on their debut
project.  
    "I wasn't going to tour because I had just had a kid,"
Clo said.  "They had another guitar player that didn't work out, so I
was filling in."  
    Adding some humor to the conversation, Clo said, "Then
they realized I was the best guitar player in the world."  With a
straight face, but obviously joking,  Clo added, "that's B-E-S-T."
    On a more serious note, Clo said, "After the first four
singles went to No.1, we knew this was something we needed to commit
to."
    Progressing deeper into conversation, McCallum began to
share how he came to believe in Jesus Christ, the basis of ASU.  He
spoke of how he did not grow up a Christian, but that he chose to live
the Christian life after meeting a guy who asked him to play backup
music for him.  He told McCallum that he wanted to sing songs with
Christian lyrics.  Despite the fact that he was not a Christian himself,
McCallum agreed because he wanted to play music.
    "The guy was really cool," he said.  "He didn't try to
yell at me that I was going to Hell.  He met me where I was at.  I went
to church with him and thought it was really cool."  It was at this time
that McCallum decided he wanted to become a Christian.
    The members of ASU have all chosen to live the Christian
lifestyle that McCallum talked about.  They all view their belief in
Jesus as a vital part of being the people they are and want to become.
Despite the misconception that many people have, Christianity is a
lifestyle that is full of joy, and the members of ASU display this
perfectly.  One cannot help but to feel the joy and excitement of
Christianity flow through these five men.
"I see people every night just throwing away their Christianity,"
McCallum said.  "It's so hard for me to see because I just want to say,
'How do you not want what I have?'."
Random ponders....

-Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?
-Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?
-How does someone who drives a snowplow get to work in the morning?
-If 7-11 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on
the doors?
-If a cow laughed, would milk come out its nose?
-If nothing ever stick to Teflon, how do they make Teflon stick to the
pan?
-If you were in a vehicle going to speed of light, what happens when you
turn on the headlights?
-Why do they put Braille dots on the keypad of the drive-up ATM?
-Why is it that when you are driving and looking for an address, you
turn down the radio?  (Yikes, I do that!)

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