Breaking out in the early 2000's with their career-making hit, "I Can Only Imagine," MercyMe has been a mainstay on Christian radio ever since, and has blossomed into one of the biggest worship bands still around. I recently saw their performance along with openers Zealand Worship and Citizen Way. What I didn't expect was (all things considered) one of the best concerts I have been to.
Zealand Worship started things off with a 5-song set list that included their hit "Love Never Fails" and a cover of the Newsboys hit "He Reigns." Lead singer Phil Joel (a former long standing member of Newsboys) did a fantastic job, as did the rest of the band. The praise and worship style of music that was performed was a perfect start to the night. Up next was Citizen Way, who brought a pop music style to the concert. Their biggest hit, "Nothing Ever (Could Separate Us)," started the 6 songs they performed, and throughout the entire show, lead singer Ben Calhoun was all over the stage, bringing the most energy to the stage of any artist of the night. Fans of the newer style of Hawk Nelson should definitely give these guys a listen.
Headliner MercyMe did not waste any time getting the show started with "Gotta Let it Go," and flowed directly into "New Lease" and "Shake." The show only got better as it went along, especially when they did a medley of some of the songs they didn't have time to perform in their entirety, such as "Be Glorified" and "Surrender." Some of the best lighting happened during that portion of the night, with white lights shining on the crowd and spinning as they reached the ceiling. Following that was the most personal moment of the night, as lead singer Bart Millard spoke on his childhood experiences with his abusive father and more importantly how his father got saved before passing away from cancer. As someone who just lost my father-in-law, this was definitely the most emotional experience I've had at a concert in a while, and more so for my wife. Following that powerful story were 3 songs that were written from that experience; "Finally Home," "Dear Younger Me," and "Imagine." The 2-song encore of "Sparrow" and "Greater" ended the night for the popular worship band.
The Dothan Civic Center was a great place for the event to be held, and it held the roughly 2,000 people nicely--and there were no sound issues. The lighting was fantastic as well, as none of the artists had their time on stage compromised by low lighting (except when used for effect). The inclusion of Citizen Way for this tour was a great choice to mix things up on stage and give the audience a different sound to hear. With all that, and great song choices by all the bands, this was one of the best CCM concerts I've ever been a part of.-- John Breuer, 5/1/16
Zealand Worship List
Citizen Way Set List
MercyMe Set List
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