Concert Review: Greater Vision
Last night, I went to a concert featuring Greater Vision and three soloists. The concert was hosted by soloist Greg Lockridge, who was recording a live video yesterday evening. He brought in Greater Vision and the other soloists to help draw a good audience. (The plan worked; I’d estimate attendance at 400 to 600.)
The concert started with Lockridge taping his live video. (The rest of the 3.5-hour-long concert was also taped, but it was unclear what would make onto the finished product.) Lockridge performed nine songs and did two audience sing-alongs:
- So Good to Be with the People of the Lord.
- All You Need is a Need.
- Blessed Assurance.
- I Am the Way.
- He Sent Angels. Introduced by a touching story of how he played it for his grandmother shortly before her death, and she commented that she liked the song. It was the first time she had spoken in several weeks.
- I Know He Lives.
- I’m Guilty.
- I’ll Fly Away. Audience sing-along.
- He Touched Me. Audience sing-along. These two were done without soundtracks; John Darin Rowsey played piano.
- Written in the Scars. A well-written play off the astrology-influenced phrase “written in the stars.”
- Just Stand. Lockridge asked the audience to stand during the song’s intro. The song was good enough that the audience probably would have stood anyhow, but perhaps not until the chorus.
There was no assigned seating, and I arrived early enough to get a front-row seat. The cameras panning the audience were positioned toward the middle of the audience most of the time, since they also were recording the performers. So if you purchase the DVD, you’re unlikely to see my face in an audience pan. However, based on what I saw in the monitors, since I am not exactly short, you will probably get quite a bit of time viewing the back of my head. Fortunately, I remembered to comb my hair before the concert.
After an intermission–during which Gerald Wolfe made the day of this blog’s contributor Sony Elise by calling her and wishing her a happy birthday–the audience returned for the other three artists. John Darin Rowsey was up first and sang seven songs:
- Home is Always Where I’d Rather Be.
- Singing With the Saints. He introduced the song by commenting that he had written it for the Gaither Vocal Band.
- Lucky We Met.
- Let the Healing Begin. He introduced the song by telling how he wrote it for his wife as she was working through the trauma of memories of childhood abuse.
- Jesus Loves Me / Oh, How I Love Jesus. Audience sing-along.
- Ain’t No Grave. This was the same song recorded by the Isaacs and others.
- I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel. This was the song recorded by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (and possibly others, whose names are escaping me at the moment).
Soloist Mike Allen (who also sings bass with the Prophets Quartet and the Gaither Homecoming series) was up next. He sang:
- God is With Us.
- Roll Away Troubled River.
- Child of the King. He did this one as an audience sing-along.
- The Love of the Lord. Allen recovered well from a microphone malfunction mid-song, even making a joke about it between lines after it was back on.
- Forgive Me when I Whine (a well-done recitation).
- Way Down Deep.
- So I Love Him Dearly.
- What I Have. While it might be hard to envision this Bishops trio song being done by a bass singer, it was well done.
Greater Vision finished the evening with an hour-long set.
- He’d Still Been God. Though the first three artists had been well received, the audience enthusiasm unmistakably went up a notch or two when Greater Vision took the stage with this song.
- Tell Me the Story.
- As I Am.
- We are so Blessed. Wolfe introduced the song by commenting on Mike Allen’s recitation “Forgive Me When I Whine,” a recitation done earlier by George Younce. Wolfe said that the first time he heard Younce do the recitation, he followed it by singing “We are So Blessed.”
- My Name is Lazarus. The song got the most enthusiastic response of the night. Audience enthusiasm kept building throughout the song, and broke into a round of applause leading into a standing ovation during the final chorus. About halfway through the second and final chorus, it occurred to me that this the was song that put Greater Vision at the top, and it was the last time I would hear the lineup that made it famous performing it. So it was special to catch it live one more time.
- Redeemed Medley. Well-received with an audience sing-along.
- A Mighty Fortress. Gerald Wolfe introduced the song by saying how they recently performed their first concert at a Lutheran church. The only Lutheran song they had recorded was Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Though they had never intended to stage it, they did that night, and it brought down the house. Wolfe said that he decided that thereafter, every time he did a concert and a Lutheran was in attendance, he would sing the song. Two were present, so they did the song.
- It Means Just What it Says.
- Till the Storm Passes By. Host Greg Lockridge introduced the group by commenting how Gerald Wolfe’s rendition of the song was the first Gospel song that broke through to his heart. Greater Vision pulled out all the stops with this rendition and brought down the house. This song got their second standing ovation of the night.
- God is So Good. This was tied in with an altar call, delivered by Rodney.
Since Jason Waldroup was recovering from walking pneumonia, Gerald Wolfe arranged the program so as to not tax his voice; other than incidental lines here and there, his only solo was his verse on “My Name is Lazarus.”
Random fact of the day: By my sister’s count, during the concert, Wolfe, Griffin, and Waldroup tapped their feet 1,597 times.