Date: 25 Apr 1999
To: RichMailList
Subject: [RichMailList 235]: St Louis, MO 04/16 review

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Review of the Homeless Man Tour in St Louis, 4/16/1999
as posted to the Ragamuffin Mailing List by Robin Woodson

From: Robin Woodson
Subject: [ragamuffin] Homeless Man Tour - St. Louis
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 18:48:33

Hey guys,

I didn't arrive as early as I had planned, just five minutes before the
show.  We found some seats in a pretty cruddy location.  Since the show
hadn't started, I told my friend that I was going back to  look for
some of the rag-list members at the Legacy table.  I had made these cute
little name tags to give to the rags I knew were planning on being there.
When I didn't find anyone, I decided to put mine on and maybe someone would
see me and identify themselves.  I began making my way back to my seat and
saw my friend and daughter moving our things to look for a better seat.  I
wasn't sure if the "better seat" was one with a good view or one that was
far away from me.  I have been known to get a little over-excited at Rich
concerts, which can be pretty embarrassing to those around me.  They found
seats with a better view and even let me sit with them.  There was a guy
sitting with three empty seats beside him.  It looked like he was saving
them, but he told us he was alone and invited us to join him.  He said he
had dinner with the Ragamuffins before the concert.  We asked him where.
(The church basement.) He told us he really liked Brennan Manning's books
and asked if I had read any of them.  I told him I had read them all and was
very fond his writing.  When Rich first got into Brennan Manning I bought
one his tape series assuming I would enjoy it as much as Rich did.  I am
very challenged by and love Brennan's writings, but his speaking is very
hard for me to pay attention to.  I brought my tape set hoping to find
someone who may want it.   The man we were sitting by was delighted to get

After I settled down a bit, I noticed the huge cross right in the center at
the front of the church.  It was a perfect setting for TJR tour.  The cross
reminded me of the one on the CD cover.

The concert started.  After several songs, I realized I was so
caught up again that I was forgetting to do things (like take notes
for you all).  I found with the Ragamuffins (as with Rich, and Mitch alike)
that I like to hear what they say just as much as the music they play.  I
tend to get way too wordy when reporting a concert because I add all of my
opinions rather than state only the facts.
So on my honor, I will try to do my best to God and my ragamuffins not to
put you to sleep.  PLEASE forgive me if I fail.

Rick Elias was what I would call the "lead singer" for the evening, although
he never made that claim.  It was just an observation and I'm sure he would
just as soon be lumped in with the rest of the Muffins.  I must confess
right here at the start that I had bought Rick's "Ten Short Stories" way
back when it first came out.  The musical style was not my preference; and I
never had given him another chance.  I had seen him before with Rich; but
when I saw him tonight I had come with a more open mind and was ready to
give him the fair chance he served.

I will try to spare the song line-up since that is usually pretty close to
other locations on the tour.  What I like to cover are my personal
observations and things that the Band shared personally.

"Hard To Get" (Where I began taking notes) - Rick said now that they had The
Jesus Record songs out of the way, they could go ahead and play some of the
other songs they enjoyed playing with Rich.

"Boy Like You, Man Like Me" - They played it in a totally different style
than I had heard.  I REALLY liked it.  It had a great beat. Maybe they
should record it that way - hint hint.

"The Color Green"  (Rick) - It was during this song that I realized I could
not leave the concert without thanking Rick and the Band personally for
choosing to go ahead with the project and the tour.  They didn't have to do
it.  I'm sure (in one way) it would have been easier to just call it quits
and throw in the towel.  But they didn't.  I realized that their choice to
continue was helping me work through my own grief process.  So many of us
feel our time with Rich was cut short and I knew tonight's concert would
bring some sort of "closure."  (Oh, how I hate that word!)  What I didn't
expect was the "breath of fresh air" that it would bring.  It's like the
bulb had been in the ground long enough, and it was high time it come out to
prove that something actually has been happening down there under all that
dark and cold soil.  I had previously set in my mind and heart that tonight
was not going to be a "Rich" concert.  What I didn't think about is that
these guys have talents and sweet spirits of their own that have been there
all along and I just hadn't noticed it before.  I knew THEY weren't there to
try to imitate Rich, but I also knew it would be hard for me not to compare
them to him.  It was a pleasant and welcome surprise to me that I WASN'T
comparing them.  I was just enjoying the excellent job Rick and the Muffins
were doing on all the songs throughout the night.  - I'm not a rocket
scientist, but there were times during the concert that I thought I heard a
background track playing. I could have sworn I heard a hammered dulcimer,
but I didn't see Michael playing it.  (Maybe it was Rich - woooo!)

