Concert Recap - Rock the Sound IV
Where do I start?
Rock the Sound IV was bigger and better than ever. I've been to a bunch of these things, and this one really took the cake, and a cup of coffee as well.
Opening act Nevertheless probably played, if anything, too short a set. This up-and-coming quintet from Chattenooga did a great job setting the tone for the evening.
Leeland was great. These guys were a big hit with the fifteen-year-old-girl crowd. They are young, exuberant and energetic. Lead singer Leeland Mooring took time to really share about his faith, why the band does what they do, and how important Christ is in their lives. I saw these guys last winter in Amherst, and if anything, a year of touring has really matured and seasoned them.
Pump Up The Volume Time commenced with the introduction of Skillet. The real Tennesee Titans blew the lid off the place. When the blue mood lighting came up, and the opening strains of "Comatose" began, the arena went nuts. There is little that is louder than a Skillet show, but John Cooper is more than just a screaming front man. Having met him, I can tell you that he has a heart for the youth of America, and this sincerity comes across in his interludes. This band totally rocks, and even if their brand of high-powered hard rock is not your cup of tea, you can't help but be drawn into the show. I saw more Skillet tee shirts than any other band, by far.
Skillet is a tough act to follow, but the quirky and charismatic David Crowder Band is just the ticket. There could not be two bands more different, honestly. While Skillet is all power and light, DC*B is funk and gimmick - and it works. This was my favorite band of the night, and the one I was looking forward to. Sadly, no Guitar Hero guitar or megaphones tonight, but the Mighty Keytar was brought out. "O Praise Him" won the award for Best Sing-Along, I think. Of course, DC*B cheats - the giant screens always show the lyrics at a Crowder show, so even the old folks can sing along to the catchy tunes. One nice touch - after a David-mandated group hug, the house lights came up and the band led the arena in a touching rendition of "Here I Am to Worship."
Following Crowder was a presentation by Lamont Hiebert of Ten Shekel Shirt. Hiebert founded Love146, the charity that was the beneficiary of the evening. Love146 fights trafficing in children for the sex trade. It is definitely a group worth checking out.
Finally, it was time for the main event of the night, the Newsboys. The boys from Down Under were back after headlining the first Rock the Sound event in 2005, and they did not disappoint. They got the crowd into the swing of things early playing "Blessed Be Your Name." Peter Furler is one of the most charismatic frontmen in Christian music - maybe it's the accent - and he really had the crowd in the palm of his hand most of the evening. They played a lot of their big hits, including "Shine," "He Reigns" and "Breakfast."
One really cool moment was when the entire band walked out onto a catwalk to the center of the arena, where they were literally right in the middle of the audience. With a small portable piano and a shaker egg, they did a beautiful rendition of "You Are My King (Amazing Love)" befor leaving the crowd to sing the final chorus on it's own. Peter also gave a beautiful testimony of his own at one point.
One of the best things about the evening was seeing Mark Stuart again. Mark (of Audio Adreneline fame) was still obviously suffering from throat problems, but did a great job hosting the evening. Especially the "Big House" singing competitions he was holding throughout the night for tee shirts.
At the end, it was a big night. Literally hundreds of people came to the prayer tents throughout the evening. Thousands of dollars were raised for Love146, and thousands of people became more aware of the issues of human trafficing and slavery today. Seven thousand people worshipping together is a mighty thing. And another sell-out crowd shows Rock the Sound is still getting the job done. I can't wait for next year
More pictures can be seen here.