music concert review

Been a Long Time Comin'
Third Day

Hyperstatic Union, David Crowder Band, Third Day, Puyallup Fair  WA, 21 Sep 2006
I attended the Puyallup Fair with my friend, Mick, a former Captain in the Marines, and his wife and kids. I was taking his kids on a ride and you could hear great music all over the fairgrounds. I figured they were playing rock music through the stadium speakers before the concert, but as I got nearer I realized it was the concert. We totally missed the first band, Hyperstatic Union, their name a witty play on the theological term "hypostatic union," and got there for the end of the David Crowder Band. The stage was flanked by two jumbotron screens showing the song lyrics and the band leading the crowd in a rousing rendition of Hank Williams' "I Saw the Light".

The ten thousand seat stadium was packed. The seats in the stands were apparently free. We had paid seats but they were so far back the free seating would have been just as good. Everyone stood most of the time anyway. If my info is right, Hyperstatic Union is a rock/R&B band from Camas, WA "discovered" by Third Day, who stayed at Mark Powell's house in Atlanta, Georgia while recording their CD. David Crowder is  music and arts minister at University Baptist in Waco, Texas, which showed in the way he connected with the crowd. He's also recently written a book or two published by Relevant Books.

During the intermission, Tai Anderson, bass player for Third Day, urged support for World Concern, a local WA world-wide relief agency, and showed an excellent video for and their protest of genocide in Uganda. People were in the stadium handing out flyers for these agencies, but I think a better idea would be to have their literature on the CD table as I've seen done at U2 concerts for Amnesty International.

Third Day began with the traditional "Blessed Assurance", with Mark Lee on mandolin. Next up was "You Are Beautiful" (My Sweet Song), then "I Got a Feeling" from Wire. "I Can Feel It" from their newest album, Wherever You Are was followed by "Rock Star" from Wire. The stage was bathed in colored lights and for this song, the screens flashed "Rock Star" as the crowd echoed the chorus.  "Your Love O Lord" from Time slid into "Mountain of God" from Wherever You Are, "Your Faithfulness" and "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus".

Next they reached back to their debut album, Third Day, for "Love Song" (How Many Times?), "You Took My Place" from Time, and "I Believe" from Wire. "Cry Out to Jesus," another new number, merged into an old favorite, "God of Wonders" and "Show Me Your Glory" from Come Together. The concert closed with a cover of Rich Mullin's "Creed".

Did I say closed? The encore started with "Tunnel" and the screen displayed a hypnotic spiral reminiscent of the retro sci-fi TV show "Time Tunnel" (now out on DVD), "Come Together" from the album of the same name, and lifted to a finale with "Agnus Dei/ Worthy".

It was 1972 when Larry Norman asked the musical question, "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?" echoing Salvation Army founder William Booth. At that time you could still find books saying rock and roll was from the devil, although Norman showed it came from blues and country and the black Gospel Church.  What constitutes "good" music may vary between listeners, but Third Day leaves no doubt that they are a rock band. In many ways they are the band that beat the odds, as did Jars of Clay in the alt. rock arena. Both bands have used their fifteen minutes of fame for activism and to give other bands a leg up.

Third Day has refused to play the ccm game, and brought up the level of quality on countless radio stations that were bogged down in the quagmire of "Nash-Vegas" production and endless throw-away clone albums patterned after the worst of "adult contemporary" and overproduced "hit" radio pop. They've gotten their fifteen minutes the old fashioned way: by writing great songs propelled by Mark Powell's great Southern rock voice, touring as a working band, looking backwards and digging deep into their musical and spiritual roots.

"I Got a Feeling" not accidentally echoes Paul McCartney's "I've Got a Feeling" from the Beatles' Let It Be. "Come Together" takes it's name from the John Lennon composition. Rich Mullin's "Creed" takes its name from the latin "Credo" meaning "I Believe". In the great beyond Rich must be saying, "how much better this rocked-up Third Day cover version sounds than the way they ruined it with overproduced, under-dynamic ccm  pop production on my own albums". Another example is the rock cover by This Train (Rich's former band) of "Screen Door" on The Emperor's New Band.

Mullin's "Creed" is drawn from the Apostle's Creed, a statement of faith said in many churches. That Third Day chose to close with it shows their willingness to dig down into traditional roots to undergird their charismatic rock praise. And that enables all their fans to "come together".  -Gord Wilson.