Reviewed by Josh Dipple
On 6th August 2011, Australian worship band/force of nature Hillsong United, led by worship leaders Matt Crocker, Jonathon Douglass, Joel Houston, Hayley Law and Jill McCloghry, played a two-hour set to a sell-out crowd at the 20,000 capacity American Airlines Arena in Miami, touring their most recent album, 'Aftermath'. This is the event in its gritty entirety, spanning two discs and over two hours. A common criticism that gets leveled at United is that they favour a kind of "football chant worship", though when the band kicks off with "Go", it becomes clear that they do not see this as anything to be ashamed of, integrating vocal cries that would more commonly be found at sporting events in Europe than a worship event on Florida coast. This trend continues through songs from the latest album, as well as a fair hearing of what I hesitate to call "the hits", though it's hard to avoid the phrase when you hear the delight of the crowd when songs like "Mighty To Save" and "Hosanna" are played with formidable proficiency by all involved. That isn't to say that the newer songs aren't well received, songs like "Bones", which fuses acoustic and electronic styles in a way that artists like Ellie Goulding champion, show that this band is far from being simply a nostalgia act, they continue to progress.
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Having led worship in churches, stadiums and open fields around the world, UNITED's Live In Miami is the first live album from the band in four years and features 22-tracks all captured during the band's sold out worship night in Miami. In 2011, best-selling modern worship band Hillsong UNITED brought a new and fresh approach to tours, visuals, songs and multimedia to the U.S. for the widely successful 'Aftermath' Tour. The tour logged sold out worship nights in venues across the country - from New York to Los Angeles (where the band became the first Christian band to sell out Staples Center) and back east to Miami where the CD and DVD were recorded.
In studio and out of studio, on tour or home at Hillsong Church, UNITED is committed to sharing songs that speak truth, create a unique sound, connects with churches, individuals and ultimately connects people everywhere with God. Born out of the Youth Movement of Australia's Hillsong Church, UNITED is fronted by worship leaders Joel Houston, Jad Gillies, Jonathon "JD" Douglass and backed by an evolving collaboration of pastors, worship leaders, musicians and songwriters - all intentional about giving voice to a generation passionate about God.