I just came in to catch the last section of the Kingdom Heirs’ set: “No Bones About It.” Now they’re into “What We Needed.” I’ve never heard this song before, but I really like it. It starts slower then picks up speed at the chorus. I’m having trouble hearing Jerry Martin’s solo because his mike is either off or really low… sigh.
Steve just did a great set-up for “We Will Stand Our Ground.” Arthur is singing it great. This song is awesome. I’ve been waiting all week for them to do this. It was a little bit patchy but sounded all in all quite good, got quite a few people on their feet. Very cool moment.
[Pointless video break]
Now Jeff Stice is playing a patriotic piano solo. Or I should say “solo,” since most of it is being carried by the instruments in his backup track. (Not that the piano isn’t important, it’s just that “solo” isn’t technically the right word…) It’s all armed forces songs. Now we’re on to the Marine anthem. This is really cool, something different. Hey, neat, now it’s the Bridge On the River Kwai theme! Jeff tried to get people to whistle along, not sure how that worked out. 😀 Now it’s “God Bless America.” Finished with a bang.
Now the Collingsworth Family is up, rocking “I Know.” Phil Jr. is a little croaky tonight. He just handled his high note really well—he immediately realized it wasn’t working and improvised with a lower riff. Very professional. Courtney is looking beautiful tonight in a classy black dress. Not sure how to classify what her sisters are wearing though… Brooklyn has some stripy shirt, and Olivia has…are those leopard spots? What is it with the leopard prints? It seems like every other lady at NQC is wearing them.
Phil Sr. just set up “That’s the Place I’m Longing To Go” with a great story of how they found it. The father of the music director at Kim’s sister’s church wrote this song 40 years ago, and it had never been published until Kim’s sister introduced it to her. After Kim heard the song, she said “I believe that’s one of the finest lyrics about heaven I’ve ever heard.” This is gorgeous. Whooops, just had a goof with the track, not sure what happened… I think they may actually have taken too long on the a capella part and had the track cut in on them sooner than they thought. Wow, I can’t believe it. The Collingsworths made a mistake… this NEVER happens. (Then again, maybe it was just a sound glitch on my end.) Ah well, they’re human after all. 🙂 Now an a capella encore.
“Resurrection Morn” is building in intensity now, I predict a standing-O by the end. Okay, some people were standing, this is good. It was a powerful performance. Now Kim is trying to play a piano solo without her piano being miked right…? Oh no. “Hallelujah Chorus,” but I can’t hear Kim!!! Nooooooo! Or maybe they need to lower the track? Either way, something’s wrong. Oh well, she smoked it and got a standing-O anyway. More than for anything they sang even!
This was the Collingsworths’ last set, and they delivered consistently good stuff all week long. Arguably the most consistent group of the week both for vocals and song selection.
Ugh, now it’s the Pfeiffers. I mean, I’m sure they’re great people, but a saxophone version of “We Shall Behold Him?” The trumpet does work better, but still… now the singing is working a bit better. There’s a blonde lady singing with them tonight who I don’t recognize.
Now it’s Karen Peck & River doing “Love With All of Your Heart.” I’m hoping Karen can make it through her set, she had BAD laryngitis earlier. She’s doing pretty well though. Now singing “Hold Me While I Cry.” I’m not sure why she’s not sharing the vocal load a little more, maybe give some of the solos to Susan? She’s obviously feeling terrible, and this isn’t that great for her vocal cords. Just a thought… I just saw Susan give her a pat on the back of encouragement. Now my favorite song of theirs, “On the Banks of the Promised Land.” Hope Karen can manage this. She did, and they did a little a capella “What a Day That Will Be” afterwards. Now it’s “Four Days Late.” Karen pulled through it like a trooper and led the audience in “God’s Unchanging Hand” to close out. She said that when she realized she was sick, she saw she had two options: Not sing, or realize that “God doesn’t need my voice, He just needs me to be willing to come up here and sing.”
