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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Live from Atlanta

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Sep
Live from Atlanta
Sounds like … modern worship mixed with contemporary pop for fans of Steven Curtis Chapman, Caedmon's Call, Nickel Creek and Chris TomlinAt a glance … a short but sweet collection of live tracks on CD, and in DVD format, interesting footage takes fans deeper into the Casting Crowns concert experienceTrack ListingIf We Are the BodyWho Am IVoice of TruthHere I Go AgainAmerican DreamBeautiful Savior

In just under a year since its national debut, Casting Crowns has experienced a meteoric rise, including the chart-blazing hits "If We Are the Body" and "Who Am I." For the one-time youth leaders who simply pursued music on the side, this breakthrough has been somewhat surprising to group members, but inspirational to other acts seeking balance between an artistic career and ties to church ministry. This concert CD/DVD collection (recorded in the band's home church in Atlanta) captures the spirit and emotion from the parishioners for whom they've frequently led worship.

The track listings are essentially the same on both discs, but not surprisingly, the DVD provides a deeper glimpse into the all-around concert experience. In addition to tight renditions of songs like "If We Are the Body," "Who Am I," "Voice of Truth," "Here I Go Again" and "American Dream," there are also several bonus features—individual interviews with each member, a song-by-song analysis, the video for "American Dream" and a spotlight on the band's Jumpstart ministry to youth.

The CD demonstrates deeper musicality for Casting Crowns than is revealed on its self-titled studio disc. When feeding off the audience's live energy, there seems to be some instrumental improvisation (especially the violin parts to "If We Are the Body"). Having a body of believers praising God with them also pumps things up on "Who I Am," "Here I Go Again" and the previously unreleased live cover of "Beautiful Savior," three stirring selections that remind us to slow down and truly live for Christ.

One weakness: There isn't a ton of material on either the CD or DVD. With only one major label album in circulation, and including only half of those tracks in either format, there's plenty of room for additional material. It would've made more sense to do this project a couple albums down the road, but even so, Live from Atlanta still provides an in-depth glimpse to a band we're likely to hear about for years.