Home > Concert Reviews > Gaither Homecoming Review: Indianapolis

Gaither Homecoming Review: Indianapolis

Whenever I first heard that the Gaither crew was going to be in Indianapolis I have to say that I was elated. For I had never actually been to a Gaither Homecoming event before… I ordered my tickets around two months ago, one for me and one for my girlfriend. I had been anxiously awaiting the day to arrive for quite some time… It finally arrived this past Friday. My girlfriend and I met her cousins, and we went out to eat in Greenwood Indiana (a suburb of Indy) at a Logans Roadhouse, before the event was to start. Come to find out her cousins (who had ordered tickets about a month earlier than us) seats for the night were right next to us! The odds of that are pretty slim out of about 10,000 seats! Needless to say we were pretty excited about that development…

We arrived at Conseco Fieldhouse  about 20mins before the event was about to start and found our seats… It was my first my time to ever visit this venue. I have to say that it is stunning. I would have loved it if NQC had decided to move their headquarters to Conseco, for more than one reason. Around 6:50 Kevin Wiliams came out and did a guitar solo which I thoroughly enjoyed. Rory Rigdon joined him and they started telling jokes, and talking about the different deals at the Gaither Table.

Bill Gaither then came out to much applause. He introduced Charlotte Ritchie, who came out and sang one of my favorites by her “I’ve Got Joy” I am glad that Charlotte is doing well since she left the Easters. I have always really enjoyed  her voice since her days with the Nelons.  Buddy Greene was then introduced and sang “Just Like John” (I am guessing on that title) I am not very familiar with his work, other than that he is an amazing harmonica player!  he then did one of my favorite hymns “Come Thou Fount” that quite frankly blew me away. He was being backed on both songs by the Isaacs and they can make anyone sound really good… Buddy Greene is a very solid singer, along with being a great musician. Gordon Mote came out next, you could definitely tell that he is very popular with the crowd. I really enjoy his singing and playing. He sang a song I think was called “Rolled Away” but I am not sure… Like Buddy Greene I am not that familiar with Gordon’s music. Next he sang a great song called “Mercy Walked In” which is a  song that grabs your attention from the outset. His voice has very nice tone quality that compliments his terrific musical ability well.   The Martins then took the stage with a great response from the crowd.  They started out with one of their older songs “Joshua Fit The Battle.” After which they went straight into a A Capella medley of the Doxology, that blew everyone including me away. They closed their set with “The Promise” Which is a song that really fits the Martins well… It has a great message coupled with the Martins stellar vocals making for musical magic! I am very happy to see the Martins back out there together, I am really looking forward to their upcoming album. Russ Taff then took the stage. He only sang  song which was “I Believe” and had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand… He definitely knows how to master the stage, and to connect with his audience no matter what crowd he is singing to…

Bill Gaither introduced the Booth Brothers next. Much to my delight… I have always loved their harmony drenched vocals, to go along with their raw energy, and just pure mastery of the stage… They started out with “Castles In The Sand” which is a song that features their harmony to its highest extent. They went straight into one of the brand new songs next “All Over The World”  this is a song that has very interesting arrangement to it.(it is on their upcoming project ,which is their best by far in my opinion) I won’t really go into much detail on the actual song. However there is a review of the new album forthcoming, so you will have to wait until then… Next they slowed things down again with the most beautifully done version of the Mosie Lister hit “Then I Met The Master” that I have ever heard… It is also on their next project. They kicked things up several notches in their closing number, by turning Jim Brady loose on “Tradin’ The Old Cross.” I absolutely love their upbeat and fun arrangement of this song… It really showcases Jim Brady’s vocal abilities extremely well. The Booth Brothers are tops in my opinion. And other than the Gaither Vocal Band, they may have been the highlight of the night.

The Issacs were next. I am not the biggest bluegrass fan but the Isaacs are the exception for me. Their style is definably Bluegrass, but they are without a doubt on the contemporary side of the genre. Which in my opinion pretty close to pure Southern Gospel. They started with bluegrass hymn medley of songs, including “Love Lifted Me/In The Sweet By And By/Just Over In The Gloryland/and I’ll Fly Away. It went over extremely well. By the end of the song The Isaacs had the crowd riveted. Next they sang a song from their new project “The Three Bells” which features mostly Ben. I am not a big fan of this song, It just seems  a little to random to me, if that makes sense that is just in my opinion of course. Next they sang “A Little Bit Of Heaven In Every Gospel Song” which has a very nice arrangement. Next was their stunning A Capella version of “I Will Praise Him” Sonya Isaacs really shows off her range on this song, and Ben shows his abilities nicely as well… And their harmony is pretty much unparalleled. The Isaacs were a hit here in Indiana for sure! Up next was Lynda Randle . Have always enjoyed her ability to be able to connect with the audience in a way that few singers can. She sang a song that I believe was called “Walk With Me.” She closed with a beautiful rendition of “He Will Carry Me” Lynda Randle is a very capable vocalist that I really enjoyed hearing.

