FLYLEAF's new lineup made its live debut on November 1 at the Grand Stafford Theater in Bryan, Texas in front of a sold-out capacity crowd of 400. The show featured the debut of new singer Kristen May, who replaced original vocalist Lacey Sturm after the latter abruptly departed the group late last month.
Local radio station KJXJ Rock 103.9 promoted the concert as a CD-release party for regional rockers SIGNAL RISING and their new disc, entitled "Novo", with opening acts DIMITRIS RAIL and ECLIPSE.
Just after May was announced as the new vocalist of FLYLEAF, the band contacted their longtime friend Christerfer Pate, lead singer of SIGNAL RISING, inquiring if they could use the CD-release party as a warm-up show.
Everything was hush-hush leading up to the night. Rock 103.9 joked of a "super-secret headliner named AERONAUTICAL FOLIAGE" so the diehard FLYLEAF fans could grab tickets.
Profesionally filmed video footage of the "Fire, Fire" performance from the Grand Stafford Theater performance can be seen below.
Kristen also has released a statement to the fans of FLYLEAF thanking them for welcoming her to the family.
She wrote: "Hello new friends and fans of FLYLEAF, I just wanted to take a moment and say hello!
"The past couple of weeks since the announcement of my taking over as lead vocalist of FLYLEAF have been exciting and busy. I started last week with a trip to Texas where the guys practice, and we began rehearsing the fourteen-song set we played [on November 1]. We decided to play a secret show after our friends SIGNAL RISING for 400 awesome fans and family.
"Ever since FLYLEAF invited me to sing with them, I have been listening to all three albums and couldn't be more pumped to share the stage with my new friends.
"After the anticipation of the whole day a couple weeks ago, I was so anxious to finally get on stage and spend time singing my new favorite songs with you guys, the fans! The ones who make FLYLEAF music possible! Instantly I felt the love you all share with the band and their music. You really received me with open arms and I appreciate that. Songs like 'All Around Me', 'Fully Alive' and 'I'm So Sick' we sang in unison, while some of you even knew some of the brand new songs like 'New Horizons' and 'Call You Out'. A couple of my personal favorites off the new album are 'Broken Wings' and 'Freedom'. Such powerful, moving lyrics and a blast to sing live.
"Basically, I just wanted to say I know a change in vocalist can be a difficult thing to grasp, but I believe in the music of FLYLEAF so deeply that I feel blessed to step in and continue playing this music for you all.
"I have already seen a glimpse into what is so special about this band, their friends, families, and you, the fans. I pray I can give back at least a little of what I received from playing my first FLYLEAF show. It was a truly wonderful and exhilarating experience. So, thank you to everyone who was there. I can’t wait to get on the road and meet you all!"
Sturm left the band on the eve of the release of its third album, "New Horizons", which came out on October 30 and sold 20,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 16 on The Billboard 200 chart.
Sturm issued a statement about her exit from the group she co-founded, saying, "I am very thankful to have recently become a mom to one of the greatest blessings of my life, my son Jack . . . I understand that, for me, living life to the fullest in this season means to step down as the lead singer for FLYLEAF."
The new album follows up 2009's "Memento Mori" and FLYLEAF's self-titled 2005 debut, which have combined to sell more than 1.6 million copies in the U.S.
Pictured below: New FLYLEAF singer Kristen May