Best night ever: a look back

John I. Carney
10 min readApr 28, 2017

The current Facebook meme of posting a list of 10 concerts and asking people to guess which one you did not attend got me thinking about one of my all-time favorite blog posts. I was going to link to it on Facebook — then I remembered that, a few months ago, I lost my blog to a hacker. Most of that content is gone; I did have a WordPress backup plugin, and had backed up occasionally, but I can’t find any of the backups. I think some of the backups may have, stupidly, been saved on my HTML server and were therefore wiped out when my web host scrubbed all my files.

It saddened me to think that concert blog post had been lost forever; I was kind of proud of it. Then I decided to look for it on the Internet Wayback Machine at, and — sure enough — there was a cached copy.

I have saved a copy to my computer, of course, but I’ll also share it again below, just as it appeared on my blog November 22, 2014. One correction — I later remembered that I had seen Steve as a solo artist one other time. In the blog post I say the only time I’d seen him live was as a member of Chagall Guevara. Anyway, here it is:

Here, my friends, is the story of one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me.

The thing I’m talking about happened this month, but in order to appreciate it we have to jump back a few decades, to the early 1980s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was a student at what I sometimes refer to as Famous Televangelist University. Christian college can be a stiflingly-conformist environment; I had a dorm director once proclaim in a devotion that it was one of the hardest places to be a Christian, because it was so easy to just drift along with the crowd and do all the right things for all the wrong reasons, or for no reason at all.

Then, as now, there existed both really bad Christian music and really good Christian music. I had the quirky sense of humor to latch on to several artists with satirical sensibilities — songwriters who could laugh at themselves and poke at the foibles of both the secular world and the imperfect church. During my years at ORU, I became a particular fan of the band Daniel Amos, singer-songwriter Randy Stonehill and singer-songwriter Steve Taylor.

Daniel Amos, by the way, played a concert at a church in Smyrna three or four years ago — the first time they’d toured in ages. But I couldn’t go; I was in camp that week, as a volunteer in Mountain T.O.P.’s Adults In Ministry program in Grundy…

John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at