NQC 2007: Thursday: Evening Concert
I spent the first two hours of the evening concert walking the Vendor’s Hall (as I also plan to do tonight). I had the chance to talk to quite a few artists–Wesley Smith (Palmetto State), Stewart Varnado and Scoot Shelnut (Dixie Echoes), Phil, Kim, and Olivia Collingsworth (Collingsworth Family), all the Perrys, and a couple who I’m forgetting just now.
I arrived back at the main stage in time to hear Karen Peck and New River sing “Last Night” and bring the audience to their feet with “Last Night.”
The Kingdom Heirs sang “I Don’t Wanna Go Back,” “The Rock’s Between the Hard Place and You,” “I Am Salvation” (? on title), “What we Needed,” and “Forever Changed.”
A video played the Hinson’s Sea Walker.
Legacy Five started their set by playing a video of Roger Bennett singing “Joy.” I was sitting near the artist tunnel and noticed something neat as the Kingdom Heirs were walking out after their set ended. Jeff Chapman, their bass singer, was last in line. But as the first bars of “Joy” came on and he heard Bennett’s voice, he turned around and watched a song he had undoubtedly heard numerous times. It certainly looked like a silent tribute to a legend.
Legacy Five sang “Why,” a Christmas medley, and “I Stand Redeemed” to round out their set.
Greater Vision came on stage singing “He’d Still been God.” They also sang “Redeemed Medley,” “Faces,” and “It Means Just What it Says” to round out their set. After the enthusiastic audience response to “It Means Just What it Says,” Gerald Wolfe said, “That’s good preaching.” True, but it’s not just good preaching; it’s also the frontrunner for Song of the Year 2008.
Reggie Sadler used the first several minutes of his set to sing bits of secular songs he’d performed before coming into Gospel music. The audience seemed to know more of those songs than the current Southern Gospel hits–a fact that admittedly shocked me.
A video was played of the Inspirations singing “Shouting Time.”
The Mark Trammell Trio opened their set with “When I Say Jesus.” They also sang “Roll Back the River,” “Won’t it Be Wonderful There” (introduced as their new radio single–an excellent charting call, incidentally), and “Once Upon a Cross.” After that song, Mark Trammell said it was the “most powerful song we’ve had since this ministry started.” I would agree.
Trammell then brought the Perrys with the smoothest transition I’ve ever seen. He said that the 50th Anniversary of NQC would be incomplete without singing a certain Happy Goodmans song, and sang the first verse of “Who am I.” He then, without a comment, filed off the stage, as Joseph Habedank walked up to sing verse 2. Then the rest of the Perrys came on for the chorus and the rest of the song. The song got an enthusiastic reception, but then the Perrys pushed the audience enthusiasm through the roof with a flawless acapella encore.
After that song, they could have “sold” even a dud to the audience. But they actually maintained the high enthusiasm level with the strongest song from their new project, “Look No Further.” They also did “I Know it Was the Blood” and “Holy Shore” before calling the Mark Trammell Trio up on stage for the finale, “I Wish I Could Have Been There.”
Even taking into account the fact that the audience knew they were going to be filing out in a couple of minutes anyhow, the Perrys and the Mark Trammell Trio performed no small feat by getting a standing ovation to the song and maintaining it through two or three encores.
Well, Thursday was my first experience of an NQC. While I’ve done my best to describe what actually happened, I simply cannot capture what it is like to look over your shoulder and see the Hoppers filing out of the auditorium (and congratulating Kim)…or walking the Vendors Hall and talking with your favorite artists in person…or seeing the Perrys and Mark Trammell Trio, long after midnight, bring an audience to its feet for several minutes…or seeing Debbie Bennett accepting the capstone award of her husband’s career…
NQC is something that has to be experienced. Words don’t do it justice.
And I guess you could say that I’m hooked.