Newsboys live up to hype at Winter Jam

by Reggie Edwards The lights went down in Evansville’s Roberts Stadium. the music hit, and the Newsboys took the stage. Singer Michael Tait and drummer Duncan Phillips began dancing down the catwalk; guitarist Jody Davis and keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein were elevated in the air on platforms, descending onto the stage. Even though they were the final band to take the stage for the 2011 edition of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, the crowd knew the party was just beginning. \"Newsboys\" Winter Jam is an annual Christian rock concert, featuring some of the biggest acts in the contemporary Christian music scene. This year, the traveling concert featured Red, KJ-52, Newsong, Francesca Battistelli, Kutless, Sidewalk Prophets, and the Newsboys. A pre-show party featured Chris August and former American Idol contestant, Chris Sleigh and speaker Tony Nolan. Just a few years ago, the Newsboys seemed to be all but dead in the world of Christian music. Their albums may not have been selling low but they were getting less radio play than they had in years and the buzz about The Newsboys seemed to have dwindled. However, dawning a new front man in DC Talk’s Michael Tait, as well as a new electronic pop-rock sound, the Newsboys have danced their way back to the top of the Christian music industry, much like they danced to the stage during Thursday’s show. Tait even took time to thank the crowd for buying Christian music, informing them that in the first week, their latest album, “Born Again,” had debuted at no. four on the Billboard 200 charts, beating out Justin Beiber, Beiber was at no. five that week. For a Christian album to debut or reach that high of a rank anymore is almost unheard of, he told those in attendance. \"Newsboys\" The Newsboys had been highly-anticipated and did not disappoint, going straight into “When the Boys Light Up” after opening with an impressive cover of Taio Cruz\’s \”Dynamite.\” They also did a few praise and worship songs, including their hit “He Reigns,” “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” and the popular worship song, “Mighty to Save.” During “Mighty to Save,” the band quit playing and the entire near-capacity crowd continued to sing “Shine your light and let the whole world see, we’re singing for the glory of the risen King,” arms raised and tears streaming down their faces. Tait was on his game, working the crowd, including them in each song. He could often be seen walking down the catwalk fist-bumping and high-fiving fans. The Newsboys\’ show was full of energy and surprises. During their performance of “Miracles,” all four members of the band were elevated above the crowd and performed from mid-air. After they were lowered back to the stage, Tait proclaimed that it was time for “Newsboys- Old School,” performing a two-song tandem of the classic hits, “Shine” and “Breakfast.” \"Newsboys\" They topped off the show with a hit from Tait’s former band, DC Talk- “Jesus Freak.” The Australian-based band did not hold back as Phillips’ drum set began rotating, tilting forward and spinning as he played. KJ-52 also surprised the crowd by offering his talents for the rap portion of the song. \"Newsboys\"     With a new era of music leering before the Newsboys, an end seems to be far in the distance for the legendary Christian pop rockers.