Wednesday, January 18, 2012

An Evening With the Perrys

I had the chance to see the Perrys in Wynne on Saturday night. This was only my second time seeing them live in concert.

They opened with “Plan of Salvation.” I’m glad to see the Perrys singing this song, I think Tracy Stuffle does a great job with it.

Next, they sang two songs from Blue Skies, “Blue Skies Coming” and “His Love Lights the Way.” Both songs are favorites of mine from that project. Tracy surveying the crowd said that he had on his mind to go back and do some old “campmeeting” songs. The group chose two Happy Goodman songs, “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey Now” and “I’m Living in Canaan Now.” It was fun seeing them go back and sing two songs not typically in their set, and really have fun with them.

Tracy started the introductions next. We were seated on the side of the stage, and Matthew Holt was traveling with them that particular weekend, so we had a view of him most of the concert. He started with Matthew, and talked about how Anthony Burger was his hero growing up. When Matt was younger, he was allowed to come up on stage and play with Anthony during some of the Kingsmen concerts. Tracy said that Matt was asked to play the piano when Anthony was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and so then Matt played the same piece.

He introduced Joseph Habedank and then Bryan Walker, their newest member. He told about how Bryan had been on American Idol, and had him sing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” a cappella. Tracy told him to let loose just like he would on Idol. And he did. He got most of the way through the chorus, and Tracy stopped him to tell him to step it up. One lady from the audience just burst out, “He was doing a good job.” Tracy had to turn his back to the audience, because he couldn’t help but laugh. Bryan chuckled and then finished the song strong. If you haven’t seen Bryan sing it, check it out on YouTube, because he does a phenomenal job with it.

Tracy then introduced Libbi Stuffle to the audience. He talked about how much she likes bluegrass so when she did her first solo album, she wanted to include a bluegrass song. Dailey and Vincent sang “Jesus, Hold My Hand” with her, so she sang that next. The guys joined with her at the very end, since Dailey and Vincent were on the track.

Tracy told a funny story before they took a break. He said that they were at a church for a concert, and the pastor started asking him a lot of questions about his beliefs and the end times. He asked Tracy if he was pre-millennial or post-millennial. Tracy said that he knew the pastor wasn’t about to like his answer to the question. He told him that he was post, because when Jesus comes back he’s “post” to go with him! J

They sang one more song before intermission, “If You Knew Him.”  Honestly, this has never been my favorite Perrys song, even though it did win song of the year, but I was won over with Joseph’s performance of this song on Saturday night. He’s always struck me as a strong lead singer, but he sang with such conviction that everyone was on their feet by the end of the song.

They started the second half with Every Time I Need Him. This is another favorite of mine from their new album. They slowed things down a bit with “Celebrate Me Home.” Libbi does such a great job on this song, and they paid tribute to gospel music heroes who have passed away with a slideshow of their pictures and had people clap for the ones they wanted to.  Toward the end of the song, the pictures were of Perry family members. It was a touching tribute.

Tracy told how Libbi had lost two brothers both at the age of 13. After their older brother passed away, the three siblings started singing. Libbi sang “Daddy Sang Bass/ Reunited,” which was another song from her solo album. This one featured an old recording of her with her siblings singing “Daddy Sang Bass” as kids trying to learn their parts, and then “Reunited” is a song that Joseph and Matt wrote for her for this album. It’s a great song that’s so personal to how the Perrys ministry got started.

Next, they sang “This Old Sinner Testifies.” The night ended with “I Rest My Case at the Cross.” It was a powerful song to end the night on, and brought the focus of the night back to Christ and the cross.

While I was hoping to hear “I Wish I Could Have Been There,” especially since I had friends there who had never heard the Perrys before. However, it was a great night. Tracy, in my opinion, is one of the best emcees in Southern Gospel. And it’s evident from their interactions on stage that they all have a good time up there, and love what they are doing. I wasn’t disappointed in the least!

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