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Casting Crowns Brings Concert Experience to Fans on "Live"

  • David McCreary CCM Magazine
  • 2006 14 Nov
Casting Crowns Brings Concert Experience to Fans on "Live"

Artist:  Casting Crowns
Title:  "Lifesong Live" CD/DVD
Label:  Beach Street

With two discs still simmering on Nielsen SoundScan’s sales charts, seven-member ensemble Casting Crowns now churns out its "Lifesong Live" CD/DVD project, a concert version of the band’s sophomore studio release. The new endeavor represents the Crowns’ second performance-oriented CD/DVD set, following 2004’s "Live from Atlanta."

Not surprisingly, the "Lifesong Live" CD contains all the essential elements of a concert-style recording:  audience applause, brief comments from lead singer Mark Hall and several expanded renditions of the band’s hallmark anthems. Although only six songs are prominently featured, all the standouts made the cut, including “Love Them Like Jesus,” “Praise You in This Storm” and “Stained Glass Masquerade.” Interestingly, a seventh (bonus) track, “Set Me Free,” appears on the CD (but not the DVD). The song replaces its standard driving guitar riffs with well-executed piano and violin instrumentation. Moreover, Hall’s gritty, impassioned vocals take the song to a new level of soul-stirring intensity.

While, early on, the disc seems to promise a satisfying listening experience, it starts to drift and ultimately feels a bit too run-of-the-mill. Perhaps infusing more
conversation from Hall or additional musical improvisation would have helped capture the spirit of the performance.

Fortunately, redemption comes via the DVD, which yields a full-on view of the show. The set-list mirrors the CD’s, but it’s only here that we encounter Hall’s convicting, yet non-preachy, devotional challenges between songs.

Unlike the "Live from Atlanta" effort, this DVD is replete with enough behind-the-scenes footage and other special features to keep the most rabid Crowns fans
satiated for hours. Among the highlights are a well-produced, exclusive conceptual video of “Does Anybody Hear Her,” a virtual tour of the band’s bus and a spotlight on tour pastor Tony Nolan, who shares an inspiring testimony with wit and candor.

Also memorable are Hall’s accounts of how the group’s tight-knit dynamic plays out in daily life. Revealing glimpses show the band spending time together in prayer and devotions, goofing off during sound checks and detailing how each member remains engaged in local church ministry. It all serves as evidence to Casting Crowns’ unwavering commitment to serve each other and the body of Christ.

© 2006 CCM Magazine.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.   Click here to subscribe.