Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Although the CCM mega sellers have released two live worship albums from various tours, this is the first where all songs are directed vertically to God and the first recorded at Eagles Landing First Baptist Church, McDonough, Georgia, where Casting Crowns' frontman and chief songwriter Mark Hall has remained a full-time youth pastor for more than 20 years. Unlike some live projects which come across as stopgap releases while the artist gets to the next studio recording, 'A Live Worship Experience' exudes sincerity, warmth and passion. Also, it avoids many of the cliches of live worship albums by not starting with an all-guns-blazing stadium rock anthem but opening with the hymn "At Calvary" (first recorded on the group's 'Glorious Day: Hymns Of Faith' set). That particular song never registered with me until now but it's a fine composition and indeed, all the new versions from the Casting Crowns canon work as well as the studio versions with "You Are The Only One" (from 2013's 'Thrive') and "Jesus, Friend Of Sinners" (written by Hall with another brilliant songsmith, Matthew West) being particular favourites. The latter's challenging line "break our hearts with what breaks yours" resonated with me. The three covers on this set are all powerfully performed as well, Chris Tomlin's "Good Good Father", David Crowder's "Here's My Heart" and All Sons & Daughters' "Great Are You Lord" all bringing something fresh to the versions tens of thousands of worshippers already know and love. So, as it turns out, this live set maintains the group's highest standards and, who knows, may end up being another Platinum-selling project for the most consistent of worship teams.
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