Concert Review: The Newsboys Experience

By Paul Gibson | May 14th, 2011 | Posted In Concert Review

newsboys-live-11-4My wife, some friends, and I went to check out the “Newsboys Experience”, kind of a lofty title huh? Well I must admit despite the hype, I was pretty optimistic that it just might live up to all the publicity and hoopla, so I was in a pretty good mood.

Disciple opened things up with “Set It Off” from their newest album Horseshoes And Handgrenades then ripped through, “Game On,” “Invisible,” “After The World,” “Dear X (You Don’t Own Me),” and “Rise Up” in a set that just felt all too short. The band was spot on and Kevin’s voice while a little horse at times, sounded great. It felt like they could have played another half hour easily and the crowd would have been elated.

Kutless took the stage about 10 minutes later opening with “The Feeling,” and at least for that song it felt like┬áJon Micah Sumrall’s mic wasn’t quite up high enough. He was barely discernible over the rest of the band. After their opeing number they only performed one more track from their vast arsenal of rock tracks before moving on to their praise and worship portion. They went through “Strong Tower,” “God Of Wonders,” “Give Us Clean Hands,” “What Faith Can Do” and others, but the energy from the first 6 minutes never really picked back up. They did a good job of performing the songs they chose, but it felt almost draggy after seeing Disciple only minutes earlier. I would really would have liked to see them be more aggressive, especially since they are traveling with such energetic bands.

The energy felt like it built steadily from the time people started filing back from bath roombreaks and merch purchases till the computer generated voice announced that the Newsboys would hit the stage in 2 minutes. A countdown appeared across the many LED screens behind the stage and counted down to zero. Then out of nowhere Michael Tait appeared about 15 feet behind our seats joined by Newsboys drummer Duncan Phillips on a 50 foot long platform that jutted out from the center of the stage into the audience. They opened with an abbreviated cover of “Dynamite” Taio Cruz, then went straight into “One Shot.” The light show and Tait’s charisma and showmanship blew away any doubts that the Newsboys could still rock it with out long-time frontman Peter Furler. ┬áTait had a cool combo of humility and swagger, that few can pull off and it made him a joy to watch. It was also interesting to see the boys without a normal bassist. Keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein held down the normal synths as well as bass duties on a second synth. So even with out a 4 string presence the band sounded as full as ever. Of course the amount of special effects and stage customizations were staggering, the rotating drum set, robotic arms for guitarist Jody Davis and keyboardist Frankenstein, and Michael Tait’s vertical lift (which was like 10 feet from out seats). They performed “Born Again,” “Something Beautiful,” “When The Boys Light Up,” “Miracles,” “Mighty To Save,” “Escape,” and abbreviated versions of “Breakfast,” and “Shine” before leaving the stage, they returned after a few minutes of cheering to perform their new single “Save You Life” and their remake of “Jesus Freak.”

Ultimately the concert was great, Disciple tore it up, Kutless (while mellow) played well and the Newsboys showed everyone that Christians do indeed know how to have a good time and do it well.

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