It’s time for the Compassion International pitch now, but Gerald Wolfe has done something different. He’s introduced a Compassion kid named Ben who’s gone all the way through and graduated. He’s from Kenya and is sharing a very powerful testimony! Right now he’s talking about how Compassion doesn’t only feed and clothe children—it disciples them to become Christian leaders in their own community, as Ben himself is now.
The McKameys came up, been singing some oldies, now a really pretty one called “When Faith Steps In.” They were as lovable as ever.
Then the Isaacs did something forgettable, now Bill Gaither is joining them for “No Shortage!” Fun!!! Then “Why Can’t We,” a powerful song I hadn’t heard before. They did an awesome a capella encore. Now they’re gonna do some bluegrass… “Love Lifted Me.” Never heard this done bluegrass before—like it! They made it a medley and closed with “I’ll Fly Away.” Great instrumentation.
Now Ivan Parker is up. I’ve just been recognizing a bunch of people in the chat room during his set. Some hilarity and confusion… much too hard to explain, LOL. And the Southern Gospel Gardener is on here! That’s right, THE Southern Gospel Gardener. Hi Chris! He tells us that the advantage of being on the West Coast is that he doesn’t have to stay up late, but the disadvantage is he missed some work to watch the beginning. Ruh-roh. Wow, Ivan Parker is still going. This is draaaaagging, big time. He’s closing with the chorus of “When I Get Carried Away.” Smart idea, it’s something everyone knows and can get into.
Now Gerald is leading the congregation. First “He Touched Me,” then “Family of God.” Now “Because He Lives.” He told everyone to raise the roof. Gerald can really draw a crowd out.
All right, here we go. The GVB and “Journey To the Sky.” This is it folks! The big guns are out! Great opener. Wes is singing now. They’ve taken to having him do the lower octave stuff too. Good for his voice. So much fun. Mark is hopping! (Bill: “MARK!” “Mark: “WHAAAAT?” Love it.) And…. Wes just nailed his WOOOOOO. They’re doing an encore, sweet. Mark and Michael picked Wes up on the encore and almost dropped him. Uh, careful guys… he’s your best singer! Now Mark and Bill are doing comedy. Cracking me up. Mark is in fine form. Have already laughed out loud a couple times. Although Wes was looking a little bored there (he’s probably only heard these jokes 500 times). Now it’s “Greatly Blessed.” They’re not using any stacks that I can hear. Hey neato, “Where No One Stands Alone.” But their mix is really bad. They’re having “issues.” David is doing his solo now. His curls are looking a bit more well-ordered now than usual, a little less girly. Mike has a much better haircut too.
Now Wes is singing “He is Here.” This song is a little saccharine, but Wes can sing anything and turn it to gold. What a sweetheart. What a voice. He’s wearing a hideous green tie, but he sounds fantastic. Just piano, amazing. Wes delivered a pitch-perfect performance. Incredibly pure and lovely. I will never get tired of listening to that voice.
Now I could tell Gordon was playing the chords for “Please Forgive Me,” and that is indeed what they’re launching into. Michael is taking the lead. I have to admit, this has never been a huge favorite, but the ending is good and powerful live. Bill is leading the crowd in another chorus. Everybody has their lighters out. 😀 Huh boy, now David is singing “He’s Alive.” I know everybody thinks he’s incredible, but he really needs lessons… this is way too emotive. Even though it’s technically a man’s song, Lauren does better with it. This should be cool once the chorus hits though. I just have to wait through David’s solo. THERE we go. Big Homecoming crew up on stage with them, great choir sound. Crowd up on their feet. It was a great moment at the end there, I have to admit. The crowd was way more electric than I’ve seen them all week at NQC. Then Bill led the crowd in another round of “Because He Lives.”
