Concert Review: Newsboys

Saw these guys on Sunday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis and reviewed the show for a local newspaper here. I’ve done more than 250 concert reviews for the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper since 2001 and this is easily a top 3 performance, right up there with Clapton, Santana and a few others that I’ll never forget. The Newsboys put on a show that … well, wow. The review was only around 450 words and can’t do it justice, but I tried anyway. Do yourself a favor: Go to iTunes right now and buy “Whever We Go” off their new album “Go.” It will be the funnest 99 cents you ever spent! Here’s the review:

By John Nemo

Special to the Pioneer Press

 

Every contemporary Christian artist currently on tour in the
United States should be required to attend a Newsboys concert as soon as
possible and take copious notes. Because Sunday night’s spectacle before a sellout
crowd of 8,124 inside downtown Minneapolis’ Target Center and its half-arena
setup was part U2 concert, part Blue Man Group performance and above all a
flawless rock show paced to perfection.

 

Beginning the evening standing behind gigantic white screens
that revealed the shadowed, larger-than-life silhouettes of band members Duncan
Phillips, Peter Furler, Jeff Frankenstein and Paul Colman, the Newsboys
injected an incredible, transcendent amount of energy and passion into the
cavernous basketball arena with their opening number, “Shine.”

 

The band, formed by Australian native Furler and three
friends in 1985, has, despite several lineup changes, become one of the most
popular and best-selling Christian groups ever. That’s due to a combination of
radio hits like “He Reigns,” “Let It Rain,” and “It Is You” along with
legendary live performances.

 

Sunday night was no exception. On a stage with six gigantic
video screens, hundreds of flashing colored lights and a long catwalk that
extended halfway into the audience, the Newsboys were at the top of their game
with the thumping, pumping pop rock from their latest album, 2006’s “Go.”

 

While the music had arms waving and bodies jumping, the
visual spectacle – complete with video production of the band members as they
performed that would make an MTV producer jealous – was equally entertaining.
The set’s pacing was perfect, from high-octane performances like “Wherever We
Go,” “Blessed Be Your Name” and “He Reigns” to a mellower, “old school” medley
by lead singer Furler and keyboardist Frankenstein in the middle of the
90-minute set to a closing encore that included a drum-off for the ages.

 

During the slower, soulful section of the show, Furler gave
a powerful testimony of his faith in Jesus Christ that was blended seamlessly
between songs, never losing the concert’s momentum despite some quiet moments
of reflection and prayer.

 

Things cranked back up with more fast-paced pop rock and
visual fireworks, including a finish that had drummer Phillips rotating in
circles at a 90 degree angle on a rising, spinning platform. At the same time,
Furler stood halfway across the arena on the catwalk, blasting away on his own
percussion kit, then suddenly rising more than 20 feet above the stunned
audience while he and Phillips ripped into a dual drum solo.

 

When it was done, an exhausted, exhilarated audience shook
the Target Center to its foundations with thunderous applause, and the
Newsboys’ lesson in contemporary Christian Rock Concerts 101 was complete.

 

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