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[Gig Review] The Newsboys @ Oregon State Fair in Salem, OR, USA - August 27, 2014

F Horn of Valere

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Last night, I got to see my second-favorite band from the last 20 years: The Newsboys! They came to the Oregon State Fair in the fairgrounds amphitheater in Salem, Oregon, and my wife won tickets on a radio station, so we had reserved seating, in the front row of our section, maybe 50 feet from the stage. 


The concert started at 6:45 with a more opener, Ryan Stevenson, a (semi) local singer/songwriter. He is not well-known, but he has written a couple songs for former dc Talk star TobyMac, which really got me excited as dc Talk is my favorite band even though they broke up several years ago. He sounded pretty good, and from the crowd, it was obvious he had a decent local following, even though he currently lives a good 4-5 hours away from the venue.


At 7:15, the fun started when the Newsboys came out! This was my first time seeing them with Michael Tait in their lead singer role. Another former dc Talk member, Tait joined as the lead singer when their old lead left to go solo, so while I had seen the Newsboys before, it essentially was a mashup between Newsboys and dc Talk since the lead singer when from having a New Zealand accent to showing off Tait's Southern Gospel flair-- replacing staccato for soul. Tait's stage presence was very energetic and "hipster," and he made full use of every inch of the stage, and had fun poking fun at his best friend, the drummer.


While my wife was there to see the Newsboys, I was there to see Michael Tait, because dc Talk is my Beatles-- I love the band to death and wish they never had broken up, and I worry there will never be a reunion tour-- so seeing Michael Tait is kind of like a Beatles fan going to his first Paul McCartney concert, 5 years after their breakup. I was not disappointed. He threw several hints out there, referencing dc Talk song titles throughout his on-stage dialogue. Finally, towards the end of the show, my dream came true when the Newsboys started playing dc Talk's biggest hit, Jesus Freak. Ryan Stevenson came back on stage and sung the rap portion of the song that is usually sung by TobyMac (which he did well--fitting since he writes for him). While it was not quite the same (with Ryan, it was kind of like 1.5 out of the 3 members), it was enough to get me pumped up about it.


Overall, it was a very fun concert. It was a little short since there was only one small opening act, but it was also a concert at a fair, not a huge concert hall, so I can't complain. It was also quite an A-list band for a fair venue that usually features acts that well beyond their prime. (While Newsboys is an older Christian band, with its revamping by adding Tait, it rose back to the top of its genre.)


Rating of the Newsboys: 8/10 (I loved it, but I wish they had done a few more songs. Only getting an 8 might be influenced by the fact that with a new lead singer, they couldn't do my favorite Newsboys songs.)

Rating of the Venue: 6/10 (It was an outdoor amphitheater, and while completely crowded (the event staff was really surprised), the sun was in our eyes until halfway through the opening act, and since it was a smaller venue, no options that weren't right under the too-loud speakers. On the positive side, it also meant there was not a bad seat and everyone was pretty close to the stage, and since it was at the fair, it was a great outdoor family atmosphere.)

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i'll have to check the Newsboys a bit, don't really know their music that well. Anything you could recommend a Newsboy-n00b that i HAVE to listen to?

I know the kind of venue... small, too loud, but all in all not too bad. Played on those quite a bit myself :wink:

Edited by Thane Vakarian
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Well, it kind of depends. With having a new lead singer, and considering their evolution as a band from Christian pop, to Christian worship, to a Christian pop/worship hybrid thanks to the dc talk infusion, here is a decent list:


Old Newsboys (pop):

- Shine

- Entertaining Angels

- Breakfast

- Take Me To Your Leader



- Adore


New Newsboys:

- God's Not Dead is probably most iconic lately.

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  • 3 months later...

Love the Newsboys!  I rather miss Peter Furler's distinctive voice but Michael Tait's is amazing, as well.


I didn't listen to this genre when DC Talk was in existence but I have heard of them and I remember the first time I heard Jesus Freak a few years ago. 


We obviously need to talk music, Horn; I have a feeling we will get along famously wrt music!

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