The Meramec Music Theater in Steelville, Missouri has a concert series every year for Gospel Music. I was happy to be at the first concert this year in March with The Whisnants and also April’s concert with Brian Free and Assurance. What made BFA’s concert extra special, was that it happened to be on my sister’s birthday! Ummm-Hmmm, did they have fun with her! *wink*
For this special occasion, we were blessed to have two seats on the front row that my sister and I occupied for the evening. (Yes, this made BFA’s torture of the birthday girl a whole lot easier! LOL)
The emcee opened the evening in prayer and then welcomed the group on stage. Brian Free and Assurance began their set with What A Beautiful Day. “Let’s have a good time tonight in the Lord!” Brian exclaimed between songs, “That’s why we’re here, amen?” Their second song was Jeremy’s solo If The Lord Says Do It. As the music for their next song began to play, Brian talked about the message, “This song right here says what we need in our land and in our church now more than ever…revival.” Mike was featured on the verses of that song, Revival, and then they sang Just A Little Talk With Jesus. When that song was finished Brian paused and told the crowd how glad they were to be back in Steelville. They had sung there many times and were happy to be back! He went on to introduce the group and while he was acquainting the audience with the personality of their bass singer, Jeremy, Brian made sure that he explained how laid back Jeremy is. “If the building caught on fire, he’d be the last one out,” Brian teased. Bill took that moment to interject, “If there were a spider in here, he’d be the first one out!” (Who likes those litter critters anyway?) It came Bill’s turn to introduce Brian and when he announced that Brian is from Atlanta, he asked if anyone knew where that was. Not waiting for a reply, Bill answered his own question, “Where one speck of snow falls on the ground and everything shuts down!” LOL After teasing each other BFA sang one of their new songs, Tell It Like It Was. “That’s good preaching!” said Brian afterwards. Then he went on to do a little preaching himself. He said, “We use to have all night sings all over the country. As a kid, I remember being at church all day – sometimes the wives would go home and bring back lunch – we’d make a day of it. Church wouldn’t let out till the evening. Today, when the clock says 11:55 AM folks start looking at the clock and hope the pastor wraps it up quick.” (My have times changed!) He went on to say that today people are making “their own rules and ignoring the Word of God.” To this Brian said, “It’s not up to me or you to make the rules – we’re not judging people, we’re quoting them the Book.”
As an introduction to his solo, he continued, “My dad was a wonderful godly man. He had something that I wanted and that is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Men, when you’re gone, can your kids say that your life spiritually impacted theirs? That’s the greatest legacy we could leave behind. This song is my goal every day, written by Lee Black and my oldest son, Ricky.” That song was none other than I Want To Be That Man. I love how Brian introduces that song – it really brings the message out. For as many times as I’ve heard him sing it, he never says the exact same thing twice; he always has something new to add!
Some may say that two ballads back to back just isn’t a good idea in a singing program, but if the timing is right, it’s a very good idea. That night, was one such instance, and the second ballad was their new single Say Amen. “Think back in life how many times He’s brought you through things,” Brian said, encouraging the crowd to reminisce. “We won’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until we give it to God. As soon as we get ourselves out of the way, God can do anything. If you’re a born again child of God, it’s ours. I could say a lot of things about this song, but when you hear it – it will make you want to say amen.” Bill slid his mic into its stand and began the thought provoking verse of this powerful song. What a blessing to hear the crowd echo “amen” again and again throughout the chorus! (I love the atmosphere that enters the room when they sing this song – it’s going to be a hit!) “What a song,” Brian mumbled, half to himself and half to the audience. The first set closed with Jesus Will Pick You Up. We all know that this song features Jeremy, well, unbeknownst to him; the chord to his mic was tangled around his mic stand so when he tugged on it the stand wobbled. The guys chuckled to themselves as Jeremy quickly stepped back to keep the stand from falling over while he began singing and Mike untangled the chord from the stand. When they finished, Brian asked, “Have you enjoyed these guys so far tonight? Let them know it!” As the audience applauded, the guys bowed and then prepared for intermission.
The second half began with Anything Is Possible. Afterwards, Brian teased the crowd by saying that they received so many request that they would have to stay till midnight to sing them all. “How many would stay till midnight?” Brian asked. Most of the folks raised their hands and Brian exclaimed, “Y’all would not!” LOL He also took that moment to inform the audience that it was my sister’s birthday and they were going to take a moment and sing to her. “What we’re going to do is embarrass you really good so we want you to stand up,” Brian coaxed, and then added, “You’re a part of our ministry, so we can do this to you.” (Bill tried to get her up on stage but that wasn’t going to happen!) Bill lead the tune and the other guys joined in on the last line, “Happy Birthday to you!” Brian looked at Bill and said, “That’s it?” Then Brian instructed them to sing the whole song and I do have to say, BFA sings the coolest rendition of Happy Birthday ever! (If you’re friends with me on Facebook there’s a chance you may have watched the video…)
With the humiliation over and my sister seated once again, Brian introduced their next song as a new one they’ve never done before. At this, Bill cried out, “Oh no!” But Brian wanted to sing it for the folks who requested it – He Still Saves. That song brought the house down…well, not literally, but it did bring the audience to their feet. You Must Have Met Him and God Of Possibilities followed. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to hear that acoustic guitar kick off the track on God Of Possibilities! It’s one of my favorites from the new project and that was the first time I heard it live. I think it’s safe to say that it was a favorite of those in the crowd as well because Brian said he could tell the audience has the new CD and is listening to the songs. “You guys know the words better than we do!” he chuckled. The next song was a beloved classic that featured Brian as well, O What A Savior. The crowd was on their feet once again and Brian said, “I’ll never get tired of singing that song because of the message.” At that moment he chose to go into the invitation and then he thanked Rosella Roberts and all the staff at the theater for having them. “Can we leave you with one more song before we dismiss?” Brian asked, “If we left without doing this song someone would kill me!” LOL That song was Long As I Got King Jesus – and with that, the evening came to a close.
Conclusion: I always enjoy going to Rosella’s concerts at the Meramec Theater and this one will always be extra special to me. (And to my sister…I hope. You see, I never get to pull one over on her!) *wink* Anyway, I loved hearing BFA’s new songs in concert – there’s nothing like a live setting. If you have and enjoy their new CD, Unashamed, you’ll definitely hear these new songs if you were to see them in concert too! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! You can check out their schedule HERE to see when they’ll be near you!