In the fall of 2008, Third Day co-headlined the Music Builds Tour with Switchfoot, debuting music from their much anticipated new album, Revelation. This is simply how Live Revelations: Onstage, Offstage, Backstage begins.
Typically the main attraction in a live DVD is the footage, sound, editing, setlist and video quality. However, Live Revelations takes live projects to a whole new level. The draw of Third Day and of this project lies in the character of their members, not just their songs. It lies in Mac Powell's signature goatee and strong vocals to bassist Tai Anderson's ingenuity and creativity with their live shows to guitarist Mark Lee's songwriting ability and humor to drummer David Carr's slight of hand tricks. This is where Live Revelations takes us. 'Forget the music for a moment and let's look at the people' is the theme of this DVD.
The DVD opens with a montage of clips from select shows for "I Got a Feeling." Immediately afterwards, Mac's parents are backstage talking with the band in Birmingham, AL about their show. It's neat to the meet the "good man" and "angel" Powell references being the son of in their song "This is Who I Am." Soon they disembark for Raleigh, NC, and you see some interaction with the band. In NC, Tai shares the idea about Mac holding a video camera while singing, "This is Who I Am" which introduces us to that song. Backstage afterwards, the band meets up with an old member, August McCoy, who played with the band in the early 90's. Then they head down to "Wired" to meet with their fan club. One of the most intriguing aspects to the DVD is the background music. It gives a deeper meaning to songs like "Caught Up in Yourself" and "Born Again."
Next we see one of the highlights and most touching moments of the DVD with the band back in Atlanta, GA. So often we see footage of bands or read interviews and either assume they're towing the company line or making us happy by saying what we want to hear. But the proclamations behind lines like, "I'm the son of a good man... I'm the lover of a beauty, I'm the father of blessings..." are made true when the band separates to see their families.
What makes Live Revelations as unique and tender and emotional is the access that Third Day lets the viewer get. Footage of their families at soccer games, with broken down cars, in playgrounds and kitchens make this immensely popular and successful Christian southern rock band seem like ordinary men with struggles like everyone else. And that is what Third Day is: Ordinary men with talent, emotions, humor and compassion doing extraordinary things for God.
While in Atlanta, they play "Run to You" and "Thief" and show some very personal interviews with the band about shows in their hometown. After Atlanta, the band heads to Nashville, TN and with the help of Switchfoot and Habitat for Humanity, the bands lend a hand in building a home for a couple in need. All the while, "Take it All" plays aptly in the background as you see the band hard at work. Before the show, starts you see the band talking with their manager about the start of the shows and where they can improve. What is neat is to see throughtout the DVD is the evolution of their "Music Builds" set and how they get from point A to point B. "Rockstar," where Mac entertains the crowd with an intended goof up onstage, and "Call My Name" are the final two songs before their "encore" which they just skip right to and bring tour mate Robert Randolph out to play "Otherside," a musical highlight on the DVD and CD.
On September 12, 2008 Hurricane Ike hit the Galveston/Houston, TX area leaving devastation and homelessness in its wake. In a deal brokered with the bands on the Music Builds Tour and the city of Houston, TX, the proceeds of the show in Houston went to help rebuild the homes destroyed in the hurricane. As Tai says before the Music Re-Builds show, "...we aren't taking withdraws, we're leaving deposits," the band proves that it's not about them, but about what God did through them to bless others. With "Cry Out to Jesus" playing in the background, the band meets with their pastor before the show at The Berry Center and we see some footage of the crowd in Houston. In the midst of devastation, there is hope, and Third Day brought that to the city of Houston and Galveston, and is evident by how emotionally connected the band was to the audience. It's some of the best audience footage shown and some great looks of joy, sadness and hope. They appropriately close out the DVD with "Revelation." During their tour, God revealed what He wanted them to do, much like what Revelation's prayer is all about. Although our paths may be uncertain, God does have a plan and knows exactly where we're going. For Third Day, it was Houston, for some it may be Africa, for some it may be South America. Regardless of where we are, our call is to be a blessing. That's what Live Revelations is. It's not just a concert or Third Day's newest project. It's encouragement in disc form that no matter how large or small you may be musically or otherwise, God has grander plans for you.
Altogether, this is one excellent DVD. Between the concert footage and quality editing mixed with the backstage banter and brainstorming, it makes for an emotional and encouraging experience. It's one of the best live projects I've seen where it's not all about the band or the music, but it's about what God is doing with the band.
The DVD comes with some interesting extras. There are some outtakes, which are fun to watch, and three iTunes downloads. "Slow Down," with Michael Barnes, the lead singer of Red, and "Tunnel" are included; as well as the video for "Revelation," which consists of some live footage and some footage from Salvation Mountain.
As for the CD, some of the songs are the same, while some aren't. It's not from one specific show, but from several combined shows during the "Music Builds Tour," much like the DVD. One added bonus is the U2 cover, "When Love Comes to Town" sung with Randolph, Jars Of Clay's Dan Haseltine and Switchfoot's Jon Foreman. "I Will Always Be True," with the introduction by Tai about the band going to Kuwait, is also included. Watching the video first and then listening to the album makes the album all the more special, having some visuals to go along with. Consider the audio disc an added bonus to the DVD. For fans of Third Day, I highly recommend Live Revelations. For those of you perhaps disenchanted with Christian music - feeling like no one is real and everyone is fake - I highly implore you to purchase Live Revelation: Onstage, Offstage, Backstage.
By - Kevin Chamberlin