Concert Review: Legacy Five and Greater Vision in Spring Arbor, MI

Concert Review: Legacy Five and Greater Vision in Spring Arbor, MI May 21, 2013

I apologize for taking so long to bring you this review! I decided to skip the pictures since I didn’t really get any good ones, and it takes time to upload them to a post, so why add more delay? This was a great concert, and it was especially interesting because Greater Vision chose to debut quite a few songs from their upcoming CD, For All He’s Done! It was awesome to hear what Rodney has been cooking up lately. I think he’s written some of his best work yet on this new CD. This was also special because it was the first time I’ve seen Legacy Five in concert. So without further ado, here’s a complete set list with comments:

Legacy 5, 1st Half
Blood-Washed Band: I love L5’s take on this old Cathedrals tune, from their new project Count Your Blessings. Matt Fouch nailed his step-out.
Everywhere I Go: This is also off the new project. A solid crowd-warmer-upper.
Pause for Scott to introduce Matt Fouch. In his words, “I couldn’t wait to get back to Spring Arbor for you guys to hear THAT!”
I’ve Been Changed: It was great to finally see Matt do this one live and in person. Crowd reaction was loud and positive!
I’m Still Amazed: This was one of the best cuts from A Wonderful Life, and it works even better live. I was once again struck by how smooth and clever the writing is.
Here Scott introduced Howie.
Had It Not Been: I had never heard Howie sing this standard. In my opinion, Doug Anderson recorded the definitive version about nine years ago, but then it’s hard to beat Doug! However, I liked how they handed the melody over to Gus for part of it.
He Loves Me So: This is from the new project. It’s mellow and just a little different-sounding. I liked how the harmony slowly built up from unison, to two parts, to a full four parts. The chords on the chorus take their time so you can kind of roll the flavor around in your ears. Very nice.
I Found Grace: An oldie but goodie, as Scott said. I had forgotten that Roger Bennett wrote this one. Gus always gets a bit red in the face on it!
Here Scott introduced young Trey Ivey. “Hasn’t this group been blessed with great piano players! Roger, and Tim, and now Trey.” At that point, the lady in the front row (in front of us), said “Yeah!” before anyone else. Scott improvised: “Didn’t know you brought your mother with you.” Nice bit of comic timing. At this point Scott did a leisurely segment of teasing/tormenting Trey, which everyone played up with great relish. But Scott also took time to enumerate Trey’s considerable musical gifts, including his gift for arranging. He told a story I found fascinating, which was that the other day, a lady had asked for the sheet music to a L5 song that wasn’t in print, and Trey wrote it up in 20 minutes. Even fewer minutes than years he’s been alive! (For free, of course, though Howie teased him about the charge.) Eventually they got around to having Trey play something. Scott chose a number from Trey’s solo piano Christmas record which melded a classical sonata with the Christmas tunes “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and “What Child Is This.”
Scott also mentioned Trey’s hidden talent for singing, telling how he recorded his verse on Jubilee 3‘s “Getting Ready Today” in four minutes on the record upon being dared by Scott to try it. Apparently he was getting impatient as Scott took his time in the studio. Trey came out from behind the piano to sing it for us! He has a very nice country tone to his voice.
Old Time Religion: They reached back into their catalogue for this upbeat gem which was new to me. I think this may have garnered the biggest crowd response of the night! The combination of a spirited tune, plenty of “old-time/old-fashioned” buzz phrases, and a key change or two literally had the crowd on its feet by the end. I was impressed by the range Matt displayed on his step-outs. Low notes were solid as usual, but he also showed a nice, light upper end I didn’t know he had. This was a great way to cap off Legacy 5’s first set.
Greater Vision, 1st Half
Come Unto Me: Greater Vision opened with the kick-off track from their new project. I enjoyed the mellow, laid-back sound of this song.
Redeemed Medley: A concert staple from Hymns of the Ages. 
I Know He Heard My Prayer: This is a Gaither tune  Vep Ellis tune that I don’t believe I’d heard before. It started out so mellow that I was surprised when GV suddenly kicked it up and built to a very dramatic finish. Uplifting!
He’d Still Been God: “Man, you keep up those kind of reactions, you’re gonna wear us out!” — Gerald
Seeking For Me: This is a Cathedrals cover, also on the new CD. I think I had heard the song before, but I was struck all over again by just how beautiful it is. Vintage Lanny Wolfe inspo. Chris’s step-out was absolutely gorgeous, fitting the song like a glove. Seriously, is there a better tenor in southern gospel?
Here Gerald paused to introduce group members and talk. He pointed out two little boys sitting in the front row (so who says there are no young fans in southern gospel?) and once again expressed appreciation for the enthusiastic crowd. He even said, “Honestly, we could load up the bus right now and leave and count it a good night. But we’re not gonna leave, so don’t worry!”
I Know A Man Who Can: Never gets old. Never, ever, ever.
Hallelujah Square: Here Gerald once again told the story of how Tony Greene first insisted GV sing “Hallelujah Square” or they wouldn’t get a check! I knew this story, but then Gerald added more to the story that I hadn’t known, about Tony’s final battle with kidney failure. When Tony was in a coma, Greater Vision stood around his bed singing songs, and his heart rate/blood pressure went up every time they sang. They kept it up until Tim reached Tony’s side, then Tony’s heart rate immediately began to drop and he passed away shortly thereafter. Two days later, Greater Vision was asked to sing at Tony’s funeral, and Taranda told them he had specifically requested that they not only sing “Hallelujah Square,” but also tell the story of his connection to it and to give him all the credit!
My Name is Lazarus: No comment needed!
More talking from Gerald. He talked about people who have the spiritual gift of discouragement. And like to share it! He also told some of his “stock” stories about Rodney’s intellectual abilities. 😉
This is Mercy: Gerald introduced this song by saying he disagrees with the common wisdom of waiting to sing songs live before the album has been released. This song is a new one, penned by Rodney to capture the perspective of a Roman soldier at Jesus’ crucifixion. Think, “I’m Doing This For You.” The first verse describes the nailing of the sign above Jesus’ head, then leads into the chorus by saying, “If I had done the writing, this is what it would have read.” The chorus has an expansive feel that really opens up the song. The second verse is even better written than the first. Rodney has truly done some of his best work on this new album.
Looking For the Grace: Greater Vision closed the first half with yet another new cut, this one an upbeat track about searching for the best in all situations of life. The tune is cheerful, but the lyrics are a thoughtful picture of looking for God to help us through the trial, rather than simply removing it. It was encored, and if I remember correctly folks stood to finish it off.

