Hi all, I’m coming in at about quarter after 2. Apparently I missed Jim Murray playing cowbell on “Sail On” with the Booth Brothers earlier. But right now Larnelle is hamming it up on “Can’t Stop Talking About Him.” With backup from Wes Hampton, Mike English and Bill.
Now Michael English is singing “Give Up,” and I’m finding out who all’s here. Basically, everybody except three tenors and one lead/baritone (Frankenstein, I mean Gary McSpadden). YIKES, just saw that David Phelps is wearing tight red leather pants. Okedoke.
Now Mark Lowry is singing the baritone part for the National Anthem all by himself because Bill asked him whether he had learned it or not. Funny! Then all the members sang it acapella together. Great moment. Now Russ Taff is singing “Why Me Lord.” They’re doing a very sweet encore. Wes on tenor is really clear. Very sweet. But now Bill is trying to do a 2nd encore and that seems like over-kill to me.
Now Steve Green is introducing “Find us Faithful” with some good words about different kinds of faithfulness—the kind that’s just a self-righteous facade and the kind that’s true and comes from God. Singing it now, and still sounds great. That was an awesome performance, standing-O.
Bill introduced Jon Mohr and said he wrote that song. Jon talking now about Bill’s influence on his songwriting. Very touching. Jon says that he wrote “Passing the Faith Along” by literally bringing each piece to Bill one by one. Now every time he writes he still thinks, “What would Bill think about this?” He asked the audience to give Bill & Gloria a standing-O. Now he’s singing “New Point of View.” Good, we were worried it would be “Rumor Mill.” Still, we only have 15 minutes left, and so far not many power moments. I’m assuming they’ll bring in Guy on something huge? Maybe “I Believe In a Hill Called Mount Calvary?” “Let Freedom Ring?” “Worthy the Lamb?” We’re waiting…
Okay, this is pretty good, “Heartbreak Ridge & New Hope Road.” Russ is taking the lead. I guess this wouldn’t be a bad way to close the set.
Wow, this is a surprise! They’re closing with something called “Glorious Freedom” from _Pure and Simple_. David Phelps killed it, this is a power ending! Tenors and leads are doing these wild acapella tags. Now I want that project. Cool stuff, great surprise closer.
And that’s all I caught folks! Gotta head off now, I have a very important class that will keep me from watching the Dennis Swanberg showcase. I know you’re heartbroken I won’t be covering it.
I’m told that things were better earlier in the showcase, but even so my impression is that Guy Penrod wasn’t really utilized to his full extent. They gave him two fairly good songs, including “Baptism of Jesse Taylor,” but no “These Are They,” no “Worthy the Lamb,” no “I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary.” This seems like a shame to me. I guess it’s possible that he didn’t feel vocally up to one of those songs anymore, but I still feel like it was a missed opportunity. That’s the main disappointment of this year’s showcase for me. But I’ll have to catch the earlier half later to see what I missed.