Finally the moment that we had all been waiting for. The lights went low and the music started playing and then the magnificent sound of five incredible voices started singing… The lights suddenly flashed onto the stage, and there was the Gaither Vocal Band standing their in full glory singing their hearts out on “Alpha And Omega.” The crowd was in a frenzy by this time! Then they really took off on it with their vocals soaring and the lights all came on, and the crowd went crazy. That song will never cease to be a great opener for this group… David Phelps was really on Friday night and it showed from the get go. The Vocal band then went straight into “The Love Of God”  which really features the two tenors David and Wes with some nice group harmonies interspersed throughout the song. Wes has really grown as a vocalist these last five years. I have always liked his voice and I think he has only gotten better… He is releasing a solo project sometime this year. I have to say I am really looking forward to that one.  “When He Blessed My Soul”  was up next which is really starting to become a big hit for them. I still personally like Gold City’s version of the song a little better… Mostly due to Tim Riley… With that said the Vocal Band does a stellar job with it. Mark then starting popping off to Bill which is always quite hilarious… Mark has some new stuff that is pretty funny and he was in rare form on Friday night! They used this comedy to set up their next song “Journey To The Sky” which always takes a little while to get started,with Bill interrupting Mark so much at the beginning and with Kevin Williams joining in, it made for some pretty hilarious stuff… Once the song got going however it was really good… Wes really belts his lines out with power! David Phelps was then featured on his Italian aura “Nessun Dorma” he totally nails this song.  His pure vocal power and control never ceases to make my jaw drop… He commands a lyric like NO ONE ELSE. He is in my opinion the best singer in the world bar none.

Bill Introduced Marshall Hall (who filled in Michael English who was greatly missed by this blogger) next and had him sing his classic version of “Jesus Loves Me” I do really enjoy his voice, and I believe he has actually gotten better since his time with Vocal Band. Next was the old classic “Hide Thou Me” they did this as a true quartet with David on Tenor, Wes On Lead,Mark on Baritone, and Gene Mcdonald joined them singing bass, with Bill on the piano. And WOW what a sound these guys put out… That lineup I truly believe would be the best quartet on the road immediately! Gene Mcdonald is a very good bass singer… Next they sang one that I don’t believe they have done since Marsh left. The song was “Give It Away” And they knocked it out of the park. They gave away some tee shirts, by throwing them to the crowd towards the end of the song. That song went over really well. Mark Lowry then stepped out and sang “Mary Did You Know” and the crowd really responded to this one with a huge standing ovation. I have always loved that song and seeing the writer of the song, singing his “Baby” is always a nice thing to get to witness… Marsh, David and Wes joined him for part of it, making some amazing harmonies stacked above Mark. They closed their set with a song that I have always wanted to see done live with David Phelps commandeering the tenor spot. The song was “Let Freedom Ring” and WOW did they lift the roof off with that one! David and Wes really nailed it… David’s verse was as strong as I have ever heard him! This song is so powerful and strong that you can’t help but get excited and blessed just hearing it. It was a great song to close out the Gaither Vocal Bands set in Indy. They announced that they were taking about 15 mins and they would be back to do a Homecoming sing along.

The sing along started with Gene Mcdonald coming out and doing “Up Above My Head,” Wes then came out and took the lead on Jake Hess’s part. Marshall joined in as well… They showed some old video of George Younce along with some of the other legends, singing along with the current singers. Gene Mcdonald really showed his great ability on this one! His range is amazing… I really like his voice. Buddy Greene came out next and did some pretty amazing things with his harmonica. He can play one of those things like I never imagined anyone could! The Martins came back out and sang “So High” they were backed by the other artists. Buddy Greene came back out this time with his guitar and sang a very nice rendition of “Shall We Gather At The River” he was also backed by the other artists. I really enjoyed that one. Charlotte Ritchie came back out and she led the other artists in singing “Tell Me The Story Of Jesus.” She is very good vocalist, and I hope does well in her solo career. Next was “Rock Of Ages” which started out being led by the Martins, but then turned into a video tribute to Vestal Goodman. She was such a icon and was so loved by her fans… Her voice was so powerful. She is truly missed, but I am glad we have the video capability of today.  Next was another Vestal hit. “What A Lovely Name” 13 year old Logan Smith came out and blew everyone away with his voice that sounds almost identical to Vestals… That boy can flat out sing… He was joined by Wes Hampton and Mark Lowry making for a very nice trio!