Kevin Williams just did a hilarious comedy bit, a true story about Gordon that I’d never heard before. I won’t spoil it for any of you in case you go to a Homecoming and Kevin tells it there. 🙂 Now he’s telling an older one… Okay, now their time is up. Too bad. Honestly this is not my favorite GVB lineup, but they and the rest of the crew brought something special to the stage tonight. Just hard to put my finger on it, but it was exciting and vibrant in a unique way. It must be that Gaither pixie dust…
Now Greater Vision is up. They opened big with “I Know He Heard My Prayer.” Very big, power ending. Now “My Name is Lazarus,” here we go! That was great, then Gerald told a funny story (he is funny), and now Rodney is singing “It Pays to Pray.” YES, Chris is singing “I Know a Man Who Can” now. This is so great because even though he did it on Monday, we had terrible sound problems with the webcast and couldn’t enjoy it properly. Sound is great tonight and we’re fixing to be blessed in the Spirit. He just nailed that high note. And to make it really special, Chris’s MOM is watching with us on the webcast! She is very proud of her boy. She says she wants to breathe for him though. 😀
Swan did some “comedy,” and then Clarke Beasley introduced two very special guests: Two soldiers who were able to attend! One of them had asked for tickets from Afghanistan last year, and Clarke didn’t even need to say he was a soldier when he first introduced him, he just said he had called for tickets from Afghanistan, and the whole crowd began applauding and standing… The soldier said when he was in the hospital in Afghanistan, his little boy sent him clips of gospel music, and he became a fan and knew he had to make it to NQC the next year. And tonight he has. It so happened that he had a friend on leave from Iraq at the same time, so they’re attending together this year. Their names are A. J. Ketcham and Jason Moore. This may be my favorite moment of the night. So, so, cool. God bless them. The audience gave them the reception they deserved.
Now the Hoppers are up singing “I Will Serve Thee.” This is nice, I didn’t know they had a version of it. Oh, how awesome, they’re singing “Jerusalem” now! Has to be their all-time best song. Gives me goosebumps. Now they’re doing “Something’s Happening.” I’ve never heard this one all the way through, I know it’s going to be big though. Uh-oh, Connie is doing a spoken narration… I hate spoken narration. Nothing against Connie, I hate it when just about anybody who isn’t named George Younce does it. But the song finished huge. Kim’s voice grates a little bit, but she does pack a big punch—lots of power, which is what these songs need. Claude is doing “My Living Shall Not Be In Vain” now, which is a big shift from the last song. I think it’s a sweet number though. (By the way, somebody just noticed that Dr. Charles Stanley doesn’t seem to have showed up. Grigsby suggested maybe he was reading David Jeremiah’s new book in the hotel and lost track of time. HA!)
And… they just ran out of time, and Dean said, “Oh no, I don’t know, can we do one more? I don’t know…” Kim was already starting up, and the whole gang came up and did just one round of “Shoutin’ Time.” That was just right. It’s just right when they don’t beat it to death.
Now for the Gospel Palooza… 84 uninterrupted minutes of gospel music. Well THANK THE LORD for that “uninterrupted” part! The Perrys up first. Singing “Plan of Salvation.” This is a great idea—they got a great reception when they did this Monday night. Tracy turned in another great job on his solo. Love their version even though the Cats can never be bested. Now they’re doing “Blue Skies.” Joseph Habedank is one top-notch, consistent young singer. I think he and Jordan Wilburn are cut from the same cloth. A pleasure to listen to.
Libbi then sang “Celebrate Me Home,” and Tracy just set up the last song with a great story about a little boy who was watching the Perrys on the webcast for his birthday party on Wednesday (they’re his favorite group). Well all his little birthday party guests got so riled up by the Perrys that he decided to march them all into the basement and start pulling out his southern gospel DVDs, and they ended up having a southern gospel birthday night! So Tracy wished him a happy birthday from the gang, and now they’re launched into “Wish I Could Have Been There,” his favorite song. This is a terrific song. I gotta get my ipod loaded up with some Perrys stuff, I don’t think I have much on there yet… Wow, this song is tearing it up. That little guy is going to be awake all night tonight if he’s watching this!! They encored it a few times and passed around a “Happy Birthday Andrew!” sign. How sweet. Poor Andrew’s mom. Tracy said they heard he got so wound up Wednesday night he couldn’t sleep and got into some sort of trouble… LOL.
