Guest Post: Concert Review of Gold City and the Booth Brothers
Tyler H. recently posted a concert review of Gold City and the booth Brothers on SouthernGospelForums.com. The review was so interesting that I asked his permission to reprint it.
I had the privilege of attending an amazing concert in Lancaster, PA with Gold City and the Booth Brothers on March 13th.
I was really anxious to see the new Gold City lineup with Josh Cobb and Roy Webb, and so we made the trip up there. Let me just say it was well worth it. It was one of the best concerts I have been to in a long time, and the place was sold out! Several thousand attendees is the estimate for this Garden Spot concert at Lancaster Mennonite High School.
Some of the songs Gold City sang:
· I Cast My Bread Upon the Water (the crowd was cheering to see Tim back and was energized by his low notes)
· When I Get Carried Away (Josh showed he’s a powerhouse tenor and Tim absolutely nailed an ultra-low ending. It was so good to see Tim back, and the only word I can think of to describe his bass voice is “legendary.”)
· He’ll Never Let Go (from the “First Class” project, and a song that will be featured on their new release coming out of all Doug Riley songs)
· I’m Saved I’m Sure I’m Ready (another Doug Riley song)
· Rainbow of Love (on this song, Tim Riley hit the lowest note I’ve ever heard him hit in a live concert. I think it was at least a double-low C, but I didn’t have my pitch pipe). A highlight of the night.
· One Scarred Hand
· Where is God
· Satisfied (Josh Cobb was finally featured and he brought the power! He seemed to be straining a bit on one really high note, but was extremely solid, nonetheless. He received a standing ovation. He has a very powerful sound, and he actually reminded me somewhat of Dallas Rogers. Maybe he just looks a little like him, I don’t know, but the power vocals were amazing. He is an incredible addition to the group, and it won’t be long until the SG world stands up and takes notice.)
· I’m Not Giving Up (Bruce’s mic cut out on the chorus, but Michael Booth popped out from behind the curtain and gave him his mic, and they went on into an encore. Standing ovation)
· It’s Still The Cross (power ballad, sung very well)
The Booth Brothers lit up the stage next, and here are some of the songs they sang:
· In The Sweet By and By
· I See Grace
· I’m The Lamb
· Look For Me At Jesus’ Feet
· Feelin’ Mighty Fine
· Love Was in the Room
· Sail On (I liked this Imperials classic)
· Tradin’ This Old Cross in for a Crown
· Crying in the Chapel (Ronnie sang this song from his Elvis tribute album, and it was a highlight of the night. Michael and Jim both humorously said that they did not listen to Ronnie’s solo album, and that they did not know the song. The humor the 3 of them put into setting up this song was the kind of humor that only comes from brotherly comraderie. It was somewhat reminiscent of another brotherly combination famously known as the “Three Stooges.” Anyway, these guys decided to “sing” the background vocals anyway, and once Ronnie got going with his soulful Elvis impression, the other two were in the background by the piano, just putting on a circus! Michael had several “Elvis moves” that had the crowd just rolling with laughter.)
· Castles in the Sand
· We Believe (the crowd went crazy, and it received one of the biggest ovations of the night. It will be on their next album.)
The first half was good, but the 2nd half was amazing.
Gold City came out and did requests, including:
· Look Who Just Checked In (I always liked this one)
· Under Control (Tim still sings great)
· When He Blessed My Soul (I requested this one, and Tim rocked it. The only drawback was that the mix sounded a little harsh for these first 3 songs after intermission, with the bass guitar and tracks too loud and the vocals too soft. However, they had it fixed by the 4th song.)
· I Love This Land (standing ovation)
· I’m Rich
· Midnight Cry (standing ovation, and Danny mentioned that this was the best time he’d ever had at this venue)
The Booth Brothers started their set with the lights out and with the music video of “He Saw It All” being played at the Toronto Homecoming, and then the lights came on after the 1st verse, and there was a live band on stage! This segment was a huge highlight of the night. They had Jack Sammons on the bass guitar; Michael’s oldest son, Christian, on the electric guitar; Ronnie on 2 different guitars (switching between songs); Jim on the acoustic guitar; Roy Webb on the piano; and Michael Booth singing tenor and playing the drums! I laughed so hard just watching him.
After “He Saw It All,” they did “Life Is Like a Mountain Railway,” accompanied by some beautiful playing, and then they hit “I’ll Fly Away” out of the park! Josh Cobb and Bruce Taliaferro came out beating timbrels and whatever they could find with drum sticks! Josh was absolutely hilarious. He stole the show. He had his suit off, but still had a black vest on, and the bright red bowtie which he had been wearing for GC’s set, was untied and hanging around his collar while he danced around in McCray Dove style! Michael said he could barely play the drums back there because Josh made him laugh so hard. He said he thinks Josh forgot to take his pill that day – just like him. After the second encore, the crowd was still yelling for another encore, but Michael said he was too out of shape to sing anymore.
Michael preached at the end, and virtually everyone stayed to listen. Michael thanked the people for staying, and quipped that he knows he’ll get emails from people complaining about paying “all that money” to hear preaching. Then he said, “I’ve got good news for you: this part is free!” He preached the word. Even though there was plenty of comedy (which we loved), he also made it serious, and got right down to the Word, several different times in the concert. I gained a whole new respect for the Booth Brothers, and it was easy to see why these guys are on top of the SG world right now.
Gold City has made some interesting changes. They are now singing older songs. Very little of this new, contemporary/country stuff that started to turn off some fans, and more of the classics. They are not as loud as they used to be in the mix (I always liked it loud, but a lot of people did not. In fact, the BB’s were louder!). They now have Roy Webb as pianist, which adds a humorous mix to the group, and the crowd loved him. One observation I made is that Danny Riley has a little trouble “bouncing off” Roy, as this type of humor is still new to the group. Roy is so crazy, and it almost takes Danny off-guard. 🙂
Danny also told the story of how they got Tim back on the road, and actually said that his mom approached him about it last summer and said that she thinks he should talk to Tim about singing again. The story of her dedication and sacrifice really moved me. Danny’s story about how he talked to Tim to come back was really funny too, and he said Tim told him if he’s going to come back they have to sing some of the old songs again. I think that is a welcome change for most fans. They have Kyle back running the sound, and they were all dressed in dark, sharp suits as well as nice ties (and Josh had the previously-mentioned red bowtie).
The end result for GC is a vastly improved lineup. I still miss Jonathan Wilburn, and if there is one area on which GC needs improvement, it is stage presence. The Booth Brothers are a good example to watch. The fluidity with which they master the stage is amazing. They make the audience comfortable, they compliment the audience, and they have them eating out of their hand. They are humble, hilarious, and totally energized. I think one reason people are drawn to them is because the Booth Brothers act on stage how most people want to feel. If you come to the concert stressed out or sad, all you have to do is watch them and it will make you feel good. GC could use a little more of that energy.
That said, GC has a stellar vocal lineup right now, and they are again, one of my very favorite groups. I never thought I’d say this again, but Gold City is on the road back. Tim Riley is still easily the best bass singer on the road in my opinion, and with Josh’s power vocals, they have a great lineup.
The combination of the 2 groups made for a fantastic concert that I will remember for a very long time. If you are wondering whether or not you should go see the new Gold City, let me tell you it is worth it!