Sunday, December 5, 2010
By Robert Hasan James
Photography by Joe Henderson
Radio One’s Praise 103.9 in conjunction with Yesha Ministries put on one of the hottest concerts of the year at Temple University’s Liacouras Center this past Sunday. The concert was to commemorate the end of the 5th Anniversary year of Praise 103.9 and they did it Big! The event was hosted by comedian, Marcus D. Wiley and included the hottest gospel stars of today. Earnest Pugh started off the night with his smash radio hits “The Great I Am’ and “Rain On Us” and JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise continued the night with their biggest hits “Resting On His Promise” and “Lord You’re Mighty”. Detroit native, J Moss, also rocked the crowd and apparently has a large female following in Philly, as many of the women in the audience were screaming non- stop while he ministered. New comers, Forever Jones,who has the #1 Gospel Song at radio and was the only females included in the show, were definitely crowd favorites as the crowd stood up on their feet for the entire time and sang their hit song, “He Wants It All” verbatim.
The man with a voice as “Smooth as Butter”, Brian Courtney Wilson effortlessly breezed through songs from his current album, “Just Love, Deluxe Version”. Songs like “Even Me” and “Fall Fresh” were enough to keep the crowd in worship mode but once he started to sing the Stan Jones penned hit “All I Need”, it was clear that this brother is indeed the “Balladeer of Gospel”. Another crowd pleaser and chart topper, James Fortune, definitely did not have enough time to go through his catalog full of hits but he made the best of it with four of his biggest- “I Already Won”, “I Wouldn’t Know You”, “I Believe” and his breakout hit, “I Trust You.” One of the surprises of the night came when Tye Tribbett entered the stage. Although Philly is home for Tye, it was unclear whether or not the crowd would accept the new material from his latest album, “Fresh” or his new group. But the crowd gave the Camden, N.J. native a very warm reception and that was all Tye needed to let loose! He started things off with “You Are The Most High”, a beautiful Praise and Worship song from “Fresh” and flowed right in to “Take Over”. Tye and Company even threw in their rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy”. At this point, half of the crowd was up on their feet but once they started to sing the songs that the crowd was more familiar with like “Bless The Lord”, “Everything to Me” and “Victory”, it was evident that the people still love Tye Tribbett. As the night was drawing to a close, Platinum Selling, Fred Hammond managed to do a medley of his hits in what seemed to be about twenty minutes. “Awesome God”, “He Lives”, “No Weapon”, “Bread of Heaven”, “Jesus Be A Fence”, “Are You Ready”, “When The Spirit of The Lord”, “They That Wait”, “Blessed”, “Glory to Glory” and “This is the Day”. The crowd was mesmerized at this point and clearly the headliner for the night, Two Time Grammy Winner, Hezekiah Walker, was about to take everyone just a little bit higher! As the choir of almost 100 singers entered the stage, the crowd knew they was about to be in for a treat and as Hez entered the stage and began singing the infectious “Power Belongs to God”, the crowd was up on their feet. However, about ten minutes in to their set, a man came on the stage and told them that was their last song. Hez looked very disappointed and told the crowd “We waited all night to sing and they are telling us we have to leave the stage”. but in pure Hez fashion, he always manages to give the people what they want and prompted the band to play “Souled Out”. The crowd went crazy and through it all, Jesus was glorified. At the end of the day, after 25 years in the game, Hezekiah Walker has nothing to prove. I guess it doesn’t always pay to be the headliner…