Monday, April 10, 2006

InFocus: Casting Crowns in Concert

What do Josh Bates, Nichole Nordeman and Casting Crowns all have in common? Well, Friday night it was Liberty University as the three Christian artists converged on the stage of the Vines Center for a night of music.
Josh Bates, a new artist with a whole bunch of flair stepped onto the stage with just his acoustic guitar and belted out his hit single “Perfect Day” which made it to WoW 2006. His nasly voice was almost too much, but his charismatic performance more than made up for it. After the first song, he picked up his mandolin and got everyone clapping and stamping their feet with the song “I’ll fly away.” He concluded his act with a praise song he wrote, and was accompanied by drums and bass from Nichole Nordeman’s act.
Nichole Nordeman followed Josh, and opened her set with “Legacy,” a beautiful song matched only by her absolutely beautiful voice. Nichole, on the piano, was accompanied by an upright bass, acoustic guitar and drum set. The drums were slightly loud in the second song, “What if,” which was dedicated to an atheistic friend of hers. She talked about most of the songs she played, including the next song “Brave” which was written for moms and dads whose kids inspire them. She played a couple more songs, concluding with her hit song “Holy” which, without the electric guitar from the CD version, made for an incredible stripped version. Her gutsy vocals still send chills up my spine when I hear that song.

Casting Crowns stormed the stage and led off with the title track of their latest CD Lifesong. Mark Hall (was it just me or did he sort of look like Mac Powell from Third Day?) and his group played the song just like it is on the CD, making for an incredible performance. They followed it up with “Praise you with the dance” and “If we are the body.” Many of the songs that Mark writes for the group are taken from his experience as a youth pastor and he told how many of his songs are inspired by real life situations he has encountered. The next song they played, “American Dream,” was my favorite of the night. Not only is the song itself amazing, and the music video played in the background, but the group played the song perfectly. After this there was an intermission, before the group came back out. They played several songs off of their newest CD, including “Stained Glass Masquerade,” “Praise you in the storm” and “Set me Free” (the heaviest song of the night). But the most powerful song of the night was one they didn’t sing live. Due to vocal difficulties, Mark wasn’t able to sing “Does anybody see her” and so they played the music video for the song. Many of the songs Mark writes are words of exhortation and rebuke to the church, such as the song “If we are the body.” This song was a continuation of that theme, and the video was beautiful. The group retired and speaker Tony Nolan came out and gave a gospel message in a very unique and quirky manner. Then Casting Crowns finished off the night with two songs from their first album—“Who am I” and “What if his people pray.” Overall, it was a good night of music. It was frustrating having to sit down after every Casting Crowns song while Mark talked, but the stories added so much to the songs I wouldn’t have missed them for anything. Casting Crowns’ drummer was amazing on his drum solo and had the entire crowd laughing with his expressions. The concert was a smashing success, which might be the last one for awhile at Liberty if MercyMe is really the next act coming to town. J


Blogger Strider said...

Yep, my favorite part of the concert was definitely when Casting Crown's drummer, the "Bald Wonder", went berzerk. After so many dynamic songs, I'm surprised he still had the energy to do it! And yes, Mark Hall does have a striking resemblance to Mac Powell. (Coincidence? I think not!)

4/11/2006 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Lizzie said...

Yeah, I agree that is was really anoying standing, and then sitting, stand,sit etc...but I liked that concert! I am soooo excited about the "Delirious?" And "Tree63" concert tomorrow... :) A good birthday present I must say!! :)Casting Crowns was awesome live. My personal favorites that they did was the tribute song to the little girl... ohh..I can't remember the title,and "Does Anybody See Her" Nichole Nordeman was good, I had never really listened to her so I wasn't familiar with most of her songs, but she has an amazing voice.

4/11/2006 2:49 PM  
Anonymous 'Rissa said...

Mark Hall can look like Mac Powell all he wants, but the second he starts sounding like him we're in trouble…

I actually own MercyMe's Almost There CD. I'm not sure when that happened. It would almost be worth it to go to their concert to hear Word of God Speak, Homesick, and I Can Only Imagine. Almost.

4/13/2006 11:30 AM  
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