If you’re an avid concert goer, then you know the feeling of passing a “welcome to [insert city name]” sign and think, “There’s a town here?” There’s nothing quite like it, eh? Well, the first weekend in September, when the Mark Trammell Quartet had their new tenor with them for the first time, I had this exact experience in Southwest City, Missouri. The only thing I can really tell you about the location was that we were somewhere by the Oklahoma border, and of course, Dollar General was across from the church. LOL!
The First Baptist Church had a beautiful stained glass window above the baptistry and if you wanted to get a good seat for the MTQ concert, you had to claim it early! At six o’clock, a gentleman from the church named Larry stepped on stage to greet the crowd and say what a privilege it was to have the Mark Trammell Quartet with them on a Sunday night. “Mark has a testimony similar to mine,” Larry went on, “and for a moment, I want you to watch these videos on the screen.” Two television screens, one on each side of the sanctuary walls began to play a small clip from the Cathedrals’ Reunion video. On the video, Mark shared his testimony and the video continued through Mark singing the song, “Sin Will Take You Farther.” After, Larry explained that he became interested in looking for these videos after talking to Mark in Lebanon, Missouri a few weeks ago. Larry played another clip from the Cathedrals video of the song “Plan Of Salvation” and then the video clip of Mark being given his SGMA medal at the Memphis Quartet Show when all of the Gold City members were inducted a few years back. It was probably the most elaborate introduction for a group I’ve ever seen, and after bringing back those moments on video, Larry said, “Now live, would you make welcome Mark Trammell, Nick Trammell, Randy Byrd, Stephen Adair and Trevor Conkle!”
The Mark Trammell Quartet walked on stage and kicked off the night with tunes like, “When We All Get Together,” “Leave Your Sorrows” and “Treasures In Heaven.” After that last one, Mark exclaimed, “Praise the Lord!” and said hello to the crowd. He shared that he had only been in Southwest City one other time in his life and that was when he was with the Cathedrals. In relation to the videos shown earlier, he chuckled, “I had to check my pulse a while ago to make sure I wasn’t being memorialized!” Everyone laughed. (After all, I guess those are the kinds of things folks would show at a funeral. LOL!) “But all kidding aside,” Mark continued, “Thank you for showing those videos.”
After asking how many folks in the crowd were seeing MTQ for the first time, Mark decided to go right to introductions. He started with their new tenor, Stephen Adair. “I don’t know much about him,” Mark joked, “but I know he’s a fine man.” Mark went on to explain that Stephen had only been with the group for three days. “He’s from Indiana,” continued Mark. “Don’t hold that against him, everybody has to be from somewhere and when I remember his name I’ll tell ya’… On cue, all the guys chimed in, “Stephen!” LOL! Mark introduced, Nick, Randy and Trevor and asked Trevor to play “The Redeemed Medley” for the crowd. Trevor did and they loved it! After Trevor’s solo Mark turned to him and said, “I hate to throw you a curve ball, but there’s a song from our new album that you wrote. Randy liked it when he heard the demo and I want to do it.” Trevor gave a thumbs up and then they went into “Just A Little While.” The crowd gave a big applause and afterwards, Trevor made a gesture to Randy that the crowd liked it. Following, was “Forever King,” “He Hideth My Soul” and “Be Saved.” Mark said, “They like the new songs so let’s sing another one.” If you’re familiar with “Go Ask Moses,” then you know it has quite the story that goes along with it! Before they started, Mark shared how Rodney Griffin wrote the song in three days after he texted Rodney three words, “Go Ask Moses.” When the music began, Mark turned to Trevor and said, “Oh, by the way, there’s no piano on the front end, so if you need to go smoke there’s a door right over there…” Horrified, Trevor turned to the crowd and mouthed the words, “I don’t smoke,” with both hands making every type of gesture that meant “no” you could think of. After singing, “Go Ask Moses,” Mark said, “Let us do this song before they come and take the offering this evening. I love this great song!” It was none other than “My Faith Still Holds,” one of MTQ’s power ballads.
The pastor stepped on stage and said a few words before he prayed for the offering. As the buckets were passed, Trevor and Mark played “Mansion Over The Hilltop” for the offertory. Yep, you read that right! Trevor played the keyboard and Mark accompanied him on the bass guitar. After the offertory, the pastor welcomed MTQ back to the stage and the guys gave a short CD pitch before beginning the second part of the night with “Your Walk Talks.” “Jesus Is Coming Soon,” “I Am His and He Is Mine” and “God Has Provided.” After, they closed the evening with “The King Is Coming.” During that powerful song everyone was on their feet in faith in anticipation of that lyric becoming reality. While everyone was standing, Mark asked us to bow our heads. For a few moments, Mark asked if anyone was in need of a touch from the Lord and if so, to raise their hand and quickly put it back down. After that, Mark closed the evening in prayer and asked the Lord to provide for every person who raised their hand. When Mark said “amen” he asked the pastor if anything else needed said from the stage and when the pastor said no, Mark added, “Let’s do this. On the count of three, we’re all gonna shout Praise the Lord. Ready? One…two..three…” All over the house, the people shouted out a thunderous “Praise the Lord!”
Conclusion: The concert in Southwest City was so enjoyable. You know how there are places you walk into and just feel the Lord’s presence? First Baptist was one of those places! I was so glad to be able to see MTQ the first weekend with Stephen on board. Though this was literally Stephen’s third concert with them, he did well and will be a great asset to the quartet. I can’t wait to hear more!