The Newsboys have become quite known for their energetic and often outrageous live shows through the years. From rotating drum sets suspended above the stage, to space ships, gold and silver suits, and even spinning, dueling drumming solos, Newsboys know what a fun show is all about. For the Spring 2004 leg of the Adoration Tour, the band ventured out on the road with fellow Aussie Rebecca St. James and pop/rocker Jeremy Camp for an intense night of heartfelt worship. Despite an expansive career, the band has yet to release an official live album. While two live DVDs have been produced with a few live tracks wandering onto rare projects, an official audio project has never been offered to fans... until now.
You gotta expect the Newsboys to do things big. It really shouldn't be a surprise that for the band's first live album, there would be four different live recordings. Yes, four. Sparrow Records has teamed up with DiscLive.com to offer up four rare live recordings of four consecutive select dates from the Spring 2004 tour. Only 2,000 copies of each night have been made, making this a real special project.
So the question that's raised is, "how different are these releases from each other?" The answer is "not much." The set list is primarily the same across the records and offers up a pretty good blend of some Newsboys classics and new worship songs. The main traits that are unique across the recordings are primarily lead vocalist Peter Furler's messages to the crowd. While essentially the same in theme, these 12-20 minutes mini-sermons vary in delivery per concert. Also changing per show is the order the songs appear on the disc. Another question arises from this, however, are four projects with essentially the same content really needed? With the extensive amount of content that this band has to play live, perhaps changing the set each night even a little bit would have excused four different recordings. However, as is, it just doesn't really make sense past the excuse of novelty.
The sound quality of the project is really one of the most important factors. While many projects vary from being recorded straight through an artist's mic to more of the resonating in-the-audience feel, different methods of recording live return different live experiences. This experience falls more under the in-the-audience feel which has its pluses and minuses. The recording is crystal clear but the music sounds distant despite absorbing as well. The audience can often be heard in the recording as a commanding presence. While that can be extremely distracting or annoying on some recordings, it ultimately works to the project's benefit here.
The clarity of the recording depends on what medium you are using to listen to the project, so the quality tends to vary. The Adoration The Tour discs carry the strong smell of a live bootleg and much less like a high budget audio capture. The problem with this lies mostly in the price and at the same time limits its audience. Clearly only diehard Newsboys fans or audience members from the performance would really bother shelling out the steep $25 price for one of the recordings. And only that audience should really be the ones picking this up. If you want to introduce Newsboys to a could-be fan, you'll want to present with them a studio project or take them to a show instead.
Highlights on the recordings include a special duet with Rebecca St. James on "Blessed Be Your Name" as well as the always delightful "Million Pieces" and live cuts of "He Reigns," "Shine," and "Breakfast." As a whole, the Adoration The Tour records are an awesome treat for fans who can't get enough of the Newsboys. While the sound quality is certainly not the best (and the CD's are merely glorified store-bought CD-R's), I would certainly love to see more artists take advantage of the DiscLive service to provide fans with an extra special souvenir to walk away with following a show. Hopefully future projects will have lower price tags as well.- Review date: 4/12/04, written by John DiBiase
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