Billed at Christian music’s largest annual tour, the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular 2012 kicked off the west coast series at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Ca. With an amazing and diverse set of artists and speakers, the sold out crowd was treated to an incredible night of worship and encouragement. And just to be clear…it’s not only christian music’s largest tour, it’s bigger than most of the secular names in the business. Check their sitefor details.
With roots going back to 1995, the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular has featured some of the biggest names in Christian Music and motivational speakers. This year was no exception as 9 artists and 1 speaker provided a praise filled evening. People of all ages waited in the cool afternoon to come inside but unfortunately some were turned away because of a simple lack of room. I mean, where else are you going to see a line up that include Jamie Grace, Sidewalk Prophets, Red, TobyMac and more for a modest $10? You see, the goal here is not to make this a profit center…it cost substantially more than $10 a seat to produce this event. The goal is greater than any other and that is to share the love of Christ with others. To share the truth of the Gospel and His amazing grace and forgiveness is what we as followers of Christ are instructed to do. The approach of $10 with no advance ticket sales other than special VIP packages is to make this accessible to all. In these days of tough economic conditions this is appreciated even more so.
So how about the show itself? Well, lets just say this; it was a fantastic evening! I don’t know how many people responded to the call of Christ, but there were many. I don’t know the exact number of World vision kids sponsored, but it was at least 100. I do know that the evening went by fast as artist after artist took the stage. CCP will apologize now…this article will get a bit long. there is just so much to talk about!The evening started with the two pre-jam acts Capital Kings and then American Idol contestant Jason Castro. You might remember this gifted artist as the one with the dreadlocks who sang a heart-touching rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. With talent like this starting the evening, you know it was going to be a great night!
After the pre-jam party, the “official” show kicked off at 7 and never let off the gas. 5-time Dove Award winner Group One Crew brought their hip-hop dance style to Ontario and got the crowd fired-up and wanting more. Group One Crew was also joined onstage by Chris August who is featured on their latest chart-topping hit He Said. Between their duties as master of ceremonies this evening, Newsong brought their heart for God to the stage next. With an opening that clearly said God-first and foremost, their set was inspirational and convicting.The slow reveal of Christ’s face and the band in the shadows left no room for doubt what the meaning of this event is. Be sure to check out the upcoming new release from Newsong, One True God
Next up was the amazing Jamie Grace. With a blend of sounds that is distinctly her own, Jamie’s joy and passion for what she is doing was evident. Jamie’s soulful, folksy/indie/funky sound is indeed infectious and she left the crowd wanting more. Jamie’s genuine caring demeanor has connected with fans young and old, and especially with young ladies who need a positive role model like her in this crazy world. Her great set was highlighted by songs like God’s Girl and then Hold Me…with TobyMac joining her on stage.
Whew…it just keeps getting better as Chris August came back to the stage for his set. Chris put together a solid (but short…like most) set showcasing some of his best known songs. I’d love to see a full-length show with Mr. August in the future.
After the Chris August set, evangelist and inspirational speaker Nick Hall providing an inspiring message highlighting the light of Christ’s grace. Nick has a great style that connects especially well with youth oriented audiences and that was evident on this night. Nick is also the founder of PULSE who sole mission is to evangelize and rally a nation. Please check the Pulse Movement site for more details.
Back to the music. Up next with a bang…quite literally…was RED. This hard charging, high energy rock band drives home the message of God’s love with a rock style all their own. A note from the band’s website talks about blending influences like CS Lewis and musical styles like Sevendust and Slipknot into a sound all their own, and that is about as good a description as I could give. The industrial steam-punk inspired stage filled with fantastic lighting, steam/fog and lots of fire was also a great thing to see. A big shout out goes to the band and also the crew who was able to setup and remove this elaborate set so quickly. If you are a hard rock fan and have never seen RED you need to. Let them melt your face off with driving chords, rocking drums and strong vocals. Just like they did for this great crowd. Be sure to check out RED’s new song Release the Panic, and new album release in early 2013.
After the arena was able to catch their collective breath, the very popular Sidewalk Prophets took the state for what was to be an abbreviated set. One of the things that happens with the first night of a tour is getting the timings down. Sidewalk Prophets gave up a bit of time to help get things back on track but still provided a fantastic set. This is yet another great story to see unfold. Clearly driven by God’s love, mercy and grace, Sidewalk Prophets continue to both mature as a band and inspire people. Having seen these guys play in Ontario a couple years ago the difference is clear. The heart and love of what they do is just as evident and the popularity has pushed them to new levels while still maintaining the approachable, genuine style. Fans were treated to some of their best known hits like Live Like That and You Love Me Anyway.
Closing out the night was yet another of Christian Music’s best known and hugely popular artist; TobyMac and DiverseCity. High energy, non-stop dance and fun all while praising our Creator. TobyMac and DiverseCity never fails to energize crowds of all sizes. Those in attendance were treated to hits both old and new and often with a remix style. Toss in a rockin’s drum line, awesome guitars and a great DJ and you have a show that must be seen. From Boomin’ to Lose My Soul to the current smash hit on positive airwaves everywhere Me Without You TobyMac and DiverseCity capped off an incredible night with an incredible set!
If you have not been to a Winter Jam event, please check their site for a date near you. And don’t just bring your saved friends…bring those who are hurting, those who a needy, those without hope. We need to remain bold in our faith and share His loving message at every opportunity. The Winter Jam Tour spectacular would be a great way to do that without much pressure and the comfort of a concert over a church which many on the outside seemingly fear.
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Mike/Christian Concert Photos