Danny Gokey on the TobyMac Deep Hits Tour in Portland, OR
Well, first of all, I managed to score seats in the second row, thanks to the diligence of Jan and Danny Gokey News! The site let me know exactly when the tickets went on sale. I’m kinda of a Luddite, though, and I scramble to complete the transaction before the clock runs out. I swear I clicked to get the prepaid parking, but it didn’t go through. So that led to a saga. I’d had a rough week at work the previous week, so when February 17th dawned, I was tired and cranky. And yes, the parking situation turned out to be the nightmare that I feared. But on to more interesting things . . .
Going through the security line, I wished I had brought my good camera. The security person barely looked at my camera. We did have to go through metal detectors. It’s sad but that’s the world we live in. I’d rather everyone be safe. I also got wanded, although I’m not sure why.
As I think Jan noted previously, the setup, aside from the main stage, involved a strip of stage that extended into the audience area on the floor, about to the middle of the arena. I was sitting on the floor, row two, about the middle of the section that was left of center. I really did appreciate that they left sufficient space between rows so that no one felt crowded. It made up a little for the fact that the rows on the floor aren’t elevated, but for someone as vertically-challenged as I am, it wasn’t much help. Toby wasn’t kidding about the “hits,” because I recognized most of the songs — even songs by Finding Favour and Ryan Stevenson, with whom I am not that familiar. Aaron Cole kicked things off on the strip stage mid-venue. And (I hope I’m not mixing this up) Finding Favour was next on the main stage, then Ryan Stevenson appeared on the strip stage. (I do remember Ryan singing “Gospel” on the strip stage. Interesting factoid: Ryan is originally from Oregon. He’s also a former paramedic.)
Next up was Mandisa. I can’t say enough good things about this warm, engaging woman. She has a real charisma and presence about her. And she sure knows how to dance up a storm! It’s very clear that she means everything she sings. Highlights were her hit “Overcomer,” and, for me personally, “Bleed the Same,” a song that really strikes an emotional chord with me.
Then D A N N Y! I think Danny sang (in no particular order) “Hope in Front of Me,” “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,” “Rise,” “If You Ain’t in It,” “Masterpiece,” “The Comeback,” “What Love Can Do,” and “Symptoms.” The opening acts that preceded Danny sang great songs and were good vocally, but what I noticed, with the exception of Mandisa, is that they lack (IMHO) that something extra, that je ne sais pas. Danny and Mandisa are just in a league of their own vocally. Mandisa really knows how to work the stage, and so does Danny. Beyond that, there is something very compelling about Danny’s vocal performances. He belts with such amazing power! It’s just riveting. The other thing is that Danny rarely if ever sings the same song the same way twice; he often changes his musical phrasing and sometimes other aspects of the song as well. That is why it is possible to attend multiple Danny concerts and hear him sing the same songs, without any worry about becoming blasé or bored.
TobyMac is the whole package. He has great songs, sings well, has a trademark look, can dance and do all kinds of stage antics, and draws people in with his presence and message. It was clear that many people were there primarily for TobyMac. It was impossible to get good pictures or video. Although the crowd had been on its feet pretty much from the getgo, by the time Toby Mac took the stage, there was an extra electric energy running throughout the audience. The one thing Toby said that resonated most with me was mentioning his band, Diverse City, and then noting that the entire lineup on the Deeps Hits tour was a very diverse group of singers and musicians. I can’t recall exactly what he said or how he said it, but I could tell that I was not the only person in the audience moved by his words. THIS is what it’s all about. This is America at its very best.
Some parting comments. Attached to this recap are one photo of Danny and my videos. None are stellar. I chose to bring my old camera rather than run the risk of having a problem with security, although I deeply wish I were not such a rule-follower. My new camera is small and looks very much like a point-and-shoot, but takes better quality video and, perhaps more importantly, better quality audio. In any event, two of the videos are decent: “If You Ain’t in It” and “Symptoms.” The third, “Masterpiece,” has decent audio, although the video is very poor. That is the song, though, when the audience spontaneously began waving the lights from their phones. Danny was visibly moved.
I tried to pan the camera into the audience to show the lights, but I did a very poor job. I moved the camera too fast so that everything is blurred. Finally, there is a video snippet of the end of the show. You can’t really see or hear anything, lol, but you’ll still get a sense of what is was like being at the concert. There was gold confetti in the air! You can (barely) hear Toby thanking the audience and the audience clapping and cheering in response. The End.
Here is a great view of the crowd reaction to Masterpiece that I found on twitter:
For more videos and coverage of the Hits Deep Tour, please check out these posts: