Mercy Me + Phil Wickham in San Bernardino

With their latest release, The Generous Mr. Lovewell selling nearly 90,000 copies its first week it will come as no surprise to fans of Mercy Me that Bart and the guys have once again put together a collection of songs deeply devoted to God’s message and meaning. With music covering a variety of styles and tempo’s Lovewell has quickly become a favorite for many already seeing a #1 single with “All of Creation”.

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My family and I have enjoyed seeing Mercy Me perform many times in the past, so when the opportunity came up to see them again and also get some photos of the live performance I jumped on it. Playing at the historic California Theater in San Bernardino, CA, Mercy Me and special guest Phil Wickham provided an amazing night of worship to Jesus Christ.

 

Phil Wickham was a pleasant surprise for me this evening as I had not seen him on the billing prior to my arrival that night. Having also had the chance to see Phil perform in Southern California several times, it has been a pleasure to see his growth as an artist and performer. Each time I caught his performances they have been better and better each time. This evening’s show was probably the best I’ve seen him. Playing some songs I knew and others I did not, all were enjoyable and focused right where they need to be: on God the creator. One highlight was when Bart Millard joined Phil onstage for a duet. Sorry guys, the title of the song they did escaped me, but it was well done. Could this be a track for the next album release? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Between sets, Bart Millard and bassist Nathan Cochran came out to talk about Compassion International. Compassion is one of the great Christian relief agencies and Mercy Me has been a long time supporter. I had a chance to speak with some of the Compassion volunteers after the show and I am pleased to report that they had a very successful evening. Many new sponsors stepped out in faith to support a child in need! Thank you!

Next up, the part of the show that most everyone was there for, Mercy Me. The guys kicked off with a great cover of the Beatle’s “Revolution”, followed by “So Long Self”. It took no time at all for the crowd to become completely engaged in the performance and praise to God. Mercy Me has been given an amazing gift of musical ability, thoughtful and well composed songs and a clear heart for God. Moving through old and new favorites they then went into This Life and a song Bart said he wished he had written, “Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.

As the band worked through songs like “Move”, “Alright”, “Crazy Enough” and “Hold Fast” it was clear that church was in session. This turned out to be an incredible night of worship with Bart and the guys. Bart talked about the incredible times of worship when you just knew God was in there with you. Like right in your face…so strong a presence you just know you could reach out and touch. There were definitely times like this through the evening as Millard’s silky smooth vocals lead everyone through “Word of God Speak”, “Homesick”, “God with Us” and “You Reign”. Also around this time the entire audience joined together to sing “Amazing Grace” with the microphone turned to the crowd. The Lord’s presence was all around without question. The last song of the evening before an encore was “Imagine”, the eternal classic that brings a tear to my eyes every time I hear it.

With no chance the packed house would allow them to leave without an encore, the band came back in to finish with great renditions of U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” and closing with “All of Creation”. All in all, this was another incredible performance from Mercy Me. Bart’s vocals were spot-on, and there were only minor glitches easily missed. If you have never had the opportunity to participate in a worship session lead be Mercy Me, be sure to check their tour schedule for a date near you. Mercy Me should be on everyone’s list of acts to see live!

 

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