For those who are familiar with the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus, they know about the group's unstoppable passion for worshipping and having fun in the process. This quartet knows when it's time to celebrate and when it's time to collapse on our knees in complete reverence. And it's not uncommon to experience both numerous times during the course of a given RRWC performance. But after experiencing the Worship Circus live show several times at Creation 2002, I was a convert. The band secured a permanent spot among my preferred musical selections and worship time tool. The Circus offers a fresh approach to worship music that is sadly scarce these days, and their live performance is no exception.
The infamous saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover" can easily apply for the Rock N Roll Worship Circus. While some older and/or more conservative folks might get hung up on the dark clothes and multi-colored stylish hair, others will soon forget all about it when they hear the sweet sounds emitting from their instruments. That's not to mention the music of the group being obviously influenced by such legends as the Beatles, Monkees, and Pink Floyd. As amazing as the band sounds, it's mainly the older audience that recognize these influences and will be able to make a quick connection. This was perhaps the single problem I found on the February 13th New Britain, PA date. It was as equally as frustrating to the band as it was to me (I'm sure moreso for them) to see the younger audience -- mainly middle and high schoolers gazing at the band for most of the show with blank stares. Anyone who's heard the Worship Circus will know you can't remain as still as they were with such rousing tunes as "The Undiscovered," "The Blood of Jesus," not to mention the aptly named "Party Song." But this was the case. Did this mean the band wasn't performing their best? Far from it!
The Circus set opened appropriately with the rocker "Loving You." The tiny venue -- a 200 year old Baptist church house -- created an excellent sense of an intimate living room or coffee house gig as there wasn't a bad seat in the house... er... sanctuary. But by the beginning of the next number, "Party Song," lead vocalist Gabriel Wilson was expressing his frustration with the crowd's lack of enthusiasm in a light-hearted way. "C'mon guys! Your parents are looking better than you!" Gabe had stopped the song half-way through to try to fire up the audience. Following some persuasion, the crowd enjoyed making some noise to aid in participating with "Party Song." The catchy second coming celebratory "Everybody Awake" served as a worthy intro to the boisterous nod to the Monkees, "Blood of Jesus," which helped set the mood for a down-to-business melodic worship session. "We Sing Glory" slowed thing down considerably to lead off a string of Circus ballad gems. A quieter and more reverent mood fell upon the audience as the quartet continued on to lead the group in "Glorify the Son" and heavenly chilling/ musically brilliant "The Undiscovered." With prayer and a clear awareness of God's presence, the group performed the fragile "Open the Gates" before returning the mood to a more laid back party atmosphere. Gabriel took this moment as an opportunity to introduce some new Circus tunes to the audience. The heavily Beatles-influenced and irresistably catchy "Great Big Love" elicited enthusiastic approval from the crowd and eager participation when requested. Gabriel also used this time to test some concepts for the song the band was considering for the recording of the track on an upcoming release. But after some extended experimentation and a quick offering of the fast-paced southern-flavored rocker "Telephone," the group closed with another new tune, "Beautiful Glow." Following the encouragement of the evening's emcee, the group resumed their positions on stage for the rocking "Ride" and ending on a higher note preferred by Gabriel, "Blood of Jesus."
Seeing the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus for the first time outside of Creation Festival's massive gatherings of people was a new experience for me. I enjoyed both settings and it was great to see how the Circus handled each. If you ever have the opportunity to see the guys live, do not -- for any chance in life -- miss it! Go with a ready heart and prepare to worship loud and hard. Join the Worship Circus!
01. Loving You
02. Party Song
03. Everybody Awake
04. Blood of Jesus
05. We Sing Glory
06. Glorify The Son
07. The Undiscovered
08. Open the Gates
09. Great Big Love
11. Beautiful Glow
13. Blood of Jesus (reprise)
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