Monday, March 12, 2012

Worth It - Brian Free and Assurance Concert Review

Brian Free and Assurance (Brian Free, Bill Shivers,
Derrick Selph, Jeremy Lile) during their opening song,
"Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee"
Last Thursday night, friends and I made the drive to Hot Springs, Ark. in rainy, nasty weather. The rain did not deter the mood or the crowd at the Brian Free and Assurance concert that night, though. As little as I liked having to drive the curvy roads to Hot Springs in the rain, it was definitely worth it after we got to the concert.

The song list for the night was:
  • "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" 
  • "Go Tell the World" 
  • "Anything Is Possible" 
  • "I Believe" 
  • "Glory Road" 
  • "Just a Little Talk With Jesus" 
  • "Part Where You Come In" 
  • "Never Walk Alone" 
  • "I Keep Looking Up" 
  • "O What a Savior" 
  • "Jesus Will Pick You Up" 
  • "First Day in Heaven" 
  • "You Must Have Met Him" 
  • "For God So Loved" 
  • "What Will You Choose" 
  • "Long As I Got King Jesus" 

Standout moments of the night:

The night started with “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” a capella. It was an interesting but great choice to start the night. I was very impressed with the blend vocally they had and staying so well together a capella.

“I Believe” is definitely one of my favorite Brian Free and Assurance songs. I’m always amazed at Brian’s high voice, but it really struck me on this song also how well Jeremy was on the low end as well.

I didn’t ever remember seeing them stage “Glory Road” before. But it was interesting since I saw the Mark Trammell Quartet do this same song just last week. Eric Phillips owned the song the week before, but I think it’s a fair statement to say that most will say Brian Free is at the top of the list when it comes to Southern Gospel tenors. He proved it with a standing ovation from the crowd. He, like Eric the week before, nailed the high part at the end. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite version.

Brian told about how several of the guys had lost parents in the past couple of years to set up “Never Walk Alone.” I had heard him tell before about all the family member deaths that they experienced in a short period of time. However, this time the testimony along with the truths that Brian spoke of how God’s love is greater than any other love in our lives was a touching moment right before the song. This song is just a beautiful reminder of how God is always with us.

I’ve never seen or heard them sing “For God So Loved” better than they did on Thursday night. It was a moving performance and people were on their feet midway through the song with most everyone in the church standing clapping at the end.

As an invitation, the group sang “What Will You Choose,” which I thought was a great song choice. However to end the concert, they sang “Long as I Got King Jesus,” which is always a fun, lively song choice! I love how they had the serious moment with an invitation for those to make decisions at the end, but  still ended the night with a fun, up-tempo song. Just a personal preference!

Other notes:

Bill Shivers impressed me so much throughout the concert. He is definitely one of the most underrated lead singers in the business, in my opinion.

The group told in a recent interview that Brian Free is one of the hardest song pitches. Brian mentioned that he always makes to choose songs that match the Word of God. He said toward the end of the concert, “If you’ve missed the words, you’ve missed the whole point. We came to point you to the cross.” I feel like overall the group has extremely strong songs that proudly proclaim the message of the gospel. Overall, it was a great night, worth the rainy drive along less than ideal roads for the concert!

I had never seen Brian Free and Assurance in concert by themselves, just at a large event with other artists, so it was nice to see them in this environment. I love getting to hear more of the testimony and words between the songs of the artist that you often don't get to hear when they are with other groups. I think it really shows a lot of the group's character.

I'm glad we didn't let the weather keep us from making the drive to see them! It was definitely "worth it!"

1 comment:

  1. Brian is a hard pitch, but I just want to say this: He will listen to your songs! I am just starting out as a songwriter, and he took my first song ever and gave it a fair shake like he would for any other writer. Then he gave me immediate feedback---as it turned out, he thought it didn't fit the group (I doubt he had an issue with the lyrics since they flowed well and were quite biblical), but he gave me a shot, and he got back to me. I think that is the epitome of class, and I want to publicly commend him for it.


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