I’m looking for the peace that transcends each worry I face
I’m looking for the helper to come my way
I’m looking for the greatest gift Not looking for the great escape
I’m looking for the grace

During intermission, I grabbed a couple pictures and picked up Legacy 5’s latest album, plus some Roger Bennett sheet music. Trey Ivey said it looked “pretty elementary,” or something similar. Upon getting it home I found it fairly simple, though a bit more complicated than it looked in a few places. I’ve always wanted to be able to play “I’ll Meet You In the Morning” and “Power in the Blood” a la Roger!
Legacy 5 2nd Half
I Stand Redeemed: I was thrilled that they opened right away with my request. Gus turned in one of his best renditions of this song.
Truth is Marching On: This may not be the best-written song ever (strong chorus, clunky verses), but it generated possibly the strongest crowd response of the night (and this was an enthusiastic crowd). It always gets people on their feet. Gerald made the most of the moment and started teasing Legacy Five for ending their set with that song and leaving Greater Vision to pick up from there! A little bit later, Gerald switched gears and began down-playing how great the song is, and Scott picked up on a previous routine of Gerald’s to note “He’s got that spiritual gift of discouragement.” Well-played!
Here Gerald told some stories (or shall I say “stories”)? Actually, in fairness, he insisted that some of the funniest were really true! My favorite was the one about the guy who tried to play one of their earliest CDs on a record player(!)
Then Gerald turned serious and began talking about the lack of direct truth in the preaching these days. This set up one of the best songs from the new record I heard debuted that night.
Tell Me Like It Is: This song is addressed to a preacher, from someone who is asking for more honesty and conviction. I’m just going to quote the first verse and chorus here, because Rodney did such a great, great job with this lyric:

