The Friday night Main Stage event at NQC was one memorable night for me, even though I was only able to be in Freedom Hall for the last half of the evening. Our hosts for the night were Dennis Swanberg and Debra Talley. I walked in when Gerald Wolfe was on stage leading the audience in singing a medley of Gaither classics: Family of God, Because He Lives and one more whose title is slipping this overloaded mind of mine! LOL!
“Let these guys know that you love them – The Gaither Vocal Band!” introduced Gerald. The Vocal Band began their set with a quartet song called On My Journey to The Sky. Mark Lowry hopped across the stage during the second verse and so the laughter began! When the song ended, they had such an applause that they encored it. Bill introduced their tenor, Wes Hampton, who has a family of four little boys. They showed a picture of him and his family on the big screen and Mark began singing, “One little, two little, three little Hamptons…” To which Bill added, “Bless his heart, everything you think comes out of your lips! You ought to do some editing!” Mark replied, “If you knew what I edit – you’d be proud.” Bill scratched his head and said, “I’m sure I would be.” Mark suddenly exclaimed, “Don’t scratch it, it’ll come off!” Bill couldn’t keep the chuckle in while Mark continued to tell the audience, “That one is made out of cat hair! – when he goes to scratch it, his rear goes up!” The fans couldn’t contain themselves with that! The laughter just echoed off the walls! The next song they sang has risen to the #1 position on the Singing News Charts – Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored. Afterwards, Bill suggested that they dedicate their next song to Mosie Lister, who’s 90 years old. The dedicated song was Where No One Stands Alone and it received a standing ovation. The guys sat down on the side of the stage while Wes stepped up to deliver his solo, He Is Here, Hallelujah. (I’m honestly surprised that he didn’t get a standing ovation for this one…he sang it perfectly!) Bill acknowledged the fans dedication by saying, “Your time is important and you have decided to spend it here.” He continued to instruct everyone with the five most important words in any language – I’m sorry, please forgive me. Bill had the audience say those words a couple of times. “Those words can change your life,” Bill mused, “listen to this Gerald Crabb tune.” Please Forgive Me was that tune, a soft ballad sung by Michael English that climaxed to a super ending! This song did bring the audience to their feet, and they deserved it. Bill had everyone sing that chorus accapella and had everyone get their lights out and wave them, which the fans did. A very dramatic rendition of He’s Alive featuring Marshall Hall was sung next. He didn’t really sing the verses, he more narrated it, singing a line here and there. When the chorus came round the lights revealed the Hoppers, Isaacs and some other artist on stage singing with them, as the audience stood waving their lights too! It was the perfect way to end their set on stage.
“Look at your neighbor and say that this could get good tonight,”instructed Bill. “I asked for the privilege to introduce these guys…so let’s go from lesser vision tonight to Greater Vision!”
Greater Vision began their set with a slower song called I Know My Savoir Heard My Prayer. The next song sped things up a little bit with My Name Is Lazarus. This is another song that surprised me when it didn’t get a standing ovation. Even Gerald mentioned when the song ended, “And thank you to all of you that stood up!” (The crowd was weird that night – it seemed like they weren’t into the standard barn burners. And it wasn’t that they weren’t sung well either! The guys did a great job with it!) “I want to do one of Rodney’s songs tonight that is one of our most requested songs,” said Gerald, then Rodney sang It Pays To Pray. Gerald informed us, “We’ve got time for one more song and I wasn’t going to do this one either, we did it Monday night and some who weren’t here that night came and requested it.” The song was I Know A Man Who Can, and Rodney played bass guitar on it as well. Chris hit some really awesome notes on the verses! The response from the audience was nothing short of a standing ovation. (Finally!) YEAH!!!
Clark Beasley came up and made some announcements and brought two men up on stage with him. A couple months ago one of those men called for tickets for the NQC…well, that’s not unusual, but when he said he was calling from Afghanistan, that WAS unusual! When the crowd heard the country Afghanistan, they began standing, clapping, shouting and screaming their support. They just knew he had been serving in the war. Jason was the name of the gentleman who called for tickets, he was hit with an IED in Afghanistan and while recovering in the hospital, his son would send him clips of Gospel songs from YouTube. He said that he just knew he had to get here. When time rolled around for NQC to start, another guy he knew had some time off and came with him. Everyone gave them both a thunderous applause for their personal sacrifice for our country.
