Hits Deep Tour|
2/19/16, at Legacy Arena at the BJCC in Birmingham, AL
In the past 4+ years, I have been blessed with the ability to attend many concerts and have seen a number of great performances in that time. As the number of concerts I've attended continues to climb, it becomes more difficult to be blown away by a single artist's performance, let alone an entire lineup. That was definitely the case at the Hits Deep Tour.
Hollyn took the stage first and gave a powerful start to the night with her 2-song set, which included her hit "Alone," as well as a cover of "All I Need is You." Whether she was playing the guitar or behind a piano, her musical talent paired with a powerful voice made for a great performance, and I look forward to seeing a longer set from her in the future. In a unique move, a bigger name artist, Colton Dixon, took the stage next, with a six-song set list that started off with "Our Time is Now" and concluded with "In and Out of Time." Even though I was a little disappointed that my favorite song, "Loud and Clear," didn't make it onto the short set list, the songs that he did sing were all great choices. EDM greats Capital Kings came on next, with the duo of Jon White and Cole Walowac playing shortened versions of five songs, all coming off of their latest album, II. Jon waving a Capital Kings flag around during some of the performance was a nice touch to their time on stage. It is very unfortunate that Jon is leaving the group in the near future, as the pair gave a great show for all of the concert-goers.
Building 429 followed Capital Kings with a 6-song set that included songs from their last 3 albums, with "Impossible" leading off the band's set. Along with a new backdrop, lead singer Jason Roy ditched his usual suit and jacket attire for a more casual look. Whether or not it is just for this tour or a permanent change is yet to be seen, but either way, I enjoyed the changes. The only problem I had with their time on stage is that they used a few verses from the song "Impossible" as their outro as well. With the limited time they had on stage and a vast library of songs to choose from, it would have been nice to hear something different as the last song they played. Finding Favour came next. The inclusion of the praise and worship sound they bring was a great choice for the tour, and they were outstanding with their performance. Britt Nicole was the last of the openers to play, and she brought the concert to the next level. Her band and backup dancers rocked the arena in a unique and lively way, and although I didn't know a lot of her songs going into the night, with the kind of show she brought, I can guarantee the entire audience enjoyed the show she put on.
The headliner of the night, TobyMac, came on after the intermission with style. His part of the show started off with a white curtain that showed silhouettes of him and other band members, and after it dropped "Til the Day I Die" was performed (like Audio Adrenaline once did in 2005 when Toby opened for them!), as TobyMac and his crew waved white flags that stated the name of the song. Stylishness that only he can bring to a show continued throughout the night while he sang hits spanning several of his albums, including the great songs "Move," "Catchafire," "Beyond Me" and "Speak Life." Of course, he shared the stage with some of the openers as well, having Hollyn sing along with "Lights Shine Bright," "Funky Jesus Music" and "Backseat Driver." Colton Dixon and Britt Nicole got in on the fun as well, joining Toby for "Undeniable" and "Eye on It," respectively. The biggest highlight had to be the introduction for "Funky Jesus Music" in which TobyMac spoke of all the different styles of music he likes to use, the last of which he said was, of course funk. A few verses of the song "Funky Town" was played as an intro to the song. Immediately following that was one of my favorite songs, "Eye On It," where some of the bands used drumline-style drums to play. It added a great uniqueness to the live performance. Before going into the last song of the evening, he sang "City on Our Knees" with the screen showing a city skyline being progressively drawn. "Me Without You" was the last song of the night that TobyMac performed, and the screen had the city name that they played in that night on it. It was nice to see that they had something special for each city on the tour to show the audience. In total, he performed 18 songs, taking up nearly 90 minutes with his time on stage. It's always nice to see a headliner go over the usual hour mark, and he did so by far.
The Legacy Arena at the BJCC was a fantastic choice for the concert. With the area behind the stage as well as all the seats on the upper deck closed off, the rest of the arena was near capacity and everyone in attendance had a great view for the show. It was also nice for the smaller bands to play on the smaller part of the stage at the end of the runway as it allowed floor audience members that were further back have closer views of them. It also allowed for a better flow throughout the night, as the bands playing on the bigger portion of the stage could set up without impeding the show. Having the smaller and bigger name bands alternate was great as well, as those who were lesser-known had the opportunity to be seen by more audience members who got to the show after it started. Between all of the great artists, unique lineup, the production, and the spectacle that TobyMac has, this was definitely one of the best concerts I've been to, and I will have lasting memories from it.
-- John Breuer, 3/2/16