Christmas is by far my favorite holiday and time of year. As a Christian, any opportunity to celebrate the true reason for the season with Jesus Christ's name lifted high is a welcome one. I looked forward to seeing Newsong, along with Building 429, Plumb, and Reno praise Him as well at the Very Merry Christmas Tour in Tallahassee Florida.
To kick the night off, they used the popular song "Carol of the Bells" by Manheim Steamroller as an intro song that was played simply as an audio track to get the crowd hyped up for the show. Following that, members of all the bands came on stage for a beautiful rendition of "O Come Let Us Adore Him." As much as I love that song, it felt odd that they started off the show with a slower song when they used such an upbeat and fast-paced intro song. Still, it was still nice to see all the vocal artists on stage to kick off the night. Reno, a fairly new band, came on next. The 3 songs they played sounded great, and the band only proved they deserved to have a few fill-in spots on the east coast portion of Winter Jam in 2015. The lighting during their set, however, left much to be desired. The dark blue lights used from behind did little to illuminate the stage and performers themselves. It was very frustrating to have a great performance not be enjoyable because of poor lighting.
Plumb performed next, and started off with "Silent Night," a great choice as one of the 2 Christmas songs she decided to sing. Up next was her most popular song, the crowd pleaser "Need You Now." Her best performance of the night and one of the most outstanding songs of the entire concert was next. She jokingly spoke about a very "serious" song in her family, and then played the fun song "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas," even playing a kazoo during the song. It brought a smile to my face and the entire crowd enjoyed it as well. She finished her set on stage with "Lord I'm Ready Now." The entire time she was worshipping the Lord through music, you could feel her passion come through. Fortunately, the lighting was better for her set, as the room was brighter and made for a more aesthetically pleasing show.
Part 1 of Building 429's set followed. Jason Roy and his signature silver jacket, along with his talented band members, started off by playing the classic song "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree." Then they played 2 of their hit songs, "We Won't Be Shaken" and "Impossible." The first part of their performance was great, and it was nice to see 2 co-headliners for this tour, with the first part of Newsong's show immediately following them. Newsong started their performance with "White as Snow," a great song about Christ's redemption from sin. Up next was another standout moment of the night, as the late singer Louis Armstrong's video came on the screen for his classic song, "What a Wonderful World." It was very respectful for the members of Newsong to let him take center stage before singing along with him, with Billy Goodwin playing the trumpet. Yet another great moment happened when "Little Drummer Boy" was played. Plumb joined Newsong on stage to help sing and then, seemingly out of nowhere, an entire drum line from a local Tallahassee High School joined in on the show. It definitely added energy to an already classic song. Part 1 of Newsong's set ended with "Arise my Love."
Before the intermission, Jason Roy delivered a great and personal story regarding helping children overseas before asking audience members to adopt a child in need. He spoke on how being raised poor made him initially hesitant to give in any form, only to see what poor truly meant when he went overseas to visit a village personally. It was a great way to communicate what need really meant, and to hear him speak about his initial unwillingness to give made a real connection with the audience and helped get the message across.
"Impossible" was played by Building 429 after the intermission, followed by "Press On." "I'll be Home for Christmas" was the last song played by Building 429. It was beautifully done, as Jason Roy and Aaron Branch, along with Jason Roy's cousin, a newcomer to the band, sang the song a-Capella style. Building 429's entire performance was great, with the style that they bring to the stage and Jason's amazing vocals. The song choices were great for them too, with some of their biggest hits being played with a few Christmas classics as well.
Newsong came on again one more time, and following a video playing a clip from the Hallmark movie Christmas Shoes (which was inspired by the song they wrote), they played the title song. To make their special song that much better, they picked a boy from the audience before the show started to help sing the song. "The Christmas Hope" was played next, with Jason Roy co-singing the song. The last song of the night was another rendition of "Silent Night," with Plumb singing with the band. To set the mood even more, the entire room was lit by only a few background lights on stage and artificial candles held by the audience. It was a fitting end to a great night of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
The last concert of 2015 I attended was a good one. The song choices were great with all the bands performing both hits and Christmas classics. The venue was great for the event, and the audience seemed to have a great time. Unfortunately, the low lighting took away from some of the performances; however the talent of the bands made up for it.-- John Breuer, 1/7/16
Reno Set List
Plumb Set List
Building 429 Set List
Newssong Set List
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