Concert promoter Steve Burchell hit a homerun on April 5th when he staged a concert at Canada Christian College featuring ZOEgirl, Jump 5, and Kimberly Perry. A couple of hours before the concert was set to begin, the lineup outside had already circled the building and these people all had purchased tickets prior to the event. The balcony had to be opened to accommodate the overflow audience. During the past year, Burchell and Canada Christian College have been responsible for bringing some top level Christian performers to southern Ontario.
The evening opened with Greeneville, Tennessee's Kimberly Perry electrifying the crowd with four solid rock songs. She opened with "Lucky One" a song that resonates with a southern rock flair and lots of passion. "Lucky One" is a tune that Perry co-wrote with Lynn Nichols and Jeremy Bose. The lyrics give you great insight into the heart of Kimberly Perry, "Oh we're the lucky ones because there is no such thing as chance when you are resting in God's hands." When you grasp the meaning of that lyric you begin to understand this incredibly talented and passionate young artist.
Throughout her performance this 20 year old who says her musical style was heavily influenced by Janis Joplin demonstrated the poise and showmanship of a well seasoned rock star. By the time Perry was performing her third song "Ready to Go" there was a sea of fans crushing the front of the stage, lined ten rows deep. "Ready to Go" possesses some powerful guitar riffs. Lyrically it speaks about perseverance and hanging on to your faith when the going gets tough or as Perry likes to say "when it's a dark season."
Her fourth and final song of the set was "Small Town Girl" a blues /rock song that Perry introduces as a tune that reflects who she is. Perry describes Greenville (she's originally from Alabama) as a town she describes as having a one or two screen theatre where the sound doesn't work most of the time.
Perry's supporting cast includes drummer Boone Daughrill and bassist Beau Burtnick. Brad Allen who was on loan for this tour rounded out the band on guitar. The Kimberly Perry Band played back up for ZOEgirl during their performance.
ZOEgirl took the stage next singing many of the songs from their new CD "Room to Breathe" released in March, "About You", 'Dead Serious", "Scream", and "Reason to Live". For the week of April 8th , "About You" was sailing along in the number 12th spot on Radio & Records AC Airplay chart in the US. Overseas "Dead Serious" was in 2nd spot on the NCM Euro charts for the same week.
This is the group most in the audience came out to see and they were not disappointed as Kristin Swinford, Alisa Girard and Chrissy Conway proved once again why five years later and averaging one new CD per year they remain at the top of the charts and are fan favourites.
Performing their signature song "Beautiful Name" from the album "Different Kind of Free" they demonstrated the splendid harmonies that helped propel them to the top of the Christian rock/pop charts early in their careers. ZOEgirl referred to "Beautiful Name" as the essence of their music and what they are all about.
On "You Get Me", also from the "Different Kind of Free" CD, Chrissy Conway was awesome, often demonstrating a rasp in her voice that added just the right element of edginess to the song. Girard bent low towards their young fans at stage front, as she went from one end of the stage to the other extending the microphone to them so they could join in the chorus "I'm okay, yeah".
This was an audience that knew who their favourites were. You could hear teenagers in the crowd repeating the names Chrissy, Kristin and Alisa long before they arrived on stage and long after they completed their hour long set.
During their performance, the trio took turns sharing from their own life experiences about their faith in God and the various ministries that ZOEgirl is involved in.
There is something special about seeing three young women take time to participate in a "Meet and Greet" with some wide eyed fans or to see them spend time signing autographs following the concert. There is also something very special when Kristin Swinford walks right up to you several hours before the concert is to begin, having absolutely no idea who you are, and introduces herself. When you meet ZOEgirl you know you have met three young women who really do care about the people around them and the people they meet.
Writer: Joe Montague