At this point, Rick mentioned Reed Arvin, who had been instrumental in
Rich's "success" (I hate that word, too).  Reed had produced many of Rich's
CD's.  Rick told us that just last week Reed found out he has cancer.  A
cantaloupe-sized tumor, along with other things, had to be removed.  He said
that he IS in an encouraging condition though.  He asked us to pray for
Reed, specifically for healing and to develop a closer walk with God through
this time of trial.  I am passing this request along to you all because I
know you do not take these requests lightly.  (I feel a fast coming on.
Anyone care to join me?  E-mail me personally at if so.)
Rick then said the next song would be appropriate. . . "Nothing Is Beyond

"Nothing Is Beyond You" - Rick said Amy is prettier than he is, and said
something to the effect that we would just have to put up with him tonight
or go to a big rock star show if we wanted to see pretty.
Rebecca may remember this part better than I do. They had made comments
about some sort of sound device that was making it hard to hear the
audience.  They said we would have to yell especially loud so they could
hear us.  When Rick made the "big rock star show" comment, I hollered out an
embarrassing yell, "We thought this was a big rock star show!"  Well, they
still didn't hear me, and asked me to repeat it.  Needing no encouragement,
naturally I repeated it louder;  and they heard it that time.  But Rick let
me know that it was not a "big rock star show."

"Man of No Reputation" (Mark introduced Rick - He said, "You will notice on
TJR there are ten songs, but on The Jesus Demos there are only nine.  It is
because Rich would not sing the song he felt could only be sung by its own
writer, Rick Elias."  Rick thanked Mark for the very kind introduction.
Rick said that this song he wrote at a very low point in his life.  He
didn't know if he had a place in Christian music or if he could make a
living for his family at it.  But Rich believed in him and said it was one
of his favorite songs.  He said Rich would make him sing it everywhere they
went - just like a proud parent (or an older brother) would.

"If I Stand" (Aaron Smith) - Aaron quoted Ephesians 6:10-18.  This is the
only time during the whole evening that I got teary-eyed.  I began
speculating that out of everything that was said and done here tonight, Rich
would feel this was the most important thing we could hear.  IMHO it was the
one song that we as an audience could not, for the life of us, make sound
good.  Having Rich there to sing it for us sure would have been a nice
touch.  Ours was a very weak and "ragamuffin-ish" version.  We butchered it
up to say the least.  But ironically enough, it was our own weakness that
made the moment so strong for me.  It was definitely one of those times when
I could hear Rich saying loud and clear, "You guys sound terrible!"  (edited
version, he he, ha ha).

Rick encouraged us to sing with them throughout the show.  He said that The
Ragamuffin Band were just "participants" in the show, not "performers."  He
reminded us that we were in a worship service.

The Legacy of A Kid Brother of St. Frank -
Rick pointed out that Rich was better than anyone else at deflecting
the spotlight of celebrityism.  He told us how Rich invested his life in so
many non-musical endeavors, which is why he moved to the reservation.  Jim
Dunning, Jr (accountant and manager), David Mullins and Alyssa and John
Loukota are carrying out Rich's intentions.  Rick said, "The Ragamuffin's
goal is not to deify Rich, but to glorify Christ and to help support the
ongoing mission that Rich had started while he was here.  Rick then
introduced (What a surprise!) . . .

David Mullins
David said he wanted the lights turned down.  He said, "I'm a preacher so I
like to watch people sleep while a talk.  He explained how Rich and Beaker
had tried to follow the example that St. Francis had set.
They tried to live in poverty, chastity and obedience; and tried to mentor
and draw other people to do the same.  He said "Kid Brothers" starts where
Rich ended.  Rich moved to Window Rock on a Navajo Reservation because he
saw people in great need and wanted to bring hope to these people.  He
wanted to open up an opportunity for them to have the arts and some extras
that they would not otherwise have.  He wanted to open these opportunities
to those kids on reservations, as well as in urban cities.  David said that
himself went to Albuquerque to work with about 50 4th-6th graders.  College
kids taught classes, but David and Alyssa took the arts to them.  When he
found that his job was to help them paint face masks, he had visions of
paint everywhere and the room a mess.  In actuality, he found that these
kids painted great and even came back in their free time in the evening.  He
said they intend to hold a week-long camp in July.  Some goals are to open
an Art Center in Wichita and have other branches in other locations.  The
kids will sell their own stuff and make their own money.  He said he went
into a Navajo trading post.  They had beautiful rugs that were priced at
$2000.  When he asked the women who were weaving how much they would make on
them they they said about $80.  Figure up how much the middle man is making
here.  The goal of the "Legacy" is to cut out the "trading posts" and let
the people have what they worked for.  He said some people feel  the goals
of the "Legacy" are too evangelical.  Others feel they are not evangelical
enough.   He said their goal is, through prayer,  to allow God to lead them
where He will,  and to love people on the way.   He said that Jesus taught
us to love.  God sent his Son; and the best way he proved who His Son was,
was by loving.  When He saw the withered hand, He stretched it out and
it was healed.  Then He stopped there and went His way.  Jesus didn't say,
"Now as long as you do right, I'll heal you."  Nor did He say, "As long as
you keep going on the straight and narrow, you'll remain healthy."  God
heals us, not for what we can do for Him, but because He loves us.  Jesus'
hope in healing your hand is that it will heal your heart.  That by loving
and helping you, you will see that He is the Son of God.  But, if you don't
realize that, His hope is that you go on out and use that hand to do
something that you enjoy here in this life.
David said that their prayer is that if they fail, they would fail
miserably, but if they succeed, then they succeed God will receive the
glory.   He said you can help in a few ways.  1)  If you have an instrument
that you bought intending to learn it and haven't, send it to them.  2)  Go
to a Reckless Abandon Spiritual Retreat - Indianapolis-First Christian
(June);  Wichita-(Sept); and Phoenix (Oct or Nov).  $35. fee  3) Go back to
the Legacy Table and check it out.

