Folks, good evening! I will be providing a little live commentary her for a few acts at the beginning of the evening, then taking a break until around 8:00.
I will meet back up with y’all then, and then turn in early before the Christmas segment because I’m not in a particularly Christmasy mood. (Changed my mind on that one.) Hope you all will join me in the comments! I hope this will be a strong night even though it would be hard to top quartet night.
Once again, I’m using the “bottom up” format for the play by play. Please tell me if you like this better or want me to go back to top down. I like this format because it puts the most recent updates right where folks can see it. Read the entire commentary below the fold. Thank you all!
This was a great night, with each artist leaving everything on the stage. The song selection was memorable and had a good balance of old to new, and I enjoyed some of the artist combinations we got to see as the next artist in line would frequently jump on stage for the last song of the previous artist’s set. My favorite example of this was Phil Collingsworth Jr. with the Booth Brothers on “Trading This Old Cross.” There were a few sound bugs, but they were fixed quickly. Transitions from set to set proceeded smoothly, with Jim Brady and Brooklyn Collingsworth providing some tasteful emcee work. Crowd attendance is also up as folks are coming in for the weekend, and many believe this was a great energizer for the artists and helped them turn in the great performances they did.
All things considered, I thought this was going to be a major letdown from last night, but pretty much everyone proved me wrong, and folks are saying I didn’t even see some of the very best stuff!
Keep in mind that these are only highlights of what I personally got to see tonight. I gather that the Perrys and the Dixie Echoes had great sets and was very sorry to miss those.
*Tribute, “Good News From Jerusalem” with live choir
*Wilburn & Wilburn
*Mark Bishop, “I Got Here As Fast as I Could”
*The Talleys, “Broken World”
*Greater Vision, “This is Mercy” and “For All He’s Done”
*Triumphant, “The Great I Am Still Is” stood out but their whole set was strong
*Booth Brothers, “We Believe” and “Trading This Old Cross” (with guest solo by Phil Collingsworth Jr.)
*Collingsworth Family, “Come Thou Fount” acapella, but once again, a great set start to finish
*Jubilee Gang, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
10:55 Okay, maybe I’ll watch a little bit more… except, I’m confused, why is my screen black? Good, back now. It’s the Jubilee Gang singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing!” It’s my favorite of the performances in this segment.
2. Kim Hopper is singing “Silent Night.” She can still pull out the sweet tone when she wants to. She is singing it as a trio with Reggie and his lady love.
3. Karen Peck and New River, “Joy Has Come to the World” — Lots of fun, but major stacks on this one, sadly.
4. Greater Vision, “Hope Has Hands” — I’ve always thought this was one of their best.
5. Gerald Wolfe and audience,”Silent Night” — Perhaps a bit redundant since Kim and the Smiths just sang it?
10:50 Okay, I’m planning to go to bed soon, but I have to watch Kim Collingsworth play “Oh Holy Night.” That will be just the right amount of Christmas music for me at the moment. Also, I just heard that the video on demand option is extending to December 1st, so I can come back then for the rest when I’m more in the mood!
10:30-10:50 The Collingsworths are up! 1. I’ve Come Here to Tell You That the Lord Is Good — rousing opener from the new record I think 2. Come Thou Fount — Wow, this is one of my favorite hymns and I love this acapella touch they’re giving it. Except there’s some fuzz on their microphones. Um, someone fix that quickly! My one quibble with this version is that the lyrics are different from the “Prone to wander…” section. Is this one of those things where the “original original” version isn’t the one we all know and love today? 3. Healing In His Hands — Another new one, I think. Phil Jr. is smoooth on this one. He has blossomed into a really fine, well-rounded singer. A gorgeous, mature vocal performance from all the kids. 4. Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness — Kim set this up by telling a story about a lady who spontaneously paid for her coffee at a Starbucks. When Kim thanked her, the lady said “You know, I’ve been thinking that if everyone in the world did one kind deed for someone else every day, this world would be a whole lot better place.” Kim said that the last time she heard this John W. Peterson song she was about 13 and it was on an organ. With a wink, she said, “It’s not gonna sound like that tonight.” Kim has a mischievous streak in her! Encoring it once, encoring it twice… Phil Jr. just hopped over to the drums!
