I first caught the Atlanta quintet Third Day in concert ten years ago at a festival in Hatfield, PA. Since growing to like their music enough to be elevated to "fan" status, it's been incredible to watch this band's impressive career. On the night I was able to see the band on their already successful Wherever You Are Tour, Third Day was to be awarded for their latest album Wherever You Are, achieving Gold status in sales (in this case, 500,000 copies shipped).
Upon taking our nosebleed seats at the Allen Arena, modern worship leader David Crowder and his band emerged to the sounds of Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire" to lead the crowd in what would prove to be a pretty rousing set. David Crowder*Band can easily be considered the worship leader with the most artistic integrity of all the current modern worship leaders and their set proved this to be true. Mixing familiar original worship songs with a unique artistic flavoring, Crowder has revolutionized worship music as we know it. Crowder's memorable set included an assortment of songs from their releases, including the popular "There Is No One Like You," "O Praise Him," and new cuts "Here Is Our King" and "You Are My Joy" from their latest project, A Collision. The standout moment of the set, however, was when bluegrass artist Marty Stuart and Third Day frontman Mac Powell joined the Crowder team for a boisterous cover of Hank Williams' "I Saw The Light."
An extended intermission gave Third Day bassist Tai Anderson a chance to share with the audience about a film called Invisible Children - a project that sheds light on the war that robs young Ugandan children of their innocence. But when the lights finally dimmed, the stage illuminated to reveal a large white sheet covering the stage. As the band's cover of Rich Mullins' "Creed" began, the silhouettes of the Third Day members filled the sheet. Once it dropped to reveal the entire band atop a glowing platform, they broke full-on into "Creed" for an exciting introduction.
The majority of the show seemed to be fused with rock tunes as they continued into "I Got A Feeling" and "RockStar." The backdrop made up of hundreds of small blinking lights created a streaming pattern of green dots to simulate a Matrix-like effect as the band performed "I Can Feel It" from Wherever You Are. Without missing a beat, the band was bathed in red lighting as Powell counted down from seven to break into their classic hit "Consuming Fire." The string of upbeat rock-based tracks ended with "Keep On Shining" before slowing for "Show Me Your Glory." The crowd was thrilled to say the least when the band admitted their next song was seldom played live. And when the emotional, piano-based intro to "Thief" began, the audience erupted in cheers.
An acoustic set followed, featuring the five members, plus their on-the-road keyboard player, lined up on stools to perform "I've Always Love You" from their album Time. Mac pretended to sing a Guns & Roses cover before leading into "Your Love Oh Lord" followed by "Nothing But The Blood." The percussion and keys left the stage to leave just Mac and the band's guitars (provided by Brad Avery and Mark Lee) to perform the classic hymn, "Blessed Assurance." When the song seemed to be winding down, the lights illuminated the entire stage to reveal the full band for a more rocked-out version of the song. And with the worshipful mood set right, Third Day proceeded to play "You Are So Good To Me," the hope-filled rocker "Tunnel," and the Offerings hit "King Of Glory." The set wrapped with the rock anthem "I Believe," followed by a faux departure.
The drawn-out pause between the end of the show and the encore seemed to last especially long before all of the guys returned to the stage for "Come Together." Third Day has always had a knack for writing big songs and modest songs with equal success, and "Come Together" comes off so well as a bold anthem for unity. Powell's heartfelt message on salvation came next, and the band's recent runaway hit "Cry Out To Jesus" inevitably followed. Finally, the band closed with the City On A Hill original "God Of Wonders," leaving the focus heavenward where it belongs.
It often amazes me just how effortless Third Day makes their performances look. With fantastic songwriting, down-to-earth delivery, and, in this case, a spectacular lights show to add a little spice to the appearance, Third Day remains one of the strongest acts in CCM. The Wherever You Are Tour is a quality mix of aristry and ministry and a wonderful evening of music. Third Day's song selections for the dates reminds listeners that they haven't forgotten their roots or their fans. This is a must-see tour of 2006!-- John DiBiase, 4/2/06
Third Day Set List
02. I Got A Feeling
04. I Can Feel It
05. Consuming Fire
06. Keep On Shining
07. Show Me Your Glory
09. I've Always Loved You
10. Your Love Oh Lord / Nothing But The Blood
11. Blessed Assurance
12. You Are So Good To Me
14. King Of Glory
15. I Believe
16. Come Together
17. Cry Out To Jesus
18. God Of Wonders
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