Applause broke out as Legacy Five walked on stage at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee on New Year’s Eve. “Y’all know these guys?” Scott Fowler asked with a smile and outstretched arms. “Why don’t we start the evening with prayer,” bowing his head, Scott went on to acknowledge that many will be glad to see 2013 gone, and for others, 2013 was their best year yet. “Regardless, we are thankful that you have gracefully seen us through another year. We don’t always understand everything, but give us the grace to know that You have the year under control and that You have made a way for us to walk through it. We celebrate You and all You have done for us. Amen.”
Thus was the beginning of Legacy Five’s New Year’s Eve (NYE) Celebration. It began with a prayer thanking God for His grace and went right into a high energy song of the same theme, I Found Grace. The sound of marching drums signaled the next song as Blood Washed Band and when the beat stopped the music continued with Everywhere I Go. “Well, you guys know that we have been on vacation for the last fifteen-sixteen days,” said Scott. After a pause he added, “Who’s counting? All I know is it’s good to be back singing…you guys are getting our best!” (Another pause.) “Maybe I shouldn’t have set the bar that high.” LOL Scott went on to speak of their bass singer, Matt, but right in the middle of that a lady came down to the front to take an up-close photo of the quartet on stage and Scott exclaimed, “Oh! Picture!” All the L5 guys scrambled to get in the shot, including Trey, who jumped up from his keyboard and ran around it to squeeze in next to Gus. After a flash from the camera, everyone took a step back and they went into I’ve Been Changed and Thankful For the Change. “Hey! Let me do this,” said Scott turning to face Trey, “I’ll introduce the rest of the guys as the week progresses, but I have to get to you.” Just then, a chorus of voices momentarily bellowed from the area where the families of the artists were sitting. Fowler explained that Trey’s family were in attendance and represented the fan club we just heard! Scott went on to tease Trey by explaining how when he traveled with the Cathedrals (Cats) he was the youngest, the cutest and single…and he was the one who always picked on. So he admitted to needing “counseling” because he is “no longer taking it – he’s letting it all out on Trey.” With a snicker, Scott said, “Trey hates the attention, I liked it, but Trey doesn’t – which makes it so much more fun!” LOL Finally, Trey played a solo, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, on his keyboard. Behind the scenes (or should I say screens) his family cheered him on. Scott mentioned that the next song would be their last ‘cause they were running out of time and so Michael Booth walked on stage and said, “If you’re out of time, just leave!” LOL Michael stepped off stage and left Scott to introduce the ballad that they sang for the very first time eight years ago at one of their Celebration events. “It’s an anthem in Southern Gospel Music,” he said. That ballad was Truth Is Marching On. Jim Brady (one of the co-writers) joined them on stage and sang the second verse. When they bridge rang out, “Glory, glory hallelujah!” – the audience stood to their feet. It was truly a powerful moment. Something about the way the lights filtered through the fog (from the smoke machine) created an ambience in the ballroom. “And that is the truth the world must hear,” Scott exclaimed. “Jim Brady – what a great singer, what a great song. Now the rest of them yahoos that Jim travels with…” LOL
“I have to tell you, these guys are the real deal,” said Scott, “I love the Booth Brothers so I want you to welcome Michael, Ronnie and Jim, the Booth Brothers.” This male trio opened their set with Because He Lives. When they reached the chorus and Ronnie invited the audience to sing with them, more than just three voices filled the room. A tick indicated the count off for the following tune, Welcome To the Family. Once again, Michael missed his cue on the second verse and begged Jim to remind him of the words because he was laughing too hard and couldn’t remember them! As they went into I Believe in a Hill Called Mount Calvary, Michael said, “If you agree with the truth of Truth Is Marching On, let heaven know it if you agree with the first line of this song.” (I don’t think they received the applause they expected…) When the ballad ended, Michael explained how they appreciated L5 for having them back to NYE and shared a little about the Christmas Jubilee Tour. “Since it’s Jim Brady night,” Michael teased, “Let’s do another of his songs.” (At the end of L5’s set Scott dubbed the evening “Jim Brady night” and it stuck.) This was one that featured Ronnie – Masterpiece of Mercy. I’m Free and Feeling Fine followed. They shared their father’s testimony which led into The Secret Place that they sang with just Ronnie plucking his acoustic guitar. Afterwards, Michael teased again, “It’s Jim Brady night – so we have to do another Jim song.” They closed their set with an up-tempo number called I See Grace.