10:12-10:30 After a mike blip, the Booths gathered around a single mike singing “Since Jesus Came.” Gerald got on stage with them partway through and took picture with his iPhone. Michael made faces for the camera. Hilarious! 2. He Saw It All 3. We Believe — Michael introduced this with a moving word recalling the group’s early days and first NQC, and how now he sees the crowd not as a crowd, but as individuals. Standing ovation. 4. Trading This Old Cross — I wondered what they would close with. This is an energetic and smart way to go out while the crowd is excited! And WHAAAT? Phil Collingsworth Jr. is coming up to help out. Awesomeness! Twice encored, the whole family came up for the last couple. Especially nice touch since the Collingsworths have also recorded this song.
9:54-10:07 Gerald introduced Triumphant Quartet, saying, “Eric Bennett is one of best friends. He calls me every time he needs something!” Classic Gerald. 1. Because He Loved Me — A song from their new album. 2. The Great I Am Still Is — Scotty set this up by saying his little girl is now off her heart monitor and seizure medications after struggling with health problems at birth last year. This is an excellent song. Scotty nailed that bridge! One of the best baritones in the industry. Not young baritones, just baritones! They are encoring it acapella. Very classy touch. 3. Old White Flag — C’mon, you all knew this was coming. Jeff Stice banged some dissonant chords on the piano as protest before pushing the track button! I don’t have a hankie, so a handful of tissues will have to do. Jeff Stice blew his nose on his and Chris Allman got it on his iPhone before joining the quartet on the last few notes. 4. Saved By Grace — Barn-burning finish. I love it that the Booth Brothers came up and joined them, with Michael on drums.
Greater Vision offered two more examples in a trend of strong new music this week. Many of the highlights so far have been fresh songs. The Kingdom Heirs were a great demonstration of that last night.
9:38-10:12 Greater Vision 1. I’ve Been Redeemed 2. Come Unto Me 3. When They Ring the Bells — three straight songs with no talking! Hello, is Greater Vision there? Gerald is making the audience clap on 2 and 4—HA! 4. “This is Mercy” — Gerald says Rodney got the idea for this song from a fan e-mail, simply asking if anyone had ever written a song about the sign on the cross. I didn’t know that! I’m so glad they chose to stage this song. It’s a highlight of their new album and one of their overall strongest songs, in my opinion. Gerald is now leading the audience in a chorus of “At Calvary.” I love it. Rodney dabbing his eyes! 5. “For All He’s Done” — If I’m not mistaken, this is the title cut of their new album. I haven’t heard this one yet! Heh. A Chris Allman feature. Compares favorably with “I Could Never Praise Him Enough.” Chris is soaring.
Jim Brady just shared a great story about George Younce. He remembered when he was at NQC with his old group the Schulers, and when George passed by Jim asked for a picture. He said by the time they were done there was a line about a mile long! George signed autographs for about 45 minutes then said, “Well son, I have to go now, but I’ll come back in about an hour to draw you another crowd!”
9:28 Oh no, Clarke is rolling ANOTHER advertisement of TBN. So embarrassing to see Joel Osteen and T. D. Jakes up there, and also with all the scandals in the back of the mind… just tasteless. This Holy Land theme park looks downright blasphemous. Sermon on the Mount recreation? A communion recreation?? Are you serious?
9:22 The Collingsworth girls just did their violin duet of “The Prayer.” Excellent performance!
9:00-9:16 The Hoppers. Mark Bishop introduced them by saying “I’m taking it for granted that Claude Hopper has showed up to his own concert.” This was a reference to the other night when Claude missed it! Very funny. 1. “I Am Whatever You Need” — I like it that the Hoppers are varying their sets from night to night. It’s giving me the chance to hear some songs of theirs I’m less familiar with. 2. “I’ll Worship Only At the Feet of Jesus” — great Kim feature. 3. “Grace is Greater Than Sin” — YES, I love this. The Hoppers are picking good songs tonight. 4. “Shoutin’ Time” — I believe Melissa Brady is up on stage with them! Never fails to bring the house down.
