STYLE: Hip-Hop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 45964-14484 LABEL: EMI 5099951568429 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 2 EXTRAS: bonus DVD RELEASE DATE: 2008-06-06 RRP: £17.99
Reviewed by Paul Loader
What can I say about Toby Mac that hasn't already been said? Well for one, the Americans don't know how lucky they have it for a start. This is a DVD/CD recording of a HUGE concert in a HUGE concert arena, bigger than most things we would be able to put on in the UK, and it's all Christian. Toby Mac and The Diverse City Band take to the stage in Houston, Texas and blow the joint. This is an artist and a band that really know how to put on a show; my biggest regret is that I wasn't there. Taken from a tour that was even performed in front of the Pope (I wonder what the highly conservative pontiff thought of it), and gaining Toby Mac a Dove Award for performer of the year, the 'Alive & Transported' concert is a joy to behold. The quality of the filming and recording is so good that it had a one night only digital cinema release in the US. Coming packaged as a DVD and CD the concert contains many Toby Mac favourites taken from his various albums. It also has a hip-hop version of my (and everybody else's) dc Talk favourite "Jesus Freak". I tell you it is worth buying this DVD/CD just for that. The thing to bear in mind is that although Toby and the band are known for hip-hop, that isn't all that you get. Tracks like "Gone" and "I'm For You" positively rock, and there is a shortened version of Charlie Peacock's "In The Light" from the 'Jesus Freak' album that is extremely moving. I couldn't pick a favourite track as they are all good and songs like "No Ordinary" managed to achieve the impossible, it got this old rocker singing along to urban hip-hop. Now that's an achievement. The band itself is HUGE. Three extremely talented backing singers/rappers that run through tightly rehearsed choreographed dance routines with Toby and sing their hearts out. Even playing a little brass on "No Ordinary". And the musicians are to die for. Tight and rocky. This is every bit as good as anything the "world" can provide. And yet Toby flavours the concerts with words from Scripture, words of encouragement for the audience and praise for his Heavenly Father leaving us with no doubt as to where his motivation lies. I can think of no greater praise than this, my 19 year old daughter told me that she is swiping this DVD/CD off me as soon as I finish reviewing it. If you are wondering what to buy your kids for their Christmas stocking this year then this is the answer. And if you don't have kids, treat yourself. Then you like me will be amazed at how a 43 year old father of five can look so young and rock so hard.
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