When was the last time that you were in Church and the worship was so lively that they blew the speakers? Well on Saturday night that happened at the Tramway Christian Fellowship in Edmonton, London as they played host to the second of a very special couple of concerts. Gospel Live brought together many of the artists that featured on the Gospel Compilation from TruLife Promotions, an event with free tickets which maxed out both nights and, despite ticketing, still ended up with standing room only!
Yes One Man in the Middle made it to London, what was originally going to be a family holiday happened to coincide with this event, so we took a break from sightseeing to head across London and join some UK Gospel greats in full song. Not being one to let an opportunity pass I got some interviews courtesy of the TruLife team and our friends at AStepFWD which will be coming over the next few weeks. Consequently I missed the opening worship at the event, I tried to find the quietest place possible for the interviews, but still we could hear it and it sounded great.
Dennis from AStepFWD gave a short presentation of the work they are doing, but not before he had name dropped us from the stage and got my stepson onto the stage and got everyone to sing Happy Birthday to him!
As time was limited it was time for the artists to come to the stage and perform. There is sometimes a feeling that the UK Gospel Scene is tired, and a little dull, especially when compared to the US. Let me tell you now that this most certainly is not the case, at least not with these artists. Each one lit up the stage with their unique presence as Lady T (from Premier Gospel) introduced them and they fired up the vocal chords.
Anu Omideyi and the Reapers Choir kicked off the evening in some fine style and confessed that they were glad to be on stage first so that the rest of the evening they could relax some and enjoy the quality of the rest of the artists. Anu was right, but they themselves were absolutely fantastic as they shared their couple of tracks and really got the audience into the spirit of the evening.
As Lady T introduced the next artist she reminded us that all the artists performing that night were actually all MOBO nominees through the years. Ni-Cola was next up, having travelled down from Manchester she shared her tracks of encouragement through the tougher times. In fact if there was a theme throughout the evening it was to be encouraged through adversity and praise God through it. How could that theme not bless your boots off?
As different acts came to the end of their two-song sets and their own backing tracks died back often the beats were continued by the bass, keys and drums that were there and continued the song and moved in the flow of the music and Spirit.
Next up was someone new to me, but she is actually returning to the US Gospel scene from a bit of a break. Natalie Philips took us through a couple of tracks that had been things that God had been reminding her of over the past couple of years. To hold on, to not give up…I am so glad she didn’t give up and that she was at this concert because she was absolutely fantastic and blew me away with her voice and passion for the lyrics and her Lord.
Our good friend Sarah Teibo was next up, what can I say about Sarah that I haven’t already said in the past? Brilliant, tuneful and led by the Spirit as she continued beyond her planned songs with a worshipful word.
After Sarah there was a bit of a change as we moved from what had been all female vocalists onto Chris Da Ambassada. Chris is someone I have been vaguely aware of until now, but this was the first time seeing him perform. With a more Reggae style the crowd who had already joined in a lot and been up on their feet were now encouraged even more as we “dig a hole and put de devil in”. It was at this point the foldback speakers for the performers gave up the ghost, blown by the excitement possibly! Chris didn’t seem like he wanted to get off the stage and had more positive messages about our position in Jesus.
The last act who came to the stage were Volney Morgan and New Ye. Warning that they were only going to lead one song they fired up the crowd even more despite not being able to hear their backing tracks at all! The crowd would not let them get away with just one track and chanted for more. So they finished on a very lively version of “You Are The Everlasting God”.
At this point Marcus the organiser of the evening and CEO of Tru-Life came to explain his vision for the evening. The striking thing about his story is that just 3 years ago this man was homeless and hopeless, but God has turned his life around, given new vision and purpose and this event was the first-fruits of this redemption story. Wow! Our God is truly awesome and as all the artists came to the stage (New Ye had kept the song going with their vocals in the background) we finished off with that high praise for our amazing, awesome God.
It was the type of event that, despite the lateness of the hour, you float home on a cloud. As Sarah said these were songs of encouragement which you may not need right now, but when you hit a low time then you might need them. Many of the songs and all of the artists were featured on the Gospel Compilation so you could take that encouragement home with you. The UK Gospel scene is dull and boring? Uh, no I don’t think so. Vibrant, worshipful, full of life, vigour, talent and most importantly the Spirit of God!