with Lincoln Brewster and Kendall Payne
First Assembly of God, Fort Myers, FL • March 9, 2001
Lee Ann Leach
I’m willing to admit it here, folks. This was my first full-blown Christian concert. Although I have been a fanatical Third Day fan since I first heard their single release entitled “Praise Song” back in 1997, I haven’t had the opportunity to actually see Third Day in a live performance. I religiously (no pun intended!) went out and bought and loved each and every CD this band released from their self titled CD right up through their latest CD, Offerings. It seemed that every time Third Day hit the sunny state of Florida, something blocked my attending their live shows here. I was bound and determined that I would not miss this show, so despite friends who promised to attend the show flaking out on me, a rental car agency acting like I was a common criminal because I refused to let them do a credit check on me, and my CV boot popping off the axle on my van, I made my way to Fort Myers from Clearwater, and was handsomely rewarded! From the moment my son and I pulled into the parking lot at the First Assembly of God in Fort Myers, I knew this was going to be quite a different experience from “normal” concert adventures. The lot was filled with teenagers playing hackey sack, throwing Frisbees and Nerf footballs, and smaller kids were mingling in a small tent outside finger painting and doing crafts.
The first person we spotted was the lead singer of Third Day, Mac Powell, and his wife and baby out for an afternoon walk among all the fans and surprisingly, everyone allowed the family their space to be together and not one fan rushed at the man for autographs or photos together. As show time approached, traffic came to a standstill, and the crowd grew and grew until it flowed out into the street. The place was packed. No room to move once inside. The church had been converted into a rather impressive concert venue, with one of the better lighting systems I have ever seen, even in the biggest and supposedly best arenas in this state.
Lincoln Brewster came onstage first and sang about five songs, including his current hit, “Power of Your Love,” and told a great story of bald eagles and killer whales from his childhood growing up in Alaska.
Without hesitation, Kendall Payne took the stage and impressed us all with her vocals and ability to change “alter-egos” vocally, as at first, she sounded and reminded us of a Christian Alanis Morrisette, then changed to sounding like Dolores O’Riordan from the Cranberries, and then lastly, a lot like Jewel. Her best selection of the five songs presented to the crowd was an upbeat little thing called “Supermodels,” which is the featured theme song to the WB’s hit show, Popular. Some may recognize Kendall’s songs “Closer To Myself,” from the movie Never Been Kissed, and “Wonderland,” from the movie Teaching Mrs. Tingle. I also learned after seeing Kendall in Fort Myers that Tommy Hilfiger even named a lipstick after her in his new cosmetic line! She’s a spunky little girl, and has been labeled “the one woman Lilith Fair.”
After a very quick ten-minute intermission, Third Day took the stage and things immediately began moving. The first three songs were clearly meant to get everyone on their feet and dancing, but it was quite obvious that everyone there was ready to do that anyway! Powell then told the crowd that we would all be backup singers for the evening and began by instructing us all in what, exactly, we should be singing. The instruction was really not necessary at all, everyone knew the chorus anyway to the lilting tune “These Thousand Hills,” off of the band’s Offerings CD. The stage ablaze with red and bright yellow lighting, the band then moved into “Consuming Fire,” and then into the slower, more thoughtful, “Your Love, Oh Lord.” Following that, they raised the domed roof with “Saved,” a tune written and originally performed by Bob Dylan. At some point in the show, Powell brought a young friend, Ian, up onstage that had driven with his family all the way from Atlanta and led the whole audience in “Happy Birthday” for the little boy. And speaking of children, I was completely impressed that the smaller children and little ones were invited down to the front of the stage where they were allowed to sit for the whole show unobstructed by taller adults and teenagers. The band then moved into a couple of more songs, “Thief” and “King Of Glory,” which is a well known Powell-written hymn that is a favorite in most churches across the world. He then stopped the show again and told each person there to introduce themselves to at least two other people that we did not know. After the introductions, all were told to join hands across aisles and seats and to raise these joined hands in the air as we all sang “My Hope Is You” in unison with the band.
Third Day’s current Offerings tour is being sponsored by World Vision, a ministry devoted to feeding and building up impoverished countries through the sponsorship of children in each family in the country. Powell told the crowd of World Vision’s mission and encouraged all to sponsor a child through World Vision by signing up and choosing a child from folders on a table in the lobby as we all left.
The show ended with a two-song encore and invitation of a joint “jam session” with Lincoln Brewster and Kendall Payne singing “God Of Wonders,” and then Third Day closing it all out with “Agnus Dei/I Have Decided” and the lights slowly raising as the music dwindled away. I can honestly say that Third Day truly puts 99.9% of the “rock bands” on secular radio today to a crying shame. There is no voice in any area of music that can beat that of Mac Powell’s. He performed an almost two hour set under blazing lights and never even broke a sweat. The voice boomed out of him like a harmonic cannon and without one ounce of effort on his part. The only regret I had as I left that concert was that I hadn’t taken the time or made the effort to go and see them sooner.