I got to catch the 10th promoted by IMC Concerts in Sacramento, which is about 100 miles from my home. But hey, with these three high-powered groups, I convinced myself that it had to be a good concert.
First, let me preface everything I’m about to say with this statement: I’ve never been a “Jubilee” fan.
Really!!! Don’t get me wrong. I was one of the two original Greater Vision fans out here in CA that
helped convince them and a promoter get GV to come out to the west coast. Legacy Five has been my
wife’s favorite group since they began, and I love their music in addition to being good friends with the
band. And I’ve been a huge fan of the Booth Brothers ever since I heard them sing “This Love is Mine”,
and that love for their music hasn’t ever diminished. That said, the Jubilee CDs have never been my cup
of tea. The CDs I have and the concerts I saw were good, but for me were just not up to the level of each
group’s individual efforts in the studio or on stage. Yes, I’m a pretty critical guy when it comes to music, but that’s who I am and always will be.
I say all this above to point out that I went into the concert very skeptical of what I would get. I was
literally thinking as I found my seat before the concert, “Ok, Gerald, let’s see what you’ve got.”
And Gerald and the gang “knocked it out of the park”! The Christmas “Magic” really made this concert a
special event – one that’s now probably in my Top 10, maybe Top 5 concerts of all time. And I’ve been to
A LOT of concerts.
They started out singing altogether with a Carol Medley, and it was followed by some new Christmas
music. Hearing this introduction of music really got me in the mood for the rest of the concert, a
concert of classic Christmas songs as well as new Christmas songs. Here are some of the highlights of the
Our Twelve Day of Christmas: Gerald introduced this song right by saying that most people can’t stand
the song because it’s so long and monotonous. So they re-wrote it! And believe me, this song was the
most fun of the night. They really sold the new lyrics, and the accompanying screen graphics made the
song really go over (hat tip to Ben Wolfe).
Carol of the Bells: This was performed acappella and was THE highlight of the night. If all you do is pay for your ticket, sit down for this song, and then walk out, you got your money’s worth. The arrangement was just amazing, and by the time they hit the end, it was a feeling of euphoria all over the building. Just amazing. It was that moment you go to a concert to see/hear, and I’ll never forget it.
Christmas Jubilee, as they said from stage, on Sunday December 8th
Oh Holy Night: Here’s where I expected Gerald to take it. Instead, they went with the Legacy 5
arrangement of this song (my personal favorite arrangement). It started with Trey Ivey playing on the
piano, then Legacy 5 singing the 2nd right before intermission. Another “moment”. It’s rare to get two of these in a concert, much less the first half.
White Christmas: This is usually a great song on its own. But it’s also a time when Scott Howard
introduces the audience to his Redneck Snowblower. All I can say is that I’ve never laughed that hard in
the middle of any Christmas song. And my 6 year old son will probably never stop talking about it. Some
people say they’re “gonna make it rain”. Well, Howie can now say he’s “gonna make it snow.”
Celebrating Christmas: Ronnie Booth did his Elvis thing to this old Carmen song, and he did it perfectly.
But what really made it great was the “Sweet Inspirations” backing him up. Michael, Rodney, and Howie – nuff said.
Finale: This wasn’t one of those bring the house down finales. They took the last cut from the Cathedrals
A’Capella Christmas album in the 1980s and sang that as a benediction, if you will. It was beautiful and
completely preserved the “Magic” and overall precious feeling of the Christmas concert.
There were other highlights, such as Rodney’s “special instrument”, Michael Booth’s crazy antics as well
as his down-to-earth message to the audience, and Gus Gaches and Chris Allman doing incredible on
their solo songs. I really liked when Trey did his “Classical Christmas” song, where he takes a Christmas
carol and mixes it with a “Sonata” (you may have seen something similar in a Legacy5 concert). I really
enjoyed how the Jubilee gang responded in very comical manner. Gerald and Howie’s back-and-forth
was hilarious during and after Trey’s song. I can’t describe it – you just have to see it to appreciate it.After three hours of incredible music, I could say that my cup was overflowing. The guys didn’t need to come off the stage and spend an hour meeting with the folks after the last song – the folks already loved them by the time we said Amen. But they stuck around anyway talking to countless people, and that’s
one of the reasons I love this music so much. You won’t see Demi Lavato or Tim McGraw doing anything
like that. I love the “family” feeling of Southern Gospel Music.
Like I said above, this is one of my all-time favorite concerts. If you’re on the fence about checking this event out, stop wrestling with the decision. GO! And if you’re not interested at all and just happen to read this, GO! If you’re fan of Southern Gospel music, Christmas music, or music, GO! Don’t make a
mistake of missing this event. Here’s hoping they do it again next year!