The Hoppers were next to perform on Main Stage with their soft arrangement of I Will Serve Thee. When the last note was sung a powerful intro began and shouts could be heard throughout the audience…the fans knew what was coming! Jerusalem! (If I can critique the audience, instead of the artists, that song was another standard that received a weak response.) However, Something’s Happening, the next song, had a few people on their feet, but not enough for as much as the Hoppers put into it. Claude claimed the next solo with a number called My Living Shall Not Be In Vain. When everyone walked off of the stage, Dean said, “We would have done a little of Shouting Time for you, but we just ran out of time…” Well, as you can imagine, that woke the crowd up, and boy did they shout their disapproval until the band started without the Hoppers on stage! So they got up and sang it anyway…I’d dare say that the people were on their feet before the Hoppers got back on the stage!
“We are about to start a segment called Gospel Poloosa,” Dennis announced. “Do you know what that means?” Debra asked, “It means 84 minutes of uninterrupted Gospel Music!”
The Perry’s were the first artist to kick off this segment, and they did so with the classic Plan Of Salvation. Their popular upbeat song, Blue Skies was next featuring Joseph on the verses. Tracy introduced the next song by telling of all the requests they receive for it, the song was their popular Celebrate Me Home. During the chorus, they showed pictures of SGM’s greatest personalities across the screen. People like George, Glen, Dottie Rambo, Howard and Vestal, Roger Bennett, Tony Green, etc. Tracy wished a boy, who on his 11th birthday during the week of NQC, watched the Perry’s sing his favorite song on the live feed from NQC…I Wish I Could’ve Been There. Tracy said that they were supposed to wish him a happy birthday from on stage Wednesday, but they forgot, so they decided to do it now (on Friday evening of NQC). They had this little sign that said “Happy Birthday Andrew,” which got passed around from person to person during the song. It was cute, though a little late! Right from the beginning everyone stood and clapped the whole way through the song. And as you can imagine, the song couldn’t go on without and encore or two! On the last encore, Gold City came up and shared the stage with them.
Gold City kicked off their set with In My Robe OF White. (Looking down at the program, I realized that Gold City and the Perry’s got their time slots switched!) Performed back to back, Judas and Jesus came next. Danny introduced it by saying, “This is an interesting take on an old story.” When He Blessed My Soul followed….if I’m not mistaken, these guys sang the same set they did Monday night? Wonder what’s up with that?! Danny said that they’ve had a lot of requests, so he wasn’t going to talk much, but, I have a hard time taking that the songs that they’d been doing all week were requests, seeing as how the songs they sang were off of a project that hasn’t even been released! – Or, maybe Danny was trying to say that they weren’t doing requests? Anyway, God’s Building A Church finished off their set.
Legacy Five came up on stage and began with a new song off their new project, A Wonderful Life. This one featured Howie and is a medium tempo song called Destination Known. Another beautiful song followed called Just Because Of You, and Gus was featured on the first verse. Scott told the story of Patty and Hanna, and how they accidentally came to L5’s event in Nashville. He told of how Hanna and Patty came to know Christ, and dedicated the next song to them. The song was called Ask Me Why. At the end of the song they encored it accapella. “We love being here with you guys and we’re going to bring up some friends of ours to do this next song,” said Scott, “we are going to do a Cathedral classic. Diana Wilkinson is here tonight, and we promised her that we would do it for her.” Boundless Love was the number and L5 played with a full band and had the audience clapping to the beat.
The closing group was Brian Free and Assurance, and I felt so sorry for these guys. Of all the groups that performed that night, they were plagued with the sound issues! When they came on singing Go Tell The World, the track got turned down so quiet, that from where I was sitting in the balcony, I couldn’t even hear it! It sounded like they were singing accapella! Matthew Holt stayed up on stage and played piano with them. Jeremy Lile’s solo, Save Me A Seat, met our listening ears next, and when Jeremy began the first verse, an applause and a few shouts could be heard. This song is definitely one that is loved. “How many of you here tonight remember the day you got saved,” Bill asked, “I sure do!” He proceeded to sing You Must Have Met Him. At the turn around, Bill added, “Oh, I’ve met Him!” – and finished off the song with an energy that surprised me considering they were the last group on Friday night! Brian introduced Never Walk Alone by telling of the passing of his father and mother…he said that it has been the toughest time of his life, but this is the truth he has held onto – that he’ll Never Walk Alone.