*MY CHALLENGE TO YOU RAGAMUFFINS IS THIS:  Consider supporting the Legacy of
A Kid Brother of St. Frank on a monthly basis.  I began supporting them as
soon as I heard about their efforts.  What if there are 200 subscribers and
we each support them with $5 a month?   That's $1000.  But, I'm sure  some
of us could give even more?  Imagine what we could do for a cause we already
know we believe in.  Just do me a favor and think about it.

End of Part I


"Screen Door" (the cups) - As far as I could see, it was done perfectly.

Mark said that Rich would give them about 50 or 60 songs he wanted them to
learn, so they'd work real hard and learn them; and then, when it came time
to play, he'd add some and cut some.  "He'd always cut the ones we knew."

"Here In America"
Rick said they had never played it live with Rich before.

Carl, the Jr. Muffin said this was one of his favorite Rich songs.  He did
an excellent job on it.  It really surprised me that ANYONE could sing it
and make it sound good.  But he made it sound great.

Jimmy A. said he's in his mid-40's .  Sometimes he wakes up and
doesn't even like music.   He said Rich wrote a lot of songs that remind him
that singing together is like unshaven men and weaklings doing the best they
can with what they have.  He thanked the church for their hospitality.
Someone on stage said they felt like they had said thank you about 400
times.  Throughout the night they would say, "One of our favorite Rich songs
is . . . "  Rick said that being a Christian doesn't take away our hurt.  It
doesn't even speed up our grief process.  They constantly reminded us that
we are all in this worship experience together and they would invite us to
along over and over.

"Step By Step" - All together and very powerful.

Jimmy A. - Said that they loved Rich; but what he did was to give glory to
Christ.  He talked about Rich not having a home and what it's like not
having a home in Christian music.  But for just a few minutes you find home
in singing a song together.  We are worshipping God.  He said, "I am a weak
person and sometimes my nights are dismal.  My wife wonders why I'm not at
home.  My kid's don't get it.  Life is hard for EVERYBODY.  Bound to Come
Some Trouble is a song that helps you make it through.  He said, "which we
aren't going to sing tonight, 'cause we don't know it."  (laughter).  He
said to run headlong into the arms of Christ.  One way we can do that is by
singing together.

This Train's music must be a little "young" (or something) for me.   I just
don't get it.  Since it is usually a little LOUD, I can't even tell what
Mark's voice sound like.  But when he sang tonight, I heard him (and not all
the other stuff!)  He has really got a beautiful voice.

"Calling Out Your Name" (Rick - wow!)
"Everywhere I Go" (Very Powerful!)
"Awesome God"

Even those who enjoy "perfect" and "polished" productions would have noticed
this one.

Encore - The "Spice-girls" were introduced.  It was hilarious.  Wish you all
could have been there.  With the exception of those who may be rubbed the
wrong way.  (Got a chance to talk with Rick a few minutes after the concert
and had a little chuckle over the spice girl thing.)  Hope I didn't touch on
any sore spots here.

"That Where I Am"
Male parts led by Rick, female parts by Gingermuffin (Carl).
Rick told the signers (sign language) that they were the funkiest signers he
had ever seen.  It was really funny.  He started doing some of their
actions.  Then Mark said he thought they had a mimers following there
tonight also.

We ended with (you guessed it) Doxology.

After the concert I wanted to find Michael to say hi to him.  You may
remember I got to join Mitch and the Kid Brothers in Springfield for Sunday
School in March.  Because I spent so much time looking for him (and getting
side-tracked up in the balcony just staring at that cross), I missed getting
to personally tell Jimmy and Aaron thank you.  We got a group picture, but
it was crowded around us and a lot was going on.  My friend told me that Jim
was impressed with my Ragamuffin Name Tags, but she didn't know anything
about them except that I stuck one on her and told her not to take it off.
I wish so much that I could have told them personally what a great privilege
it was to worship with them.

I think Rich would have been pleased with the way things went.
(Only speculation I realize.)

Love in Christ,
Robin "really weird" Woodson

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