Today's Praise: Catch the concert without leaving home
November 30, 2008
If your favorite artists never come to Baumholder, Germany, or Iwakuni, Japan, you still have a chance to catch a concert via live albums and DVDs.
This season, several of Christian music’s biggest names are releasing live recordings of recent concerts. You can check out the newsboys for pop rock, Skillet for harder rock, Michael W. Smith for worship music and the David Crowder Band for modern worship.
‘Houston We Are Go’The newsboys deliver hits from their "Go" album as well as live versions of many of their most popular songs in "newsboys Live: Houston We Are Go."
The energetic concert includes the hits "Shine," "Breakfast" and "He Reigns" as well as the worship songs "I Am Free," "Amazing Love" and "Blessed Be Your Name." It leans more toward worship tracks, a reflection of the band’s turn toward "vertical" music over the last few albums.
The package is heavily evangelistic — much more so than previous Newsboys concert DVDs. It includes an intimate look at the band and frontman Peter Furler.
A medley of past hits is accompanied by a brief recounting of the band’s history.
And the album wraps up with testimony from Furler, who grew up as a preacher’s son in Australia but didn’t really connect with the Lord until much later.
It runs just over 11 minutes but will be interesting to many fans.
The recording is very good for a concert disc.
The vocals, music and crowd reactions are very well balanced. Overall, the package provides an excellent idea of what it’s like to attend a Newsboys concert.
‘Remedy Club Tour’"Remedy Club Tour" is the David Crowder Band’s first DVD and is worth the wait. The disc — recorded during stops in New York and Atlanta — is packed with five and a half hours of content, including a tour documentary, song demonstrations and chord and lyric subtitles.
The CD/DVD package offers an excellent collection of music from this trendsetting worship band. Things start off somewhat slow and mellow with "I’m Trying to Make You Sing" and "The Glory of It All," which act as invitations to worship. But things pick up dramatically with the intense "Can You Feel It?"
Although the disc focuses on music from the "Remedy" album, it’s loaded with great songs from "A Collision," including "Foreverandever," "Here Is Our King" and "I Saw the Light."
The intensity fluctuates as the band presents praise songs, reflective music and wild fun.
It’s good stuff — but Crowder’s concerts are so intense and fun that it’s hard to capture it all.
‘A New Hallelujah’At the beginning of the decade, singer Michael W. Smith recorded two great worship albums.
He then returned to the studio and released a couple of so-so efforts. I’m glad to say he’s out of the studio and on the worship trail again.
"A New Hallelujah" was recorded during a concert in Houston and includes performances by the African Children’s Choir and gospel star Israel Houghton.
It’s a joy-filled disc that debuted at No. 3 on the Christian album chart. The CD — a DVD is coming in the spring — includes original music and contemporary worship hits.
The title track — which includes the African Children’s Choir singing about love, grace and hope — is already a popular new single.
Other tracks also have guest singers, such as Houghton on "Help Is On the Way" and Coalo Zamorano singing "I Surrender All" in Spanish.
Most of the tracks are pretty mellow, relying heavily on piano and choral accompaniment. However, they still contain the underlying power and intensity that makes them great worship pieces.
‘Comatose Comes Alive’Skillet brings another form of intensity to its shows — one that’s much more in tune with a younger audience. That comes through in "Comatose Comes Alive.’’
The concert starts strong with the driving "Comatose," "Rebirthing" and "Whispers in the Dark" from the band’s most recent album and then progresses through excellent songs from its previous album, "Collide."
The tempo fluctuates as Skillet moves from blazing rock to more introspective songs, such as the insightful "The Older I Get," and worshipful "Angels Fall Down."
Although the song selection is terrific, the recording seems a bit unbalanced. The vocals often overpower the instruments.
And at times, you can hear individuals in the crowd chatting or making noise — making it seem sort of like a bootleg recorded. In addition, John Cooper’s voice sounds a little raspy at times. However, I suspect that Skillet’s fanatical fans — known as panheads — won’t mind a bit.
Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.