I see that in my NQC reporting I failed to make any mention of the GVB Reunion showcase. Others fortunately caught it live and provided a set list. I’ve finally finished watching it on-demand. Basically it felt very off-the-cuff and informal, which meant there were some mix-ups and goofs, but it was real. You could tell they hadn’t had much time to run through everything. I actually like that sense of making things up as you go along. The biggest problem was (surprise, surprise) sound. Members would pick up their mikes for key solos and find them turned off—just had to manage as best they could. The mix was also very uneven. Often parts would stand out over the melody. But again, I liked the real feeling, and there was some wonderful singing anyway. Mark Lowry was as crazy as ever and pulled out his old “Jesus On the Mainline” routine for a hilarious walk down memory lane, plus of course his classic “Mary Did You Know.”
Yes, like everyone else I am puzzled by the fact that Guy’s absence wasn’t even mentioned or explained in any way, but good singing was still done and good music still made. Larnelle Harris essentially stole the show, as others have said. Even when he wasn’t being featured and bringing the house down (“Amen,” “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked”), he would time and again be chiming in with some bit of improv, waving the microphone about in that delightful way of his and just being generally brilliant. However, Wes Hampton also offered some wonderful moments (“The Love of God,” “I’m Free,” “Something About That Name,” “Daystar,” others I’m probably forgetting where his voice was heard… and I mustn’t forget to mention his little dance moves on “Build An Ark” — priceless). Also, Steve Green did a brilliant job with “No Other Name But Jesus,” setting it up with a great mini-sermon on how both the legalists and the relativists fail to grasp the gospel of salvation. It was his only feature, but it touched me deeply, like Michael Booth touched me on Saturday night with “Look For Me At Jesus’ Feet.” For some reason, those two moments both stand out in a special way for me out of all the great music that was performed last week. I think it’s because both Michael and Steve have a rare gift for communicating a song and sending the message straight to the heart, and when that gift is joined with a great lyric, you have something special. I realize that’s not an original thought, but it’s true.
There were others who did great too, like Jimmy Murray and Buddy Mullins (who had a much better haircut than he did a couple years ago on the reunion video set). Just a really enjoyable showcase. You could tell everyone had a great time. The song selection wasn’t as strong as it could have been, but they had to work around the fact that they didn’t have Guy with them so that may explain some of it. One thing I wish they would have done is have Steve Green and Wes Hampton sing their duet version of “It is Well.” It would have made perfect sense for many reasons, one of which is that Wes’s solo project, from which that arrangement comes, has just been released by the Gaither company. Anyway, it was still fun, still good, still worth watching. Don’t miss it if you got the webcast. No videos from it have surfaced on Youtube, but while we’re talking about the GVB, here’s a taste of Wes Hampton’s brilliant Friday night performance of “He is Here.” This isn’t the whole thing, but it’s still great: