One of the premier tours this spring has been Kutless and Casting Crowns. On the surface that seems like an odd combination of bands, however, due to the worship-based lyrics of the newest albums by both groups, the event was one of the best nights of vertical worship I’ve ever experienced. I attended the concert on Sunday, February 28, 2010 in Hershey, PA. Here is a song-by-song description of the concert.
Kutless opened with "It Is Well," an all-time classic hymn with signature Kutless' guitar riffs and frontman Jon Micah Sumrall's powerful vocals. "Give Us Clean Hands/Let It Be" medley was up next, a great recording of the Charlie Hall song and a stand-out song on the album. Sumrall said, "Our entire being is about worshiping our Creator."
"You Save Me" is a great new song from their latest album It Is Well. They follow that up with the worship anthem "Strong Tower" that got the crowd on their feet and singing loudly to our Everlasting King!
Next came #1 hit song "What Faith Can Do." Sumrall said, "This song has had an amazing response. I get e-mails saying that the song is reminding people to hold onto their faith. We serve a God who is much bigger than our struggles. What would your life look like if everything was taken away in this moment? Would Jesus be enough?" Sumrall quoted Corrie Ten Boom: "When we are powerless to do anything, it is a great joy that we can come and step inside the ability of Jesus,” which led to the great new song "I’m Still Yours" with these very powerful lyrics: “If You take it all, this life You've given / Still my heart will sing to You ... You take it all away and I still know / That I'm Yours, I'm still Yours”
Kutless ended with "Sanctuary" by starting the chorus and then leaving the stage with the crowd singing the lyrics with the lights off. It was a very classy way to finish a great set of worship-filled songs.
Casting Crowns started with their #1 hit song, "Until The Whole World Hears," and the crowd instantly sang along in unison. I've seen this band live three times, and this is their best opening song and certainly one of their best songs, too.
"If We Are The Body" is an all-time classic worship anthem and originally made me a fan of the group. I love its timeless message of unity and acceptance in the Church. "Slow Fade" is an important message about the choices we make every day. The lyrics say: Be careful what you say/little ears will hear, be careful little eyes what you see/people never crumble in a day." "If We Ever Needed You" was next, and I just love the lyrics to this song. It says:"With all our hearts, all our minds, Lord it's now, We're reaching out." Lead singer Mark Hall prayed for Jesus to be part of our daily lives as He is the Only Name that can save us.
"Glorious Day" was next and is a fantastic hymn re-write that had entire crowd of about 7,000 people in Hershey, PA on their feet singing in unison. Hall then said that "by now, some guy usually nudges his wife and asks when will they sing 'I Can Only Imagine.' Sorry to disappoint you," Hall continued, "but we ain't MercyMe, and we ain't singin' that song tonight."
"Who Am I" was up next and is my all-time favorite Casting Crowns song. It makes me cry every time I hear it. Hall closed with a prayer, praising God for saving us because of who He is, not for what we've done. We serve an amazing God. Just the thought of how much God loves me totally wrecks me, and this song is so personal and beautiful. Next came "Mercy," sung beautifully by Casting Crowns' pianist and vocalist Megan Garrett. "Your mercy saved me, mercy made me whole."
Hall talked about what it means to know Jesus. It's to know His Word and have a personal relationship with Him. He then started the song "To Know You," based on Philippians 3:8. This song should be the next single from the album, and it sounded great live.
Next, Hall and Garrett talked about Haiti while showing a video of World Vision providing food and help in Haiti and other poor countries. They asked for contributions to help the people in Haiti. Hall talked about being a Godly man and raising our children to understand what that means.
After a 20-minute intermission, they started up again with "What This World Needs" and then introduced the band with Brian Scoggin as their new drummer, Juan DeVevo on guitar, Chris Huffman on bass, Hector Cervantes on guitar, Megan Garrett on piano and background vocals, Melodee DeVevo on violin, and Mark Hall as lead singer.
"Holy One" is a great rocker from new album and played well live. The bridge says, "I will sing for Your Glory!"
The three-song acoustic set that followed was really cool and included the songs "I Know You're There" with Garrett and Melodee DeVevo singing lead, "Does Anybody Hear Her?" and "Stained Glass Masquerade" with Garrett singing lead. "Are we happy plastic people under shiny plastic steeples?"
Garrett went back to the piano and sang lead on "Blessed Redeemer," an amazing new song from Until The Whole World Hears. She led the crowd in worship, singing "my songs shall praise Him forever more."
The band went back to full instruments, and Hall said that we are here for "knowing Him and making Him known. We are all the hands and feet of Jesus, and we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. I had dyslexia and God called me to write and sing songs," which led to "Voice Of Truth," Hall's personal story and challenge in times of self-doubt to listen to "the voice of Truth."
Hall also spoke about "Always Enough." He said they wrote the song for people dealing with tragedy and for those who've lost a loved one. A dancer did an interpretive dance while the band played the song. "Your Love is the anthem of nations / You're always enough, I rejoice for my Savior reigns / worthy is the Lord."
They closed with an amazing set of songs starting with their #1 hit song "Praise You In This Storm," and then came the Dove Award-winning song of the year, "East To West." "At Your Feet" brought Melodee DeVevo back to lead and the final song was "Lifesong," which was a nice way to bookend the show. Hall led the crowd in an acapella chorus of “Until the Whole World Hears.”
If you’ve never had the privilege to see either of these great bands live, don’t miss out the next time they are in your area. Although you may feel like you’ve already heard almost every song by Casting Crowns from Christian radio or their studio albums, they always provide a worshipful experience that I highly recommend. Of the 4 times I’ve seen them live, this tour was by far my favorite as the new songs are more powerful live than on the album, and the opening set by Kutless was a fantastic way to kick off an amazing night.
Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.