“Scott gave us a nice and kind introduction,” Michael pondered, “let’s see what I can do for Greater Vision.” After a few moments of sharing with the crowd how these men have impacted their families in their personal lives, he said, “Welcome my friends, Greater Vision.” As they walked on stage and began singing I Know He Heard My Earnest Prayer, the crowd gave them a big applause. Come Unto Me and He’d Still Been God kept the music going until Gerald paused to introduce their next song like this, “Thank you so much. It’s going to be a wonderful night. Michael got me thinking about this song when he said something earlier, so we’re going back over 30 years here.” That song was the leisurely ballad, Seeking For Me and My Name Is Lazarus followed immediately. Afterwards, Gerald thanked the crowd and then abruptly turned to the side of the stage where Scott was standing with his i-phone pointed at GV. “Scott, what are you doing? Are you making a documentary?” Scott replied that he was posting a video on FaceBook and Gerald countered, “One of my pet peeves is people who are on their cell phones while I’m on the platform.” LOL Gerald went on to introduce the trio and the old song I Know A Man Who Can that featured Chris. Before they went into another tune, Gerald shared with the crowd that between the Jubilee Christmas Tour and Christmas vacation, they haven’t done their “regular” concert in so long he can’t remember his jokes and what they usually sing next. That afternoon, Gerald teased Michael that when it was their turn to sing they were going to sing all the Booth Brothers songs…but he better not because he’d get confused and have the “blind man” “crippled” or something like that. Just then, the sound man played the first few bars of He Saw It All then stopped it. Gerald turned to where Scott was sitting just off the left side of the stage and asked, “What was that? Was that the blind man?” After a pause in which Scott affirmed that was indeed the track for the blind man song, Gerald motioned to the sound man and casually said, “I’ll try it.” So the track began for He Saw It All. I’m telling you, I have never, ever seen so many Gospel singers run into a room at the same time trying to pull their cell phones out of their pockets! Everyone, and I mean every singer that was present that evening, either ran up to the side of the stage or jumped up on the stage to get a view of Gerald singing the Booth’s song! Michael was by far the funniest – with i-phone in one hand his wife’s purse in the other. Gerald laughed, “What are you doing with a pocketbook?” Michael said, “Vicki asked me to hold it…” LOL Anyway, Gerald sang the first verse and chorus with the BB’s and teased, “We’ll sing the second verse on the next half.”
In preparation of finishing their time on stage Gerald introduced their “preacher song” with a challenge to the church. He said, “The cure for our nation comes through the church – if it doesn’t come through the church it won’t happen.” Preacher Tell It Like It Is and Looking For the Grace closed their set.
At that time we broke for intermission. Normally, the break would only last 20-25 minutes, but because it was only 10:30 PM and they were trying to stretch it out to midnight for the count down, intermission lasted 30 minutes. When it came time for the second half to begin, a clock appeared on the big screens counted down from five minutes. When that timer reached ten seconds Michael inserted his hand in front of the projector making an image that resembled a profile view of a reindeer head appear in the middle of the screen. The audience giggled as a recording announced, “Welcome to A Christmas Jubilee!” and all three groups walked on stage.
The room dimmed as Legacy Five, Greater Vision and the Booth Brothers strode on stage and began the program with Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Soon, GV and L5 took a seat in the chairs lining the stage while the BB’s stepped out and sang Come On Ring Those Bells. Jim introduced L5’s spotlight, Grandma’s House For Christmas and afterwards Gerald explained how he loves that song. “It was written in 1985 by Kirk Talley,” added Gerald. Then he introduced the Christmas song that he wrote, It Came To Pass. “Welcome our youngest Jubilee member, Trey Ivey!” Gerald exclaimed after they sang the previous ballad. Trey played a medley of fun Holiday tunes. Right in the middle of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer all the singers exclaimed, “Like a light bulb!” LOL Gerald complemented Trey afterward, “That is so good. Well, we couldn’t leave this out, Gospel Music doesn’t have a lot of resident crooners…but we have one and his name is Ronnie Booth.” Ronnie sang “The Christmas Song” (ya’ know, the one about the chestnuts), while Jim, Michael and Rodney played the part of backup singers. In the middle of this great classic Rodney ran off the stage, reentering with a sax that he passionately “played” during the turn-around! Like Michael did before the came on stage, Rodney positioned himself in front of the projector so his image would be silhouetted on the big screen at the end of the song. LOL Next, Gerald informed the guys to “get their props” for the 12 Days of Christmas. This required the guys to retrieve wrapped boxes from under the Christmas trees on stage and take things like a rubber chicken, long brunette wig, cowboy boot and other things to distribute to each of the singers. Each prop would be held up when it was mentioned in the line of the song. Those guys had just a tad too much fun with that! Afterwards, Scott said, “We need to get out more.” Gerald added, “Let’s do something serious.” So they sang Carol of the Bells acapella and Christmas With a Capital C. Michael introduced the next number that the BB’s would sing, Sleigh Ride, which sounded like an old Mills Brothers song. You couldn’t have a Christmas program without singing the most recorded Christmas song of all time – White Christmas. Matt was featured on this one…well, vocally he was featured, but Howie’s “redneck snow maker” stole the spotlight. After five rolls of TP, Matt looked like he was in the middle of a blizzard! Another piano solo from Trey came next, this one being O Little Town of Bethlehem, then Ronnie read the Christmas story and O Holy Night ended the program. With a big standing ovation Gerald announced, “One minute and ten seconds and we will enter a new year. You may know the songs and know the Christmas story and I know the vast majority of you know the Savior, but our prayer for you in this New Year is: that if you do know the Lord, make a commitment to share what you know about Jesus with someone who doesn’t.”
Then the counted down began…after five, four, three, two, one, Greater Vision, The Booth Brothers and Legacy Five launched into Jubilee.
What do you say about a night like that? Me? I LOVED it! Every minute was pure joy!