Steven Curtis Chapman, Christ Tomlin, Casting Crowns|
7/10/05, Seaholm High School in Ypsilanti, MI
Whenever I attend a concert, I usually never know exactly what to expect.
Steven Curtis Chapman's "All Things New" Tour (with Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin) was no
exception. But I could have never anticipated Mr. Steven Curtis Chapman himself taking center
stage first… yes that is right-first! While it may have seemed odd that this five-time Grammy
Award winning artist came to the microphone alone armed with nothing more than his acoustic guitar,
Mr. Chapman expressed his desire to open the show with prayer and then treated the audience to a
special concert version of his latest release to radio "Much of You." After the quick welcome,
Steven Curtis left the stage to make room for new artist phenomena Casting Crowns.
Upon the seven-member outfit taking the stage, they instantly launched into their hit single
"If We Are The Body." The band continued to build momentum with songs from their self-titled
record such as "Who Am I" and "American Dream." No doubt the audience was enjoying every minute
especially when headliner Steven Curtis Chapman joined Casting Crowns for their
current, chart-topping single "Voice of Truth" (which was co-written by Chapman). With the crowd's
attention secured, lead singer Mark Hall took time to speak about his struggle through the years
with Dyslexia and ADD along with the band's work with youth. Casting Crowns then brought their
thirty-minute plus set to a close with the energetic "What If His People Prayed" with the
evening's concert goers gladly singing along. Overall, Mark Hall and company pulled off an
impressive set that didn't hint towards the bands "new artist" status.
Steven Curtis Chapman has never been one to put on an ordinary show. This was
proven when he, accompanied by his complete band, rolled out onto a corner of the stage to perform
some older fan favorites. The brief "montage" set performed during the set changes from Casting
Crowns to Chris Tomlin featured hits such as "More to Life," "Not Home Yet," and "The Walk," among
a few others. With SCC fans pleased for the time being, worship leader Chris Tomlin began his half
hour segment with the familiar "O Come Let Us Adore Him." Within his time slot Tomlin and his
three-piece band worked their way through various praise songs including his recent number one pop
worship song "Indescribable." The crowd on this particular evening seemed quite satisfied while
joining Tomlin in worship, raising their hands, and, of course, a cell phone wave. While most
seemed pleased with Tomlin's adequate set, some may have been shocked by the lack of the hit
"Famous One," which was replaced with other lesser known songs recorded by the singer.
But would the set be complete without yet another visit from Steven Curtis Chapman? Apparently not,
as he joined Tomlin halfway through "How Great Is Our God." Once the duet was finished,
Chris Tomlin brought his time to a close by leading the audience in "How Great Though Art."
Now, just as I thought, Steven Curtis Chapman would make his final trip to the stage to begin
his full set. Once again, he came to the stage to perform just one song "What Now," from his Grammy
Award winning, 2004 release All Things New. Upon finishing the song, he spoke about his
family's involvement with adoption and then featured a video about his organization "Shaohannah's
Hope"- a foundation dedicated to assisting families with the financial burden of adoption. With the
video finished, it was now time for intermission where I began to wonder at that point whether or
not Steven Curtis would actually have a full set. All my questions were answered after the fifteen-minute
break when the lights went down and music came up.
Finally, Steven Curtis Chapman along with the full band (keyboardist and band leader Scott
Sheriff, drummer Will Denton, bassist Adam Nitti, and guitarists Adam Lester and Justin York) made
their way to the stage kicking into "All Things New," the title track of SCC's latest project.
That particular hit was followed up with other high energy numbers including "Jesus Is Life" and
"Only Getting Started." But before the typically favored pop tunes took over the show, it was time
for Steven to offer a special tribute to his wife, Mary Beth Chapman. Because he never toured in
promotion of his 2003 release All About Love, SCC put together a montage of songs from
that record which featured "I Will Be Here" and "All About Love," among others. The songs were
even complimented by a multimedia screen that displayed photos of Steven Curtis and Mary Beth
Chapman during their lives together. Mr. Chapman didn't only speak of his wife through the night,
however, he also sprinkled stories about his six children throughout the show. He even sang the
adoption-themed ballad "When Love Takes You In," which left few eyes dry in the building.
Later on in the evening, Steven Curtis performed "Believe Me Now" from All Things New,
but what about Mac Powell's (of Third Day) distinctive background vocals for the song? While the
Third Day frontman, of course, was not present, Casting Crowns' lead singer Mark Hall joined
Chapman halfway through the song to sing the second verse and fill in Powell's parts. That was not
the only guest vocalists in Chapman's segment, though. A few songs later, Chris Tomlin entered the
stage to carry out yet another hit- "Speechless" before jumping into the finale.
Although notables such as "Live Out Loud" and "Dive" seemed to be missing from the set list,
they were saved for the end to create an impressive, jam-packed finish. Before calling it a night,
SCC and company revisited the tour's theme song "All Things New" and welcomed back the Casting
Crowns members, along with Chris Tomlin and band, back to the stage. Everyone, both the performers
and the audience, seemed to be having a good time as Steven Curtis Chapman finished off a show
that was to indeed celebrate "all things new."
-- Lauren Summerford, 2/23/05