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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

The Come Together Tour (DVD/VHS)

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Apr
The Come Together Tour (DVD/VHS)
Sounds like … the popular roots rock band performing their Come Together album in concertAt a Glance … superior to, though different from their previous Offerings DVD, this is overall a really well produced concert video that shows Third Day in their element

To fully express my thoughts on the new DVD release from Third Day, I have to confess something—I don't consider their Grammy Award winning Come Together much of a rock album. Which is not to say that it's not an enjoyable album, but it seemed for every rocker like "Get On," there were two pop tracks like "Nothing Compares" and "Show Me Your Glory" to be found. There was a surprising absence of scorching guitar solos, and the overly polished sound lacked the bluesy grit of their self-titled disc or the harder edge of Conspiracy No. 5.

It's very encouraging to hear that Third Day hopes to really let loose on their next studio album, inspired by the blues-rock frenzy of Robert Randolph and The Family Band and the classic rock sounds of The Elms. More presently, their Offerings II: All I Have to Give project demonstrates how exciting their live show has become, and how these five musicians have continued to improve. Yes, it's a worship album, but it does indeed rock thanks to the impressive guitar solos and energetic rhythm, both of which were only hinted at on Come Together.

Third Day's second DVD, The Come Together Tour, offers further proof of what the band's most committed fans have known all along—this band does indeed rock, and more importantly, so does the Come Together material when presented right. Of the video's 13 songs, eight come from Come Together (2/3 of the album). As expected, songs like "Get On" and "40 Days" are delivered with the band's typical southern rock delivery. In the context of a live setting, however, power ballads like "Nothing Compares" and "Show Me Your Glory" take on more anthemic qualities, punctuated by superb solos by lead guitarist Brad Avery and the enthusiasm of the audience.

Three other songs on the DVD were recently featured on Third Day's Offering's II disc. There's the infectious driving rock of Rich Mullins's "Creed," the band's own "Medley" consisting of worship anthems "Your Love Oh Lord" and "Give," and their cover of the City on a Hill classic "God of Wonders" (though not with Michael Tait like the Offerings II disc). It's also great to see that, like Jars of Clay, Third Day has started reworking their older material to keep it fresh. The Come Together Tour includes "Alien" from Conspiracy No. 5, which seems to rock harder now more than ever, as well as their signature song "Consuming Fire," which here starts as an acoustic performance but soon becomes a blazing highlight of the concert experience. While it would have been nice to include even more songs from past albums, anything else would have likely repeated Third Day's Offerings DVD.

The production quality of this concert is as good as any you'll find, regularly confirming that The Come Together Tour was indeed the biggest Third Day tour yet. Though relatively simple, the stage and lighting design is wonderful, often evoking the mood of the songs. The camera work is fast and effective, swooping in with music video quality zooms and pans. "Alien" in particular plays like a live concert music video, with a couple of Matrix-styled effects and the option to change between multiple camera angles on DVD. However, the 90-minute feature presentation inserts video footage between every three songs, and this is a slight annoyance. Most people would rather simply enjoy the concert experience and watch interviews concerning the making of Come Together, the monotony of touring, and the band's heart for Habitat for Humanity at the beginning or end (or as a separate feature on the DVD).

For DVD viewers, the extras are plentiful and fun. Be sure to check out Third Day's commentary during the concert viewing (which, of course, they did over BBQ). You really do get a sense of watching it with the band in the room, and it's fun to get a sense of what's going through their heads while on stage. Much of it is simply a song-by-song commentary, though the discussion about "Consuming Fire" is especially interesting and their honest takes on modern worship are excellent. (And how bizarre of Third Day to mention hair metal band Great White only days before the tragic Rhode Island rock club accident!) Most illuminating is bassist Tai Anderson's fascination with the technical aspects of tour production, to the point of it being a second career. It partially explains why The Come Together Tour looked so good, and listening to his commentary reveals everything from the workings of lighting and inner-ear monitors to the "awful truth" about artists and encores.

The DVD also includes 15 minutes of "Making the DVD," which is educational only to those with an interest in such technical jargon. There's 15 minutes of deleted scenes that mostly focus on Tai, guitarist Mark Lee, and lead singer Mac Powell wisecracking while getting their hair cut. In another 10-minute featurette, Christian artists who have toured with Third Day (such as Michael W. Smith and Paul Colman Trio) offer funny stories and words of appreciation to the band. A glimpse of the tour rehearsal, a trivia game, and a snippet of Mac attempting to incorporate his trumpet skills into the show round out the numerous and frivolous goodies to be found.

The Come Together Tour video is superior to, though different from The Offerings Experience video. It shows five funny and talented musicians who are only now reaching the top of their game, sharing their faith and their dreams in the pursuit of excellence. Now that they've reached the top rung of success in the Christian music industry, it'll be interesting to see what's next.