Rock and Worship Roadshow shows true diversity in Indy

The Rock and Worship Roadshow rolled in to Indianapolis recently, bringing a night of family fun and an uplifting message at an affordable price. The Roadshow has been touring the country with its fresh diverse line-ups, and notorious $10 tickets since 2009, and has become a tradition of sorts for many families and youth groups.

As fans made their way into the stadium they were greeted by pre-show performances by John Guerra and I Am They. After a quick welcome message, the dynamic Group 1 Crew started the night off strong with their trance-y song “Heaven” off 2014’s Faster. The group often receives comparisons to Black Eyed Peas (a reference which, believe it or not, might be a bit dated for the majority of G1C’s young fan base) and it’s easy to see why, given the male/female vocal tradeoffs and their sleek futuristic vibe, but Group 1 Crew still manages to feel like a breath of fresh air.

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[lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Rock And Worship Roadshow Indianapolis/Group 1 Crew/\”]

The instantly-likeable Jamie Grace was up next, starting her set by sitting in the crowd and “answering” a call from TobyMac, who discovered and signed Grace to Gotee Records in 2010. Grace showed impressive range throughout her short set. During her triumphant anthem “Fighter”, Grace seemed dwarfed by the enormity of the stadium as she stood all alone at the front of the stage; but her voice, with a confident twang that could rival a young Dolly Parton, filled the arena as she soared into the chorus.

Matt Maher followed Jamie Grace and played a few songs on the main stage accompanied by John Guerra, but Maher’s set really took off when he ran to a smaller stage in the center of the stadium where he performed the remainder of his set. Fans flocked to the stage, eventually surrounding him entirely, which made for a moving visual as a single spotlight shone down from the back of the stadium as he led the crowd in singing his incredibly powerful “Because He Lives (Amen).”

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[lg_slideshow folder=\”2015/Rock And Worship Roadshow Indianapolis/Jamie Grace/\”]

After a brief intermission DJ Promote took to the b-stage and played some dance tracks as lights scanned the crowd. Soon these tracks gave way to a choppy recording of Cotton-Eye Joe and “folktronica” band Crowder emerged onto a stage that now displayed an impressive set-up featuring a make-shift country shack and was adorned with all sorts of trinkets that added to the folksy feel of their set.

Lead singer David Crowder playfully jabbed at buttons on his synths and computers as his massive band hopped, stomped, and clapped around on the stage. After a few years of flying below the radar, Crowder shot back to the top with “Come As You Are”, which was certainly well-received in Indy, but it was the chaotic rootsy stomper “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner” that stole the show as the crowd sang and pumped their fists. Given its similar chanting style the display conjured up images of fans singing “We Will Rock You” at sporting events.

Christian rap has experienced a resurgence lately with Lecrae’s significant mainstream success, but Roadshow artist Tedashii proved Lecrae isn’t the only talent in the pool. As he took to the b-stage, fans quickly swarmed around and filled in every last spot trying to get as close as possible. Within seconds the massive arena felt more like a club as fans on the floor jumped in unison while Tedashii crept along the edge of the stage, reaching out to his fans. At one point Jamie Grace joined Tedashii on stage to sing Britt Nicole’s part in “Dark Days, Darker Nights” as the video played on the large screens behind them.

Towards the end of his set a dozen or so kids hopped on stage to jump around and dance as Tedashii worked the crowd. It’s hard to choose a single standout artist of the night, but based on crowd reaction Tedashii was far and away the favorite among the mid-to-older teens in attendance.

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Finally, headliners MercyMe came on to wrap up the night. Over a decade after they shot to the top of CCM charts with their single “I Can Only Imagine”, MercyMe only seems to be gaining momentum as they continue to forge ahead. The band started off their set with a stripped down and rootsy rendition of the pre-chorus of “Shake” before launching in to the full song. Keeping the energy high they transitioned in to “Move”, off 2010’s release The Generous Mr. Lovewell and the title track off 2013’s release, Welcome to the New.

Genuine joy radiated from lead singer Bart Millard as he shimmied his way back and forth across the stage. The entire band was dressed to the nines in suits and ties, and this sleek, sharp look was only enhanced by the impressive production that lit up the stage.

After the first three songs the band slowed it down a bit as they played “All of Creation,” “Wishful Thinking,” “Word of God Speak,” and the One Republic-esque “Flawless”.

The entire crowd was on their feet as the band moved in to their breakout single, “I Can Only Imagine,” which seemed to resonate with the crowd just as much as it did when it released in 1999.

Finally, the band came back with one more shot of energy as they performed “Greater” before exiting the stage and bringing the night to an end.

The Rock and Worship Roadshow continues on throughout the month of March, making its way West before hitting Texas and Louisiana at the end of the tour. With its diverse line-up and affordable tickets, this is a show you definitely won’t want to miss.

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-Ashley Adcox

Pre-tour interview with Jon Guerra:

Pre-tour interview with Tedashii: Pre-tour interview with MercyMe\’s Barry Graul: