This was my seventh Third Day concert, and, while I hesitate to compare since every show is great in it's own way, I think this one might have been the most fun and had the best set list. My wife and I had such a great time that we are seriously considering getting tickets to the Westlake show this Thursday, despite the difficulties of going to a concert in Ventura County in the middle of the week.
With our Wired membership, we were able to attend the pre-show Q&A with the band, Trevor Morgan, and Matt Maher. VIP ticket holders were also able to attend this event, which is a great way to learn more about the artists, their music, and their relationship with God. Questions ranged from the artistic (the artists' musical influences), the philosophical (moments of revelation in their careers), and the curious (like where Scotty Wilbanks is REALLY from). After the Q&A, Wired members stuck around for a photo with the band and a quick meet and greet. My wife and I have been Wired members for several years and have been to several meet and greets with the band. They are not only very friendly, approachable, and personable, but they are very appreciative of their fans and make every effort to make this a great fan experience. They remembered us from the last times we saw them, and made a point to thank us for coming out to the show (as if we would have missed it). After that, it was on to the show.
I cannot say enough about Trevor Morgan and Matt Maher. We had seen Trevor Morgan at Fish Fest last year and we have his CD, but his solo acoustic set, with no backing band, was blistering and soulful - nothing but raw musical talent on display. We had seen Matt Maher in September at The Grove, and, while the set had been great, the weeknight crowd had been lukewarm. This time, with a sold out crowd to play to, he was at his best, performing the perfect mixture of older hits ("Your Grace Is Enough", "Christ Is Risen") and newer material ("Turn Around" and my wife's favorite, "My Only Love"),
Third Day was as good as I have ever heard them, and the set list included some refreshing changes from recent shows. Some of the highlights were "Thief", "Lift Up Your Face", "Surrender", "Trust in Jesus", "God of Wonders", and "My Hope Is
You". Mark's guitar solo on "Thief", by itself, was worth the price of admission. My favorite part of the show was the acoustic set, where we were treated to stripped down versions of "Cry Out to Jesus", "Blessed Assurance", "Blackbird", "Born Again", and "King of Glory". The acoustic set (during which they take requests from the audience) is one of the benefits of seeing Third Day on one of their own shows, rather than at a festival where there are more restrictive time constraints of their set list. If you go to a show and have a request, make sure you bring a sign for your song, and there is a decent chance they will play it. The show ended with a smoldering encore that opened with a chorus of The Eagles' "Seven Bridges Road", and ended with one of my favorites from the Revelation album, "Otherside".
After the show, Mac, Trevor, Jason Hoard, and Matt Maher held a jam session at the chapel across the pavilion from the auditorium where the concert was held. It was more of a sing along than anything, with the artists leading us in songs ranging from Hank Williams classics to old hymns to Third Day favorites (plus Matt's fun rendition of "Great Balls of Fire"). The acoustic setting really showed off Jason's skills on the mandolin - something which, as a mandolin player myself, was a personal highlight. The evening ended with Mac leading us through "By His Wounds" and "Nothing But the Blood".
Overall, it was a fun and prayerful evening of fellowship and worship, featuring three of the best Christian music artists around. If this tour is coming to your town, go. For Third Day fans, it is a can't miss.