Mike Arnold and Brian Hasbrook of Concert Blast were on hand at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN to enjoy and review the Winter Jam 2011 concert. This was a night of various styles of Contemporary Christian music and Mike and Brian loved this evening. With ten acts performing short sets of their new and popular tunes. The acts on the Nashville tour stop were; Newsboys, Kutless, David Crowder Band, Francesca Battistelli, Newsong, Red, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris August, Jason Castro, and several guest appearances from Christian Rapper, KJ52.
The doors opened at about 4:50pm and the music began ten minutes later. The night started with former American Idol Jason Castro with a few songs on his acoustic guitar and then continued with the acoustic sounds of Chris August.
They mentioned Chris is nominated for five Dove Awards this year. He had a very funny section of his set with a rap song of why he likes candy. Some of the road crew entered the stage to dance along and throw candy to the crowd and at the band members as a few of them were wearing the M&M candy costumes.
Last year’s Dove award winner as New Artist of the Year, Sidewalk Prophets, took the stage to the excellent voice of lead singer, Dave Frey as he belted a portion of the hymn, “To God Be The Glory,” before the band kicked in with their popular tunes. They were the first to get the crowd on their feet and remain there throughout their entire set.
Throughout the night Christian rap artist KJ52 took the small platform stage in the center of the arena floor to get the crowd excited, introduce sponsors of the night, the speakers, and the next act. He did a terrific job with his duties as he got the crowd to sway, dance, sing, and on occasion he had a team to sling free Winter Jam T-Shirts to the thousands of fans in attendance. Once he led the crowd dancing to Michael Jackson’s famous hit, “Thriller.” They called this segment, “Stuck in the 80s,” as they were rapping this line. All of a sudden he intructs to stop the music and said it is now karaoke night in Nashville as the PA blasted out the Journey song, “Don’t Stop Believing.” The crowd of over 16,000 approved with screams and singing along.
Chistian Hard Rockers, RED were next to take the stage and demand the attention from the crowd as they blasted out tunes from their new CD, “Faceless.” The stage was covered with fire pods, sparklers, and explosions throughout their set. The fans in attendance seem to enjoy them very much, but they enjoyed every act no matter what type of music was being played. Brian mentioned if you had these guys in a venue full of wood, the place would probably burn down.
Newsong’s set consisted of having a lot of fun with the crowd by playing portions of “Sweet Home Alabama” (while picking on their guitarist being from Los Angeles), “Shout”, and taking the stage with the Beatles song, “All You Need Is Love”. There were also times they were very serious. Once with a short Godly message before leading into their song, “One True God.”
Francesca Battistelli performed several of her hits as well as introduced new songs from her latest project. Those in attendance really enjoyed her melodic pop sound as you could look around to see the young girls in attendance mouthing the words of her songs. She won the crowd with her hit, “Beautiful.”
David Crowder Band has been a Concert Blast favorite for years. David Crowder’s stage presence personality, his humour, and his worship leading ability is one of the best around. He’s a man who seems to be able to get along and joke with anyone, yet he can also get serious with his worship songs. One of my favorite lines from the night was when he asked the crowd who has never seen the David Crowder Band in concert before. Whenhe heard a loud cheer, he immediately said, “Look at you, Repent!” David is the best in the business to communicate with the crowd and to get them singing. Many performers from all genres of music can learn from him!
Kutless had the stage reformed into looking almost like a church with stain glass pictures on the video screen and columns setup across the back of the stage behind the band. Lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall showed his vocal skills with the various singing styles and range. The band performed re-vamped hymns and worship songs as well as performing some of their radio hits.
After a twenty-minute intermission, Christian rock and Worship artist, Newsboys, took the stage performing a portion of the Taio Cruz hit, Dynamite. New lead singer Michael Tait from dc Talk showed the Nashville crowd how to be a front man for a rock band. Michael led the crowd throughout the set with songs from their recent CD, Born Again, sing alongs from Worship songs and their past radio hits. For the first time of the night, the fans rushed the stage and stayed there for the remainder of the night. While Michael Tait walked and ran up and down the extended runway stage, guitarist Jody Davis and keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein were on platform stages that extended out over the crowd throughout the set.
The best visual of the night was watching drummer, Duncan Phillips play his kit while the drum riser rose up and then slowly turned to a 90 degree level. The crowd could have stayed all night to hear the Newsboys, but while the Newsboys had a limited time on stage due to many acts, they squeezed in only a portion of their popular Christian radio hits.
Winter Jam always seem to come up with a surperb lineup of some of today’s best Christian Artists each year. If you want to become familiar with Christian music, all you need to do is to attend one of these yearly events. You get a taste of various music styles and all for only a $10 admission charge. We always try to attend Winter Jam each year and we suggest you do the same.
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Tags: Brian Hasbrook, Bridgestone Arena, Chris August, Christian Rock, Concert Photos, David Crowder Band, Duncan Phillips, Francesca Battistelli, Jason Castro, Jeff Frankenstien, Jody Davis, KJ52, Kutless, Michael Tait, Mike Arnold, Nashville, Newsboys, Newsboys Concert Photos, Newsong, podcast, Red, Sidewalk Prophets, TN, Winter Jam 2011 Photos, Worship music