I had the great privilege to catch Casting Crowns performance at AtlantaFest 2011 on Friday, June 17. The multi-platinum artists are a staple of modern Christian radio, known for their hits such as “Praise You In This Storm” and their newest single “Glorious Day”.
As the headliners for the day, Casting Crowns took the stage following such notable acts as Tenth Avenue North and Disciple, as well as an afternoon thunderstorm that threatened to halt the show and left festival goers drenched. As the band opened with the riffy title track to their latest album, “Until the Whole World Hears“, the crowd that had been mellow up to that point came alive. By the end of the song, the whole festival was singing along with the closing chant of the song, and was primed for the rest of the set.
Casting Crowns delivered energetic, faithful versions of the entire catalog of their hits. The crowd sang along word for word with such standout hits as “Who Am I?”, “If We Are The Body”, and “Voice of Truth” (featured in the film Facing the Giants). The energy picked up for more upbeat tracks like “Lifesong” and the emotions of the crowd were plucked with songs like “If We Ever Needed You” and “Slow Fade”.
Beyond the hits, Casting Crowns connected with the crowd in a much deeper way than just music. Violinist Melodee DeVevo played her first show with the band, after taking months away to have surgery to combat psoriatic arthritis. Her recovery seemed complete, as she excelled in all songs, particularly during a blazing solo. Lead singer Mark Hall took a moment to share with the crowd his struggle with ADD and dyslexia. He noted that the condition is so bad that he uses teleprompters to help him remember the lyrics to the songs he wrote. Mark Hall gave all glory to God for giving him the strength for his musical ministry, despite his learning disabilities.
One of the most striking aspects of the show was just how real Casting Crowns were. There was no self-promotion, no hang-ups on looking the part, no pride – just humble servants of God sharing their worship with the crowd, to the glory of God. In the end, it was their humility and their focus on Jesus that set Casting Crowns apart.