Concert Review: Inspirations (Millersburg, OH, 8/29/09)

Last night, I had the chance to catch the Inspirations live at Gospel Haven Mennonite Church in Millersburg, Ohio. This was my first time to see the new lineup with Dallas Rogers on tenor and David Ragan on lead.

20090828-0561A song list:

  • Jesus is Mine (featuring Dallas)
  • I Can Tell You Now the Time (featuring Dallas and David)
  • How Great it Is (featuring baritone Melton Campbell)
  • More to Go to Heaven For (featuring Dallas)
  • Thinking More of Heaven (featuring David)
  • Touring That City (featuring Dallas)
  • The Rose (featuring Melton) – David and Melton had some particularly tight harmonies on this song. Their placement and enunciation are surprisingly, almost perfectly, close.
  • Overwhelming Joy (featuring bass singer Mike Holcomb)
  • Only One Door (featuring Jack Laws)
  • He’s My Best Friend (featuring Jack)
  • Thank You Lord (featuring David)
  • I’ll Not Turn My Back On Him Now (featuring Dallas)
  • I Have Not Forgotten (featuring David) – Very strong response. First standing ovation of the night.

During intermission, a local singer involved in prison ministry took a request from Inspirations baritone Melton Campbell that he lead the congregation in a Pennsylvania Dutch song (though, as the singer clarified, the song he selected was actually in high German). They sang a song with the tune to “What a Friend We Have In Jesus” (and then sang “What a Friend” in English). Probably well over half of the people present participated in the German song—enough that it sounded like the whole church.

20090828-0577Second half:

  • Is That Footsteps (featuring Mike) – The audience was quite enthusiastic on this song.
  • Two Shoes (featuring Dallas)
  • Dealing With Gold (featuring Dallas) – The group ended up encoring this song several times.
  • If You Only Knew (featuring Mike)
  • I’m Not Ashamed (featuring Melton) – Another strong response. The audience stood at the start of the song and remained standing throughout.
  • Inspirations pianist Martin Cook introduced Luke Vaught, a musician they brought along for the weekend to play guitar. Vaught played a piano solo. The chord progressions sounded close enough to “Oh, My Lord, What a Time” that that may have been the song, but I must confess to not being quite sure.
  • Thirty Pieces of Silver (featuring Jack Laws)
  • The Son Came Down (featuring Mike and David) – This new Dianne Wilkinson song got such a strong response that they ended up encoring it three times.
  • When I Wake Up – Another strong response.

Mike Holcomb was not feeling well, so he was not featured as much as he frequently is in an Inspirations concert. So pianist / emcee Martin Cook used the opportunity to thoroughly introduce new members David Ragan and Dallas Rogers. They were both well received—in fact, after the concert, I happened to hear some discussion about whether David Ragan would be next year’s Horizon Individual of the Year.

The new lineup is more than capable of carrying on the group’s legacy. Perhaps I couldn’t do better than to quote an impression I scribbled in my notes as Dallas Rogers finished the second verse of “Two Shoes”: “It isn’t Archie. But it is the Inspirations.”

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