A Night With Francesca Battistelli and Jeremy Camp
NRT Contributor Kevin Davis recently attended the "We Cry Out" Tour in Reading, PA on October 9, 2011.

Christian music artist Francesca Battistelli has had a fun, fast paced ride on life's roller coaster the last few years. Her debut music album, My Paper Heart was a major hit. She was awarded back to back GMA Dove Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year and is the reigning 2011 Artist and Female Vocalist of the Year. She got married and last year gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Matthew Elijah Goodwin. She's on top of the world and currently is touring with Jeremy Camp in support of her second album entitled, Hundred More Years.

She opened with “Don’t Miss It” which has a driving rock beat and seize the day theme similar to “It’s Your Life.” Francesca continued with “I’m Letting Go.”

I recently interviewed Francesca for a “Behind The Song” devotional about the next song, her current single “Motion Of Mercy.” The song is based on James 2:18: “But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.'Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” The message of the song really grabs me with Francesca’s sincere prayer, “God give me strength to give something for nothing, I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that's coming soon.”

She continued with “Emily (It’s Love)” which she sang as a duet with opening artist Adam Cappa. Francesca then moved to some of her big hits, Dove Award winning “Beautiful, Beautiful” and “It’s Your Life.”

The balance of her upbeat songs and ballads was a highlight as the songs flowed perfectly together. Francesca surprised me with a stellar vocal performance of the standard “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” which flowed brilliantly into her hit song “This Is The Stuff.” In traditional Francesca Battistelli style, she tells it just how it is and all the things that drive her crazy. The main message of the song, despite all the little things that drive us all crazy, is to remember we are blessed. Francesca writes and sings about relatable subjects and her lyrics and melodies are completely infectious. The bridge of “This Is The Stuff” also summarizes my prayer as a Christian: “To break me of impatience, Conquer my frustrations, I've got a new appreciation, It's not the end of the world.” 

The highlight of her set was when just Francesca and her husband Matthew Goodwin sat together on two stools at the front of the stage with Matt playing acoustic guitar. Francesca went on to share that she had written songs from her most recent album while pregnant with her baby boy. Having been married for 17 years with 3 young daughters, the song that moves me to tears is the amazing title track “Hundred More Years.” The song is about finding that person that you want to spend the rest of your life with and falling in love. The song is about great moments in life and wanting them to last a hundred more years. I got goose bumps and welled up when Francesca passionately and a cappella sang the beautiful lyrics, “they can laugh, they can cry, the future looks so beautiful and bright, they can dance in the moonlight, cause God is smiling down on them tonight, and He wants to stay right here, make it last for a hundred more years.” God wants to bless His children and the song completely blessed me and the audience. She closed with her mega-hit song “Free To Be Me.” Complete confidence in and reliance upon the grace of God is the theme of her great songs and her incredible new album. Don’t miss any chance to catch her in concert.
Jeremy Camp started off with the full band playing his version of “We Cry Out,” which is the title track on his most recent album We Cry Out. It was a great energetic start for a worship-focused set of songs. We all sang Jeremy’s versions of “Jesus Saves” and “Everlasting God” together. Those three worshipful songs set the tone for the night. One of my favorite songs of the night was next when Jeremy and his band belted out “Not Ashamed.” The lyrics of “Not Ashamed” come right from Romans 1:16“I’m not ashamed of the Gospel. Amen to that! Jeremy wouldn’t let us sit down yet, and told us to keep standing and to dance and sing with him during “I'm Alive.” We all jumped up and down and sang this great up tempo song from Speaking Louder Than Before.
Jeremy continued with “Take You Back” which was very powerful and confessional. I have always completely identified with the bridge “I can only speak with a grateful heart. As I'm pierced by this gift of Your love, I will always bring an offering, I can never thank You enough.” The song makes me cry every time I sing it and in this concert setting, I was extremely moved. The concert switched over for a couple of songs to an acoustic set starting with “Move In Me” which is one of the songs inspired directly from The Bible on the new collection called Music Inspired by The Story. I’ve always pictured Paul as a rugged guy, and one of the catchiest tracks on the album is Jeremy Camp belting out “Move In Me” as Paul on the move fittingly with a rock anthem song and a prayerful depiction of my favorite Bible hero submitting to Jesus, “I’m knocking down doors, You’re keeping the keys, Maybe they’ll open, maybe they’re not for me, I’m setting my sails, You ready the seas, I won’t make a move until You move in me.” Amen to that! It is a surefire hit song and was one of the best parts of the great night. The acoustic section continued with Jeremy’s hit song “Let It Fade” which had us all singing along at the top of our lungs “let this old life crumble, let it fade, let this new life offered be Your saving grace.”  
The band plugged back in and transitioned into the contemplative song “This Man” with the prayerful lyrics: “Would you take the place of this man, Would you take the nails from his hands” which ended with "Thank You for the cross my friend" from Matt Redman’s song “Once Again.” He then went on to tell us about his ministry which came from his response to losing his first wife Melissa to cancer when they were newly married. Out of that experience Jeremy wrote the next songs for his first album Stay, starting with “I Still Believe” which is the song that really hooked me on his music and continued with “Walk By Faith” with the moving lyrics, “Well I will walk by faith, Even when I cannot see, Well because this broken road, Prepares Your will for me.” We then sang the chorus of “Hallelujah” and then “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman. “Give You Glory” was next, and we all belted out “We give You glory, lifting up our hands and singing Holy, You alone are Worthy, We just want to touch Your heart Lord, touch Your heart.”

Jeremy’s final songs are also based on his experience of losing his first wife and getting  a glimpse of heaven by knowing God’s promise that one day Jesus will make “all things new.” He closed with “The Way” and “There Will Be A Day” which are two of my all-time favorite songs by Jeremy Camp. They are so powerful and I found myself completely caught up in the emotion of the amazing and inspiring lyrics, “There will be a day with no more tears, No more pain, and no more fears, There will be a day, When the burdens of this place, Will be no more, We'll see Jesus face to face.”

The tour was once again sponsored by Compassion International. I was there with my daughter Cassandra and a body of church believers who all got the great opportunity to hear great songs by a couple of the premier artists in Christian music. Francesca and Jeremy shared their hearts and testimony and songs of faith. It was a great night of worship to our amazing God.

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.

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