Things got off to a bit of a rocky start when the KLOVE Christmas tour made a stop at Eagle Center in Whitestown, Ind. recently. Due to a few parking snafu’s, a sizeable portion of the sold-out crowd were still making their way into the lot when the show kicked off at 7pm.
Opening act Love and the Outcome, a husband and wife pop duo from Winnipeg who also appeared on the Winter Jam tour with Jeremy Camp, appeared promptly at 7pm and quickly won over the crowd while performing their single “He Is With Us.”
Jodi King and Chris Rademaker’s warm, full vocals perfectly accented each other. The duo is currently up for the KLOVE Fan Award for best group or Duo of the Year, as well as Song of the Year, and given the reception they had in Whitestown, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them walk away with both awards!
Next up was southerner Chris August, accompanied by Bryon “Talkbox” Chambers (who has previously worked with artists such as N*Sync and TobyMac). August managed to fit an entire night’s worth of energy into a short 30-minute set. In order to pack in as much material as possible, August favored medley’s and ‘half-versions’ of many of his song selections, which ranged from Christmas classics such as Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song”, to popular church songs such as “This is the Day that the Lord Has Made” and “How Great Is Our God.”
One particular highlight from his set was his performance of his original Christmas song, “Tell Me What You Want For Christmas.” Leading in to the song he warned the audience that there would be a line in there they probably wouldn’t like, and I found myself somewhat perplexed, waiting for some relatively scandalous line to drop. Instead, it was a line where August asks for his beloved Dallas Cowboys to win the Super Bowl, which garnered a less-than-favorable response from the crowd.
But it was all in jest and good fun. August had clearly endeared the audience within minutes of walking on stage and talking to those in attendance with all the excitement and enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas Eve, so most people seemed willing to let his unfortunate football alliance slide.
After another short break Indianapolis-native Tiffany Lee, better known by her stage name, Plumb, made her appearance. Right from the start it was clear Plumb was in the holiday spirit, wearing a festive puffy green dress with a faux-fur collar. Now it was starting to feel like a Christmas show.
Some of the most memorable moments in Plumb’s set were compliments of her children. Although she started her set somewhat subdued, she launched into her massive-hit In Your Arms, a song written about her relationship with her son, with so much energy and conviction which carried through the rest of her set.
Later in the set she half-apologized for the forthcoming wackiness, saying that her young daughter wanted her to sing her favorite Christmas song, which just happened to be one of the wackiest Christmas songs there is. Much to the delight of the crowd she started singing “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” and towards the end of the song was even joined on stage by Santa carrying a stuffed hippo!
Shifting modes a bit, towards the latter half of her set Plumb decided to open up and connect with those in attendance on a deeper, more personal level. Up until then her set had been full of funny songs and fun stories about her family, but before going in to “Need You Now” she told of how her marriage suddenly crumbled right after Christmas a few years ago, and the devastating effects that brought.
Fortunately, though, the story has a happy ending, and she spoke of how her walk with God helped her and her husband to reconcile and even have a ‘re-marriage’ celebration!
Finally, after a lengthy intermission and a few words from Feed The Children, Jeremy Camp stepped on stage to kick off a ‘hometown’ show. During the intermission the host for the evening asked for Camp’s relatives to raise their hands, and probably 25 hands shot up across the room, so it was clear that this was going to be a special night.
Throughout his set he talked to relatives from the stage and told stories about the blessing of growing up in a Christian home, where his mother and father trusted in God to provide, even in the midst of crisis.
As Camp led into “Mary Did You Know” he talked about his fascination with the humanity of Jesus, mentioning how we have a tendency to view Jesus as a baby or a 30-year-old, and how it’s so easy to forget his times of basic human struggle.
He explained that when we overlook those years and overlook those struggles, we’re missing out on one of the most important aspects of Christ- that he was very much a normal human man and experienced those same human struggles. His performance of “Mary Did You Know” was accompanied by scenes of Jesus’ life playing on a screen, which brought new weight and emphasis to the words of the song.
Later he talked of how it’s hard to know how to respond to struggle in pain, but he takes comfort in the fact that God knows, and how two simply words, Jesus wept, spoke more about the heart of God than 100 words could. This led in to “He Knows,” which he blended into Walk By Faith. For most of the night the audience remained seated, but at this point a good portion of the crowd was standing, arms raised in worship.
As the night came to a close Jeremy brought out Plumb, Chris August, and Love and the Outcome for a final celebration with “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” which was accompanied by a seemingly never-ending supply of snow that covered the stage and audience. Standing at the back of the room this seemed to be the picture-perfect Christmas Season night- families enjoying their time together, playing in the “snow”, with twinkling eyes and wide smiles covering their faces. Sure, the night got off to a rough start, but by the end of the night the difficulties of getting to the show had been long forgotten, replaced entirely by the joy found in faith, family, and the Christmas Season in general.
-Photos and review by Ashley Adcox
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