I’ve been hearing other preachers
Say I don’t have to change
The most eloquent of speakers
Tell me I’m okay
But it hasn’t eased my conscience
And I know it’s not the truth
So when you stand before us
Can I count on you?
Preacher, you say you want to be my friend
Don’t be afraid to call my sin what it is
Preacher, tell me I can overcome
But it’s only by the blood of the Lamb
Don’t tell me like I wish it was
Preacher, tell me like it is

Just for you, Joel Osteen!
Here GV and L5 did a Jubilee number.
Beautiful Home: It was pure delight to watch Matt strut his stuff on this number. I love anything with that “boogie bass line” sound, a la “Wonderful Time Up There.”
This was the penultimate song before they closed with “Champion of Love,” which once again generated a large response.
I walked away with a great experience and would heartily recommend that if you can see both these groups in concert, do so! They’re great guys as well as great singers. For me, the coolest part of this whole thing was getting to chat with Gus Gaches after the concert. I wanted to add a little duet with him to my growing collection of “tenor duets.” After we sang, we just fell into conversation about music, production, engineering, etc. We very quickly discovered that we’re kindred spirits when it comes to music history and the nerdy little details of how music gets recorded. In short, we found ourselves geeking out together in no time flat. Gus, if you’re reading this, thanks so much for finishing off my night with a flourish!

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  • The lyric at the end of the chorus of “Looking for the Grace,” I believe, is “Not looking for the great escape/I’m looking for the grace”…in keeping with the theme of the song.
    “I Know He Heard My Prayer” was published when Bill Gaither was 6! I know Bill loves the song, but I wouldn’t consider it a “Gaither” song. 🙂 One of Vep Ellis’s best convention songs.
    Thanks for the concert review! Love seeing how they are ordering their show now, with the new material.

  • Whoops! I found a site which listed Gaither as the writer, clearly erroneously. Thanks for the correction. 😆 Thanks also for the correction on the chorus of “Looking For the Grace.” Hmmmm, I get the thematic connection, though I find the movie reference cheesy. 😉

  • I could be wrong about that lyric, I supposed, but that’s what I hear when I listen, and I’ve listened quite a few times.
    I don’t know anything about a movie reference. Is there a movie called “Great Escape”? I highly doubt it’s intentionally a reference to that. I’m aware of the phrase, but not the movie.

  • Yes, I think you are right about the lyric. Yes, there’s a movie called The Great Escape, an extremely famous and well-made war/heist film. I’ve actually recommended it on this site before. 🙂

  • Saved Girl

    You have me wanting to go to another concert now. But, sadly, there aren’t any dates in the future for my area right now. I actually went to a Jubilee concert the week after yours, so I heard a few of those new GV songs. I wish they had sung “Tell Me Like It Is”. It sounds like a really great song.
    As far as I can tell, the lyric is “the great escape”. Yeah, it may be a bit of a cheesy reference, but I found it kind of funny since I’d just re-watched the movie recently (and bought the soundtrack; the music is simply amazing). 😀
    I’ve a bone to pick with you though. I think “Truth is Marching On” is an amazing song.

  • Aw, they didn’t sing that one at your concert? Drat! Well, I guess you’ll just have to go buy the CD and hear it for yourself. 🙂
    Yes, I remember you commenting on my _Great Escape_ fan-love post. That was a nice bit of bonding between us two. 😆 And yes, the music is amazing. A great score by Elmer Bernstein (yet another Jewish Hollywood composer!!) Bernstein also scored _The Magnificent Seven_, for which I think he may have won an Oscar.
    Well, I DO think the chorus is amazing! And I absolutely love and agree with the message. I just think the verses feel awkward from a purely aesthetic point of view. But that’s just my snooty song critic’s eye view—believe me, I was whooping and hollering along with everyone else when it was finished. 🙂

  • Ah…honestly, I come for the SG music stuff…anything else, I tend to kinda gloss over. 🙂

  • That’s fine, lots of folks do. 🙂