Gold City is up, and hey, they’re opening with an oldie, “Robe of White.” Dan Keeton is nailing the tenor part. But wait, did he just go sharp? Never mind, a fast-paced song, so it’s hard to tell. Now “Peter, James and John.” I have to say, this isn’t a bad song, but did they have to do it every time they were up? I guess, because it’s their new single… okay, now it’s “When He Blessed My Soul.” DBM is watching and I bet he’s happy. Tim Riley is still da man. Now they’re doing that Dixie Hummingbirds song again. I do enjoy the song, though this is basically the same set they had Monday night. Time is running out if they want to have Craig sing “Midnight Cry!” There’s also some confusion over whether the new guy was supposed to be featured on a song tonight. I guess we’ll have to see what happens. Now they’re doing “God’s Building a Church,” again, same as Monday. This is kind of disappointing. I can see repeating some of your stuff, but at least mix in a little new… Bummer, it’s looking like they’re not going to do “Midnight Cry” after all. I am bummed. In fact, I just discovered the crying emoticon in the chat room by typing out a crying smiley face—that’s how bummed I am. Craig could have made a big exit with that song. I believe he sang it the best of any of their lead singers.
Legacy Five is up now singing “Destination Known.” Not bad, just a little ho-hum. I wish they had done some “bigger” songs this year. But let’s wait and see what else they do. I’d really love to see Gus pull out “I Stand Redeemed.” It would also be cool if they did “Faithful To the Cross…” Okay, now they’re doing “Just Because Of You,” which is a sweet, sweet song. It features Gus, so I’m happy. Anything featuring Gus, I’m happy. That was just gorgeous. Now Scott is setting up “Ask Me Why” by telling the story of the Muslim lady who became converted. This is going to be great! Some of you may have read Scott’s blog, where he talked about how this lady came to Celebration by accident and asked why everybody was so happy. That was two years ago. Now both that lady and her little girl are believers. And sure enough, they’re singing “Ask Me Why” now. Very powerful, Gus is sounding a little bit hoarse tonight but did great. They added an a capella encore. It may have been a bit pitchy but it was tender and very moving. Now they’re doing “Boundless Love.” The sound is doing odd things, but this is fun! I like their version of this! Gus is rocking it! Awesome. I love it.
Brian Free & Assurance is hitting the stage on fire with “Go Tell the World.” This is a fantastic opening song. Terrific lyrics, terrific sound. They are ON tonight. Did I mention Bill Shivers is underrated? Still? Awww, now Jeremy is singing “Save Me a Seat.” Some of you might remember when he did this a couple years ago after his dad died. Sweet song. I just caught a shot of Matthew Holt playing live piano for them—very nice touch. Holt has been doing some tasteful playing this week. Now they’re doing “You Must Have Met Him.” This isn’t my favorite song of theirs, but it’s solid. They have very few bad songs. Wow, I’d forgotten just how high Bill goes on this one… I think I already said he’s underrated, but, well, he is. Seriously, he is a lead, but he can hit tenor singers’ notes. I think their mix is one of the best of the night. They have a powerful, well-blended sound. I can’t tell if they’re using stacks, but if they aren’t, I’m impressed.
Brian set up “Never Walk Alone” by talking about what it was like to lose his mom and dad within six months of each other. He’s doing well with this, though I think he may have flatted in a few places… there’s this one note in the verses he seems to have trouble with for some reason. I wonder if it’s because this is lower than usual for him? Anyway, it is always moving when he sings this. Clear voice, very simple. Oh, awesome, they’re closing with “Jesus Will Pick You Up.” This always works. Always. Jeremy does so well with this. Somebody just compared him to Randy Travis… you know I’d never thought that before, but they DO sound similar come to think of it. Oh here we go, now, this is getting good. Okay, so Brian just BLEW THE ROOF OFF at the end there. And then L5, Gold City and the Perrys all back up on stage for the big finale: “Long As I Got King Jesus.” They did it once, did it twice, then bade us adieu. The perfect finish.
Well, I was left disappointed by last night, but this one more than made up for it. I believe it may be the best one yet. There were literally so many highlights I’m too tired to think of them all and type them up. But you guys can! Please share any thoughts or observations of your own. What did you enjoy about tonight, if you were there or watching?