Bill  set up the next song by talking about how you never know when you will have a spiritual experience, it might even come listening to a secular veined song… He said one such experience for him was when Woody Wright sang “It’s Good To Be Home Again” at the Red Rocks Homecoming. He had Woody sing it since they were now “Home in Indiana.” I have to say that I really enjoyed the acoustical version of this nice song. Woody along with being a great songwriter is a very capable singer and guitar player. Mark Lowry stepped out next and sang a solo of “Make It Real” He is a better vocalist than some people give him credit for, and he can really connect well with a crowd… Bill talked some after this and said how good the night had been and then had the entire crew sing one of my favorites “I Then Shall Live,” I love that song! They really blended well together and that song may be Bills best solo (he sings a couple of lines solo) They closed the night out with “Because He Lives” and O my did Wesley Hampton and David Phelps really blow me away on that one! That is such a great song and I am glad they are still singing it… It may well be the best song Bill and Gloria have ever written!

After it was all said and done the night that was well worth the money that I spent on the tickets…  I have to say that Conseco Fieldhouse is a great venue for a concert, the acoustics are great for any singing event and if NQC ever decided to move to Indy you can’t get much better than Conseco. I got to meet some of the artists but not as many as I would have liked… I have to say I am not a big fan of waiting in extremely long lines just to shake someones hand… I did get to talk to Jim Brady of the Booth Brothers quite a bit! He is a super nice guy that really fits Michael and Ronnie very well. I will definitely go to another homecoming event without a doubt. My next one could be Louisville in December, where I will get to enjoy a Christmas homecoming for the first time! I can’t wait to hear David belt out “O Holy Night” LIVE.  I hope you enjoyed this bloggers perspective of a Gaither Homecoming Event.

Categories: Concert Reviews
  1. Sallyh
    May 29, 2010 at 1:43 -04:00May

    Hey Nate – I left you a message on gaithernet abt your review – great, thanks. Have a couple comments on nqc in Indy and at Conseco. You are right about the sound and beauty of the venue, however, many, many of the folks who attend NQC are “older” & would never be able to make it up and down those stairs more than once. NQC is known for folks coming and going – for ice cream, snacks, to visit the exhibition hall, etc. Those stairs are LONG and steep. The exhibition hall brings me to another concern. The one in Louisville is HUGE. I don’t think Conseco has anything that could remotely fill that need. Perhaps if the concerts were held in the Convention center just a little further west, there would be plenty of exhibition space, but I’m not sure how much seating the Convention Center would be able to offer. Also, hotels downtown are very pricey. Staying out a ways leads to finding a place to park which is also expensive. Even though I live in northern IN, I still prefer nqc in Louisville.

  2. August 4, 2010 at 1:43 -04:00Aug

    Hello Nate,

    Great reviews of the concerts past. I have only recently started listening to the Gaithers on TV so, I searched upcoming events on the web and this site stood out. The music is truly inspirational

  3. jim creson
    September 20, 2010 at 1:43 -04:00Sep

    I attended my 3rd Gaither concert on Saturday night and was kinda disappointed. If not for Gordon Mote, I would probably have left at intermission. The singers were good, Kevin Williams was the sparkle he always is but my disappointment came in the form of Michael English. I just don’t think he is all he thinks he is. He seems to want to set himself apart and his ego is projected thru the room like a spear. Everyone else seemed to wish to blend and complement each other but English seems to project that it is all abour him. Even his logo,”ME”, is egotistical in my perception. He just isn’t all that and Guy Penrod is greatly missed.

  4. Rose Mary Larkin
    October 8, 2010 at 1:43 -04:00Oct

    You did a terrific job covering the Gaither Show you attended at Conseco Fieldhouse. I could almost feel the music as you went from one to the next performer describing them so well. I attended my last Gaither Concert in May at Convention Center in Ft. Worth, Texas and I agree with you that Logan Smith has a really sound-alike Vestal voice.
    Thanks again for being such a great blogger.

    Rose Mary Larkin

  5. December 8, 2011 at 1:43 -04:00Dec

    Nate, I’m going to a homecoming tomorrow, and I wondered how long it takes in your experience. It’s starting at 7:00 and I can’t find any info about when it’s over. Thanks!

    • Nate Stainbrook
      December 8, 2011 at 1:43 -04:00Dec

      I remember it being almost four total hours, so it should be over around 11. I hope you have a blast!

      • December 8, 2011 at 1:43 -04:00Dec

        Wow! I’m going with the family, so that’ll come as a bit of a shock to the driver… but okay! What was meeting and greeting like? Were they out before the concert? After the concert?

  6. Nate Stainbrook
    December 8, 2011 at 1:43 -04:00Dec

    Well we did not get there early enough to know whether they were out before the concert. Afterwards I got to talk to the Booth Brothers, Kevin Williams, Rory Rigdon and Gene Mcdonald, I don’t believe any of the others were at their tables.

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