Newsboys at Fusion 2013

We saw the Newsboys last night. They were performing at the “Fusion 2013” event at the Anchorage Baptist Temple (the only church I’ve ever seen with a disco ball). Here’s a shot from the show.

Newsboys 2013

Judging from the number of people holding up phones (and iPads!) to record whole songs, you should be able to piece together the entire concert experience if you surf YouTube for a while.

Most of the songs last night were from the God’s Not Dead tour. I didn’t keep a set list, but I remember “The King is Coming,” “Your Love Never Fails” and (duh) “God’s Not Dead.” If they played “Forever Reign” or “I Am Second” I don’t remember them.

They also played a few songs from their forthcoming album Restart. They were fine songs but I don’t know them yet, much less remember their names, except for “Live With Abandon,” which is not infrequently on the radio.

I was surprised that they didn’t do much from their Born Again album. I think(?) they played “Born Again” and “Miracles,” but not much else. I was hoping for “Way Beyond Myself” and/or “Impossible,” and wouldn’t have complained if they’d played “One Shot.”

But I couldn’t be disappointed because they also threw in two of my very favorite pre-Michael Tait Newsboys songs: “Something Beautiful” from Go and “He Reigns” from Adoration. (The latter a worship song so wonderful it was included in the recent United Methodist Worship and Song quasi-hymnal.) In a nod to Tait’s history (and the crowd’s wishes) the set also included DC Talk’s “Jesus Freak.”

It was a great show. The venue was a huge church, which is to say, a very intimate stadium. I can’t remember ever being as close to the stage at a concert. The band was excellent, and made an effort to connect with the audience. They didn’t just read “Anchorage” off a sticky note on their guitar, so to speak, but talked about hunting moose and how Jesus would have been able to get some great disciples with so many fishermen to choose from.

Michael Tait was great, not only as the lead vocalist, but — especially — as a showman. The emcee had instructed everyone to stay in their pews because of the fire code, but after the band came out, Tait told them to come down front where he could get down among them and high-five them and make eye contact and hold out his microphone for them and generally connect with the audience as he sang.

This was my third Newsboys concert. Margo and I saw them in 1995 at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. They were the headline act in a bill that opened with Tony Vincent, followed by Audio Adrenaline. (If they toured with Audio Adrenaline today, it would be 2/3 of a DC Talk reunion.) That would have been the Going Public tour, I guess.

I saw the Newsboys again a year later on their Take Me to Your Leader tour. They had broken (for a Christian act) with “Breakfast,” and were at the Rose Garden in Portland, with a huge stage show. Theoretically, I was a chaperone for my church’s youth group. But after 1996, I didn’t have the chance to see them again until last night. I’m glad I did.

New Newsboys CD

I was pleased to see the Newsboys have got a new CD coming out. It’s called Born Again and (“for a limited time”) it’s a bargain at $6.49. It’s actually a better bargain than that, because buying it now gives you a download of a pre-release EP. So go do that.

I’ve been listening to them since 1994 or ’95. I saw them on their Going Public tour in a huge barn at the State Fairgrounds in Salem, Oregon, when they headlined a show that also featured Audio Adrenaline and Tony Vincent. That was the end of the small time for them, though. The very next year, they hit the big time with Take Me to Your Leader and sold out the Rose Garden in Portland. (I went as a “chaperone” (I guess) with a group of youth from my church, and I remember being disgusted that I was exactly double the age of the kids.)

A glance at the cover of the new CD told me there was news about the Newboys that I didn’t know, so I popped over to Wikipedia and caught up with them. There’s all kinds of things I didn’t know. The most obvious thing is that instead of six Australians they now have 4 people, and they aren’t all Australians. The lead singer, for example, is Michael Tait, formerly of dc Talk. The times are a-changin’.