8:47-9:00 David Jeremiah just did a book promotion, and now it’s Mark Bishop. (Brooklyn Collingsworth introduced him—she and Jim are doing a great emceeing job tonight! Also, I
want need her dress.) 1. Listening For the Call — I think there might have been a track goof at the beginning of this, but oh well! 2. “Song of a Lifetime” — this is a co-write with Phil Cross and Gerald Crabb. Mark invited both on stage to sing it with him. 3. “I Got Here As Fast As I Could” — Great choice! Channing Eleton is accompanying him. Just piano. This has a nice Don McLean feel to it. (For those who don’t know who that is, he’s the guy who sang “American Pie.”)
Jim Brady just shared a funny story about a little boy who asked him to sign a CD. He looked pretty sharp, so Jim asked if he was a singer. The boy said yes, and Jim said “Well son, you keep singing, and maybe someday if you get famous I’ll come hear you.” The boy surveyed him thoughtfully and said, “No. You’ll be dead by then!”
8:26-8:40 The Talleys. 1. “God is Great, God is Good, God is Merciful” 2. “Broken World” — good choice. Lauren is adding an acapella solo tag of “The Broken Ones.” I think I prefer her voice when she goes into her upper range like this. It’s sweeter, less nasal. 3. Up Above — Now I question this choice, because Brian Alvey was a large part of what made this song work on the album. The interplay between his tenor and Lauren’s alto was excellent. Without him, they just can’t create the same vocal dynamic. 4. He’s Alive — I realize this may not be a popular thought, but isn’t this really a man’s song? I mean, the speaker is obviously Peter. It just sounds odd for a female to sing it. Anyone, no one can argue that she sings it very well. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and pretend it’s Brian Free!
8:24 Another “Remembering” clip. Showing (I think) a young
Dusty Barrett Terry Davis with “When He Was On the Cross (I Was On His Mind).”
8:20 Time for a barn-burner: “He Ain’t Never Done Me Nothing But Good.” A very well balanced set from the Isaacs.
8:16 The Isaacs are singing “Good Ole Days.” Now, I’m actually not the biggest fan of this song. For one thing, it’s false (lots of marriages fell apart, lots of daddies went away, and lots of promises were broken in the “good ole days”!) and for another thing, it makes it sound like there’s nobody out there today who does any of the good things the song talks about!
8:13 They’re singing “Accentuate the Positive,” previously done by Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters. I love it! I mean, you can’t top the original (needless to say, Ben is no Bing), but I think it’s cool that they’re pulling from that era and remaking it so differently.
8:10 This is a cliche by now, but I appreciate the Isaacs’ live musicianship. I can also appreciate groups who use tracks, but there’s something very fresh and appealing about a band like this.
8:05 The Isaacs are singing “The Lord’s Prayer.” I can’t take all this acapella awesome! Now moving into “Waiting In the Water.”
8:00 Back! With the Penny Loafers! “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” around two microphones. Very cool.
6:20 The Browns are up singing “A Place In the Choir.” They really seem to be pushing this one, but I think they need to practice the violins more! Both times I’ve heard a sour note in those parts.
6:18 Great “Remembering” clip—the Bass Singers Quartet. Hey, they cut off just as Gene McDonald was getting warmed up on tenor!
6:12 Good, they’re closing with “Let’s All Go Down to the River.” Of course the lyrics are totally jumbled (Jesus never walked on a river!) but it’s a good crowd-worker.
I wonder if Jordan’s wife helped him pick his wardrobe, because his suit is great, and that shirt really brings out the blue in his eyes!
6:07 Jordan is being featured on their new single, “A Man Like Me.” I really like this song, but I question the strategy of placing two slow features back to back. If they were going to do it all, I would have picked something more memorable like “A Cross Became My Saving Grace” for one of them. But I expect they’ll close with something more rousing!
6:04 Jonathan introduced Jordan, and now he’s singing “Jesus Will.”
6:00 Jonathan just said that a lady came up to their table and asked if they were brothers. He said, “No honey, but you get a free CD!”
5:58 Wilburn & Wilburn! Opening with “I’m Rich.”
5:55 Singalong with Jim Brady and Brooklyn Collingsworth. This is a nice blend! Love the two of them together. Love Brooklyn’s dress too—it has a red, leafy kind of pattern, with a gold belt and gold high heels.
5:51 It’s Fire in the Choir with Tribute Quartet and “Good News in Jerusalem.” Surprise! This should be cool. I notice that Josh Singletary has toned down that odd accent he’s been using before. It’s so cool with the choir. Goosiebumps! Encoring it once…