Hands Up


The openers had my guard down—taking the stage, David Crowder sported a keytar, a far-reaching chin-beard, and a smile—so Third Day frontman Mac Powell’s “family story” later on was more of a gut-punch than it should’ve been: finding his six-year-old daughter crying in bed, asking why, and hearing her respond, “Papa, I just asked Jesus to come into my heart.” He wondered if she knew what her gesture meant; she replied, “Angels are having a party in heaven.”

Below stretched a sea of orange-clad Gomers (Third Day fans; orange so you can spot ’em), hands in air, palms cupped, looking to hug their God. Variations included one hand up, other on heart, and two intertwined hands up, but chastely.

Third Day, arena rock for the worship music set (they entered to U2, natch), hoped to save us by maxing out levels: “People say the international language is love,” said Powell, midway through. “I believe the international language is pain.” Certainly his voice—post-Vedder, piously Stapp, modulated by a baseball player’s goatee—played up the agony, as did the swept-chord-by-swept-chord guitars and shaggy-dog keyboards upon which he rode, bareback.

On a night bassist Tai Anderson called attendance-wise the smallest of their tour, the exodus vibe was palpable. Crowder had fit in, with his stylish jeans and Nintendo-inflected faith, but Third Day were tripped up even by requests for their own songs. Powell forgot the lyrics to a Robert Palmer–reminiscent old one, vowing instead to make ’em up; but how hard are the words to “Addicted to Love?”

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