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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Live from Austin Music Hall

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Dec
Live from Austin Music Hall
Sounds like … congregational-friendly modern worship with some interesting musical embellishments, reminiscent of Delirious and Michael W. Smith.At a glance … Tomlin caps off his biggest year yet on a high note with the diverse musical stylings of Live From Austin Music Hall.Track Listing Indescribable Forever Kindness Unchanging On Our Side This Is Our God How Great Is Our God Famous One

Philosophically speaking, it might be hard to define what it means to be a "successful" worship leader. But there's no doubt that 2005 has been a great year for Chris Tomlin. With his first No. 1 radio hits "Indescribable" and "Holy is the Lord," Tomlin also won his first Dove Award.

And with Live From Austin Music Hall, Tomlin is clearly in his element as he leads worship for more than 5,800 fans in his home state. Starting with piano on "Indescribable," Tomlin establishes the intimate feel that permeates the evening. Yet before the simplicity could grow stale, the song segues into a bombastic, guitar-fueled chorus that would make Coldplay a little envious.

Showing a knack for reinvention, Tomlin gives the familiar strains of "Forever" a welcome makeover with a few electronic touches, while "Kindness" and "Unchanging" get more of a no-frills acoustic treatment, rightfully giving the lyrics the spotlight. And a live CD wouldn't be complete without a guest appearance, right? Enter fellow Texan David Crowder, who makes a cameo on "This Is Our God," a highlight with a chorus catchy enough to take residence in your cranium for days.

The album ends with the one-two punch of "How Great is Our God" and "Famous One," two soaring anthems that keep listeners wanting more. It's a wise move, too, because it can't help but make one wonder what's next in 2006. Really, the only hitch is that the disc lacks the energy of a concert experience. From beginning to end, the crowd's response doesn't vary much, and Tomlin's vocals sound almost a little too pristine from post-production to be truly live. But those are very minor quibbles in what's ultimately a fine display of the emerging worship leader's talent.

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