Trentham Gardens, Friday 18th July, Saturday 19th July 2008 event review by Tony Cummings
Now in its second year (last year it was called Passion), Adoration brought a truly top quality programme of Christian music to Stoke-on-Trent and in the process delighted the throng (just under 2,000) who attended the two day event. Relocating the event to Trentham Gardens, with the mainstage in a picturesque lakeside setting, was an inspired idea and though the intermittent showers over both days of Adoration kept some people away, the crowd who came thoroughly enjoyed the whole event. A young lady who travelled from Derby told me that "it was one of the best events I've ever been to and on Friday Bluetree, Johnny Parks and the London Community Gospel Choir were fantastic and each showed us different aspects of contemporary worship." Also delighting the Friday night throng were the choir made up of 200 Stoke school children with many a proud parent peering from under their brollies to urge on their tuneful children.
But if Friday was good, Saturday was outstanding. A smaller Fringe stage close to the Resources Tent offered a diverse bag of musical delights with the worship music of Matt Giles, the full throttle rock of Myspoon, the urban gospel of Freddie Kofi & BritGos and the funky pop of Philippa Hanna each gaining applause from the still gathering crowd. By the time the mainstage programme kicked off at 6.00pm the audience were ready for a memorable evening. They weren't let down. Thebandwithnoname have become firm favourites on the UK Christian counterculture and with their charismatic frontman Chip K doing a fair imitation of a perpetual motion machine they danced, rapped and sang with their breakbeat-cum-heavy rock recasting of "Amazing Grace" having one section of the crowd dancing like lunatics. Bradford rock worship band RPM followed with a tuneful set of worship songs and at 7.15pm the "tweenies" in the audience had their turn when Manchester girl foursome TBC put on an all dancing, all singing show ranging from powerhouse R&B to the lovely devotional ballad "Beautiful". Immediate after their set a throng of young girls gathered around the Innervation stand in the Resources Tent to buy T-shirts and meet their favourites.
At 8.00pm Yfriday took the stage and with a dazzling light show and words to their songs projected on the giant screens, sang many of the songs from their recently released live album 'The Universal Broadcast'. Ken Riley and his fellow musicians (plus a guesting rock luminary drummer) showed again their passion to worship God with a powerful set with an impromptu prayer for healing a particular spiritual high point. And then came the closing act - and what an act it was. Jars Of Clay have come a long, long way since their formation in the early '90s in Franklin, Tennessee not least selling over five million albums. But they've rarely played Britain and told the crowd it's been six years since they last gigged in the UK. Their set was truly exceptional. In the past they've been criticised for a static stage act but there was nothing static about their set tonight with lead singer Dan Haseltine dancing like a dervish to the opening rock numbers. And when the band brought the tempo down the expressiveness of Dan's poignant voice clearly gripped the crowd. Dan picking up a melodica to play was a nice surprise and though their classic first hit "Flood" suffered from being in an oddly low key, other songs from albums old and new were each greeted with cheers of enthusiasm. The set reached a particular climax with the solid riffing of "Dead Man". This was a band at the top of their game. They continued with an extended encore. Most who moved away through the night at the close were chattering with excitement. They'd just witnessed a world class set from a world class band. Roll on Adoration '09.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.