Live Review: Rock and Worship Roadshow in Indy

Since its inception in 2009 the Rock and Worship Roadshow has quickly become one of the hottest tours in the CCM industry, and they set out to raise the bar even higher in 2016. Famous for its $10 ticket price, The Roadshow has remained committed to bringing a wide selection of top-tier CCM performers to Christian music fans across the country. The Roadshow made at stop at Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Valentines day, treating CCM fans to a night of uplifting entertainment. The night kicked off with a pre-show event featuring Citizen Way and season 8 American Idol alum Danny Gokey, before Phil Wickham took the stage at the end of the catwalk to lead the crowd in worship. Next up, a very different incarnation of Audio Adrenaline than many of us are used to took the stage. There’s always an adjustment period whenever a band member leaves a group, but the stakes go even higher when an entire band is replaced. That being said, the name lives on with the blessing of the original band members, and the 2016 version of the band still carries the same mission- spreading the message of Christ with a heavy emphasis on philanthropy. Musically speaking there was very little about the band’s set that felt much like an Audio Adrenaline set (save for a brief performance of mega-hit “Big House”), but the band was full of energy and put on an impressive show, especially for a relatively new group. It’s safe to say the most polarizing performance of the night was that of rock band Family Force 5. From the trampolines and chainsaws to the polka-dotted 80’s apparel, Family Force 5 isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but they put on a thrilling show for those who do appreciate their shtick. The spectacle-level was sky high. Although they played relatively early on the bill Family Force 5 seemed to have the most exciting production of the night. Another American Idol alum, Mandisa, followed Family Force 5 and ushered fans into the second half of the night. Mandisa’s powerful vocals and wide range were eclipsed only by the joy radiating from her on stage. This joy and energy flowed through the audience and had everyone on their feet dancing along to songs like “Good Morning” and the triumphant single, “Overcomer.” After a brief break Jeremy Camp hit the stage and treated fans to a short but solid set. Midway through his set Jeremy welcomed his father, Tom, to the stage. Hoosier fans have grown accustomed to seeing Jeremy’s family at his shows and Tom Camp regularly hops on stage to accompany Jeremy on harmonica. The chemistry between the elder Camp and Jeremy’s band was strong, and it was clear he felt right at home on stage, making for a fun and memorable part of the night. Phil Wickham returned to the end of the catwalk for a short worship set as the crew put the finishing touches to the Newsboys stage. This was perhaps the most chilling moment of the night, as he prompted fans to pull out their cell phones or “something shiny” and the entire arena lit up as Wickham led the crowd in “How Great Thou Art.” Wickham disappeared from the stage towards the end of the final chorus, leaving the crowd in a state of contemplation and reflection as they closed out the song on their own. Danny Gokey and his band came out for a brief set at the end of the catwalk and after a few minutes the headlining act, Newsboys, arrived on stage. The band kicked their set off with an electrifying performance of 2010’s single “Born Again.” When long-time lead singer Peter Furler stepped down in 2009 he left a massive discography for the band to continue on with, and of course Michael Tait brought in many of his own songs from his days in DC Talk, but “Born Again” marked the true beginning of the Tait-era Newsboys, as fans finally got a taste of what they could expect in terms of new material. Over the years the band has made a seemingly painless transition as they’ve slowly swapped out more and more of their classic songs for their newer material. Worship-hit “He Reigns” is the sole survivor from the “classic Newsboys” days. Throughout the night Michael Tait and guitarist Jody Davis got up close and personal with fans, stepping off the catwalk to give high-fives and hugs and even take a selfie or two with fans who were lucky enough to snatch up a spot close to the stage. Tait showcased his Jagger-esque dance moves during their new single, “Crazy,” off the forth-coming Love Riot. The night ended rather abruptly around 9:45pm. The ending was so sudden that an encore seemed inevitable, but when the house lights were turned on and overhead music started to play while the clean up and tear down crews filed in to start working, it became clear the night was over. It wasn’t until many hours after the show that I realized what an interesting collection of artists were featured. Twenty years ago there were 3 giants that stood atop the CCM totem pole: Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, and DC Talk. The Rock and Worship Roadshow of 2016 brings you bits and pieces of those three groups with DC Talk’s Michael Tait fronting the Newsboys, and the introduction of Audio Adrenaline 2.0. All in all, RWRS2016 is packed from beginning to end with quality and excitement. And if you’re somehow still not convinced 2016’s Rock and Worship Roadshow is for you, just think: For a mere $10 you can see a guy named Crouton jumping on a trampoline, playing with a chainsaw, and singing about a sweatband while decked out in fantastic 80’s gear. What could be better than that?! -Ashley Adcox Click here for exclusive photos of all the bands from the Roadshow