At this stage in his career, TobyMac is easily one of the biggest names in the Christian music industry, period. With dozens of studio and live albums under his belt, not to mention his tenure in DC Talk, Toby has always been in the spotlight, and for good reason. He has a special, unique way of setting the trends, which contrasts others in his genre.
This factor certainly carries over into his live shows, as Toby does not hold back from giving his audience an experience to remember. In his latest release, Live In Denver, listeners get an inside scoop as to what his more recent performances sound like. As expected, Toby's showmanship is top notch, while the musicians are as tight as can be, which makes for an enjoyable listen.
The tracklist kicks off with his hit single, "I Just Need U.", before heading straight into the funky "Everything." These two songs set the tone for most of the project, as Toby's soulful voice is smoothly backed by clean guitars, keys, electronic elements, and background singers. His funky side comes out in full force on tunes like "Move (Keep Walkin')," "OverFlow," and "Edge Of My Seat," which are each excellent listens.
However, the record also has its heartfelt moments, such as Toby's live edition of "21 Years," the song he wrote after the passing of his oldest son, Truett. What is beautiful to hear is how he clearly portrays the gospel message to the crowd, something not all Christian artists will do in this day and age. Despite the loss of his son, he is using this tough circumstance to spread the hope of Jesus Christ to others, which is incredible to see.
Some other standouts on the record include "Starts With Me," where Toby is pleading with the audience to unite together to make a difference. "Hello Future" and "Til' The Day I Die" are both energetic and fun, while "Speak Life" closes the show on a reflective and honest note. Another element that deserves some attention is the Diverse City Band. They play a perfect role alongside TobyMac, and add a lot of depth to the show overall.
The only potential issue facing the album is that at certain points, it can be difficult to hear the crowd when it seems like they should be present. Now, this is only going to bring down the record's value depending on if that element is important to the listener. However, some more crowd involvement certainly would have been appreciated, as we know they were louder than the album suggests.
At the end of the day, TobyMac has put together a solid live endeavour, one that has a certain level of cohesiveness and quality that sets it apart from other similar projects. This record comes highly recommended, especially for those looking to hear what TobyMac sounds like in a live setting.- Review date: 7/17/21, written by James Larsen of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Forefront Records / Capitol CMG
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