Legends. One of the very first musical artists I got into as a teenager was Steven Curtis Chapman. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed and listening to "Heaven in the Real World" and really finding the words "Where is the hope?" resonating with this teenager's broken heart. A couple years later, I went to a fairgrounds in Hatfield, PA, where I saw a fairly new band called Third Day headline. That experience won me over and I've been a fan ever since that show twenty years ago.
Concerts can be incredible when it's just one band playing in a garage, parking lot, or the corner of the backroom of a church. But they can also be incredible when they think completely outside the box and the norm and do something crazy -- like having Third Day and Steven Curtis Chapman tour together, with Third Day as SCC's band and the two artists playing together all night. Did I say "crazy?" It's more like inspired, unforgettable, and just plain fun.
Whether you've seen countless performances over the course of twenty-two years (like this writer has), or you've been to only one show, you can tell when an artist or band is having fun and enjoying themselves (and other times, you really have to wonder if they want to be there at all). For a tour like SCC3D, it's more than obvious that everyone on stage is having the time of their lives; I've seen both artists separately and now together and it was more than obvious that the guys on stage had a blast playing together. Even chatting with a few crew members off stage, they were heartbroken that this particular Reading, PA date was the second-to-last show on this tour.
I'd never been to the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading, PA, although I've seen many shows at the venue just down the street, at the Santander Arena (which has gone through a couple name changes through the years). It's a beautiful old theater with a real classy feel to it. A Thursday night probably isn't the best night for a concert, but the fans showed up nonetheless and the Performing Arts Center was indeed packed. The show started pretty promptly at 7pm, after the doors had opened an hour earlier. The bands were announced and the show kicked off with Steven Curtis Chapman on stage with all of Third Day, appropriately opening with 3D's "Come Together." But to be fair, the song soon morphed into SCC's "Live Out Loud," and it was just a glorious way to get a night of back-and-forth like this started.
Steven stepped back for "Tunnel," from Third Day's Wherever You Are, but then 3D's Mac Powell receded into the dark for Chapman's "Do Everything." They then paused between songs to talk about selecting songs for the tour and each artist's lists of "musts" for the other artist to play. Mac then said he insisted Steven play his favorite SCC song, and Steven launched into "Lord of the Dance." Powell relinquished the mic to SCC for this one, but surprisingly returned to take a verse later in the song and sing along with Steven. It was moments like these that just really made this night so special. Third Day's "You Are So Good To Me" was next, followed by both artists joining for "God of Wonders." Steven then offered up a prayer before taking the lead on his new song, "One True God" (for which Powell provided support). Third Day's "Revelation" was next, complete with a pair of solos from guitarist Mark Lee and pianist Scotty Willbanks. Everyone then left the stage for Steven to talk a bit. He shared that he's tried not doing the next song live but always felt like it was wrong not to play it. He talked about his wife Mary Beth and then performed "I Will Be Here," with just Scotty on the keys. Everyone then returned to the stage for a special acoustic set where the artists talked about their older material and listening to each other's music. The acoustic set opened with Steven playing "Let Us Pray," "Speechless" and "For the Sake of the Call." Mac then talked about how he got started in music (and had started his first band with Mark Lee, called Nuclear Hoedown) and listening to SCC's music. Mac then led the band in "I've Always Loved You," "By His Wounds" (from Powell's various-artist labor of love, Glory Revealed), which also featured guitarist Trevor Morgan taking lead vocal duties briefly, and "Nothing But The Blood." Steven then introduced artist/speaker Warren Barfield to talk to the audience before intermission, while the bands took a break.
After intermission, the combined artists resumed with SCC's "Dive" and "Love Take Me Over," before shifting to Third Day's "Call My Name" and "I Need a Miracle." Another cut from Steven's brand new worship album, Worship and Believe - "More Than Conquerors" - was next, and then Third Day performed one from their album, Lead Us Back, with "Victorious." Everyone left Steven alone on stage again to tell the story of their loss of their adopted daughter Maria and treasuring the time we have with our children before playing "Cinderella." He then moved into the beautiful "The Glorious Unfolding," and Third Day followed it by leading the audience in "Blessed Assurance" and a chorus of "Cry Out to Jesus." Mac then announced their closing song, Rich Mullins' "Creed," and brought the show to a close with a bang. But of course, an encore is rather inevitable, and the entire team returned for Steven Curtis Chapman's iconic classic, "The Great Adventure." Afterwards, Mac shared a brief word about Steven's ministry for orphans, Show Hope, before they all closed with the rousing hit, "Soul On Fire."
When all was said and done, the fans were left with a packed night of music from two extraordinary performers. It was quite honestly one of the best and most memorable shows I've ever been to, and a tour I hope the artists decide to do again before too long. In the meantime, don't miss either artist live if you get a chance to see them; you'll be in for a memorable night of music and worshipping Jesus.-- John DiBiase, 8/31/16
SCC3D Set List
Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day
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