HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Christian rock band Newsboys delivered a message of hope and love to their faithful crowd in the Rocket City Thursday at the Von Braun Center Arena.
The legendary group performed for a near sellout crowd with lead singer Michael Tait strutting and roaring like a lion as he belted out the anthems, along with new standards from their latest catalog of songs.
The band wowed the audience with a vertically tilted percussion set that spun wildly more than 50 feet in the air while veteran drummer Duncan Phillips kept perfect beat.
Once again, the Newsboys displayed why they are still secure at the top of their genre. They paid tribute to the area’s first responders and members of the military.
The concert was recently added to their highly successful “Love Riot” tour and marked the 47th of 51 venues performed nationwide.
During a question and answer period before the show, the band received accolades and presents from their adoring fan base which culminated with a tiny child just learning to speak humbling the pre-concert crowd of inquiries by simply asking the band members for a hug. She was quickly swept away onto the stage as her request was embraced by all four bandmates.
When another child of just 10 years old asked the band how they started, Phillips was caught up in the moment and traveled back in time to his youth in Australia where the band formed.
“I started playing drums at age 9 because I liked the sound and fury of that instrument,” said Phillips. “Later, I learned why it happened, what it all meant. I now see how I have been used for something much bigger than me.”
Phillips talked about how the band was originally seen by some as outcasts and how they have endured. Ironically, Phillips says now they are labeled everything from innovators to old school in the music industry. He talked about how Christian music is like an open source code where groups don’t sue one another about melody rights, instead bands share musical ideas because they feel it is for larger cause. He also spoke about the uniqueness of how nearly all denominations of faith can come together and become one voice at their concerts.
“We all know there is something special going on here and we don’t take it lightly,” Phillips said. “At the same time there is so much joy in what we are called to do. So much has changed since we first started. Most of the bands we started with are gone. It’s a special thing what is happening right here and now and we don’t take it for granted.”
The Newsboys have headlined for more than 30 years. They’ve sold more than eight million units, amassing eight gold certifications, 33 number one radio hits, four Grammy nominations, two American Music Award nominations and multiple Dove Awards.
“God’s Not Dead,” Newsboys’ chart-topping, platinum single, inspired the 2014 hit film of the same name. The group also appeared in the movie and returned to the big screen to reprise their role in the box office hit sequel, “God’s Not Dead 2.”
The Newsboys’ latest tour release (Love Riot) debuted atop multiple charts, including Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart and Top Alternative Albums chart in 2016.
“Alabama is special to me because my dad is from Mobile,” said Tait, the band’s charismatic lead singer. “Our band now resides in Nashville, so this is our closest road venue. Jody Davis (guitar), Jeff Frankenstein (keys), Duncan Phillips (drums) and myself all feel very much at home here in Huntsville.”
The opening act featured a theatrical experience by a cast of singers, actors and dancers named “Rivals” with songs from Juan Otero. The show was produced by John and Sarah Bolin. The cast took the audience on a journey where stars are born, rivals are met and no one leaves the way they came in.