Last week, I had the opportunity to see Tribute Quartet at the First General Baptist Church in Willow Springs, Missouri on Friday night. I don’t know about you, but a Gospel concert is always a good way to start a weekend, and luckily, I didn’t have to go far to find one. The evening kicked off with a local Springfield artist, Dee Dee Blankenship, and then went into Tribute’s concert for the remaining part of the evening. We enjoyed a great evening, but of course, I know you want to hear more…so here we go!
Dee Dee Blankenship opened the evening by singing, playing and sharing a recent testimony of how the Lord worked in her life. Not long ago, Dee Dee lost her mom and shared how the Lord brought her through that grief, which led into a beautiful song (borrowed from the Country Music genre) called “There Is A God.” When Pastor Scott brought Tribute on stage, the guys came on and Josh greeted the crowd with an enthusiastic, “Hey!” Tribute kicked off the night with “I’ve Been With Jesus,” and then Josh got the crowd clapping for their following tune, “Move That Mountain.” The group went on to sing “Everybody Come See Jesus” and “Heaven Awaits” before Gary introduced the guys. “Well, good evening!” Gary exclaimed. He quickly introduced Riley, Josh and Anthony to the crowd and then they went into their next tune, “Let’s Go To That Land.” When they finished up the last chorus, they decided to do another! As the track was hit for the encore, Josh went to the keyboard and started playing. At the very end, Josh jumped up and let out an excited, “whoot!” Without any pause, the track began for the next tune and Josh was still leaning against the keyboard, pretending to catch his breath. A few seconds later, it dawned on him that the track was for his piano solo. Upon realizing it, he jumped and said, “Oh! That’s me!” and sat back down at the keyboard. His jazzy piano solo was none other than, “Power In The Blood.” The crowd gave him a great response and then they sang Anthony’s bass feature, “That’s How I Know.” Next, Gary sang one of my favorite songs that Tribute does, “His Tomb Is Empty Now.” This ballad may be a bit older, but it still has a lot of power. So much so, that Gary came off stage and sang an encore in middle aisle of the church. It was definitely one of the most touching moments of the evening. Afterwards, they went into Riley’s solo, “God Of The Storms” and then “Haven of Rest.” Riley mentioned that they were happy to be back in Willow Springs and what it means for them to come and minister. Riley said, “We can tell jokes and have fun, but when we leave, we hope you’ve had an experience with God.” He went on to share that “God Of The Storms” was on their current CD, but more importantly, his favorite song that Tribute sings comes from that project as well. “This song talks about a story your familiar with,” he said. With that, he sang what I believe will become his signature song, “When The Prodigal Comes Home.” As the message entered the minds and hearts of those who listened, hands were lifted in the air in praise. Next, Gary addressed the crowd, “Let me ask you a question. How many believe the Savior is still alive?” This kicked off their closing song for their first set, “Good News From Jerusalem.”
As the offering was taken, Pastor Scott asked Dee Dee to return to the stage to play another song. She played a simple, yet, beautiful arrangement of “It Is Well,” and was going to walk back to her seat when Pastor Scott called out, “Hey sweetie! Are you only going to do one song? Would you sing one more for me?” Dee Dee made her way back to Josh’s keyboard and shared about the next song. This was one that she had co-written with Joseph Habedank, and before she sang it, she shared a little about the experience of writing with a professional songwriter. The song they wrote together was called, “It’s Enough,” and we heard her sing it that night.
After Dee Dee’s second song, Pastor Scott brought Tribute back on stage, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back Tribute Quartet!” The quartet came back with “Standing On The Solid Rock” and asked the crowd to sing along on the last two choruses. “That was beautiful,” said Josh, “You sounded just like…Willow Springs!” LOL Their next song was “Homesick Angel,” one I always enjoy hearing from Tribute. Afterwards, Gary asked the crowd, “Aren’t you glad we serve a loving God? I don’t know about you my friend, but I can’t wait to see Jesus.” This led into an old song that featured Anthony, called “Leaving On My Mind.” From there, they went into “I Am Healed.” As they sang this beautiful ballad, Riley followed Gary’s earlier example of stepping off the stage to sing the last line…
“I am healed in Jesus name…”
How do you receive such healing? Riley reminded us, “All you have to do is believe it.” He continued to talk about God’s faithfulness and how the Lord answers our prayers in unexpected and unlikely ways. They ended their concert with a song from Riley’s new solo cd, “Remember His Faithfulness.”
Conclusion: It was great to see Tribute in Willow Springs again! I really enjoyed their concert and how they sang both of my old Tribute favorites and their newer songs. I never get tired of hearing ballads like “I Am Healed” and “When The Prodigal Comes Home!” Plus, it’s always fun to have a concert close to home. Dee Dee also did a great job of opening. How she mixed her set with just playing and then playing and singing was perfect. It was a fun night!