Day 3 (Wednesday) started with an hour or more in the media room uploading Tuesday’s posts, photos and video clips.
After a nice conversation with Mike LeFevre earlier in the week, I promised him I’d catch his quartet’s set on the mainstage. They had only twelve minutes, and fit three songs in that time: “Let Me Tell You About Jesus” (featuring lead singer David Staton), “Without Him” (featuring baritone Mike LeFevre and Gus Gaches), and “Big Mighty God” (featuring Staton). The song that connected the best with the audience was “Without Him”; as a LeFevre, Mike had instant credibility staging the song, and it went over well.
After a while in the vendors’ hall, I returned to Freedom Hall in time to catch most of the Freemans’ set. After a rousing rendition of “Sea Walker,” they closed with “Children of the Dust.” Since I had never heard them live before, I had been particularly hoping they’d include “Children of the Dust,” and I was delighted they included it. Judging by the reaction, quite a few others there were similarly delighted.
The Greenes took the stage with “Glorious City of God.” After “We’ve Weathered Storms Before,” Tony Greene took some time to share about his recent trials with kidney failure and dialysis and how they had drawn him closer to God. This led into “Hold On.” Their set closed with TaRanda Greene singing Greater Vision’s arrangement of “O Holy Night” (albeit in a higher key than Gerald Wolfe sings it.)
Kim Hopper sang her recent single, “Gospel To the World.” Jim and Melissa Brady and Charlotte Ritchie provided live background vocals.
When the Kingdom Heirs took the stage, a couple technical glitches delayed the start of their first track. Steve French did have a decent “let me tell you about what Amway has done for me” joke to fill the time, but there was an awkward pause between the joke and when the sound techs got the sound working right. The set was hurt by other sound issues; Arthur Rice’s mic, in particular, seemed to cut out at points. They sang “The Rock’s Between the Hard Place and You” (featuring Arthur Rice), “Anchor of Hope” (featuring tenor Billy Hodges), “Since I Met Him” (featuring Arthur Rice), and “What We Needed.” After a year of staging the song, it is pretty clear that this song is indeed the next “I Know I’m Going There.” I caught several encores on video; unfortunately I stopped the camera before the final encore, which had a particularly impressive Kingsmen Big-n-Live-style ending. I wasn’t the only listener who thought Billy Hodges’ high ending on the final encore sounded remarkably like Ernie Phillips would have sung it.
(The video didn’t include the final encore.)
After their set, I spent more time in the vendors’ hall and in the media room uploading material for the website. Sets while I was out included Naomi and the Segos and Brian Free & Assurance. The Segos sang “One Day at a Time,” “Where the Roses Never Fade,” and “I’ll Put on a Crown” (with David Hester on bass). Assurance sang “What a Beautiful Day,” “Save Me a Seat at the Table” (featuring bass singer Jeremy Lile), “Prayin’ Man,” and “I Believe God.”
I came back in time to catch the Toney Brothers’ set. Dan Keeton filled in on tenor and started the set with a rendition of “Hide Thou Me” that was impressively right on. The lead singer, who I found out afterwards (shame on me!) was probably George Amon Webster, delivered a solid rendition of “Tougher Than Nails.” The baritone singer was featured on the final song in their set.
Tribute Quartet started by featuring bass singer Dennis Duggar on “Bring Back the Shout.” Their new tenor, Brian Alvey, was featured on “When Those Gates Open Wide.” His impressive rendition no doubt erased many doubts about whether Tribute would falter after Jacob Kitson’s departure for Greater Vision. They also featured Alvey on “Who am I” before closing their set with lead singer Gary Casto singing “I’m In That Crowd.”
Before the Perrys came on, Jeff Stice played his classic piano solo rendition of “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.”
At the start of the Perrys’ set, the Dove Brothers joined them on stage for “I Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ For My Journey Now.”
Three of the four songs in the remainder of their set were the same as they sang on Monday–“I Know it Was the Blood,” “The Potter Knows the Clay,” and “I Wish I Coulda Been There” (joined by the Dove Brothers). They also sang “He Will Hide Me.”
The Dove Brothers sang “I’ve Still Got a Feeling,” “Takin’ it Back,” “You Would Think He Would Learn,” and “I Can Pray.” During their entire set, Jerry Martin’s microphone kept cutting in and out. Even by the end of their set, when Martin was spotlighted on “I Can Pray,” the sound techs still hadn’t straightened out the issue; his microphone was still cutting in and out.
The Perrys and Dove Brothers closed the evening together singing “Get Away Jordan.”
A few technical notes: Whoever started the rumor that the video crew was cut to two was mistaken. I saw at least four cameramen active concurrently (and though I couldn’t see the fifth camera, it was also presumably manned). Though there was no boom (though there may well be from Thursday through Saturday), all other camera positions in place last year were still there.
Also, I had been somewhat curious how the four large video screens at the top of the screen were operated. A flatscreen monitor that size would be both prohibitively expensive and prohibitively heavy. As I suspected, the video screens are done via a projector; in this case, the projector is actually located directly above main stage, behind the screens; the screen is of such a quality that the projection stops at the screen and is visible as though it was a television monitor. If you want to see a mirror image of the video feed, watch the back of the screen opposite yours.
Highlights: Wednesday’s highlights for me occurred in the vendors’ hall. I had neat conversations with Chris Freeman, Dustin Sweatman, Kim Collingsworth, and the young man who leads the Taylors, a new group out of North Carolina. (His first name escapes me presently). The Freemans’ rendition of “Children of the Dust” was also neat to finally hear live.Read More