CONCERT REVIEW: TobyMac a rockin' time at Toyota Center in Kennewick

Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 20, 2014 



TobyMac's Hit Deeps Tour blended different styles of music and diverse performers in a true collaboration.

Toby McKeehan, aka TobyMac, may have been the headliner, but he shared the stage with other performers who inspired just as much cheering, including Mandisa, Matt Maher and Brandon Heath.

The Christian artists truly interacted, jumping in on each other's songs and smoothly transitioning to the next part of the concert.

Even though TobyMac didn't dominate the stage until two hours into the concert Feb. 19 at Kennewick's Toyota Center, he still appeared earlier in the performance, and brought back artists including Maher, Mandisa and Capital Kings into the latter part of the show.

The musicians brought to the stage a unique mix of pop, hip-hop, country, jazz and blues with a shared Christian message. Especially memorable was TobyMac's rendition of Funky Jesus Music where DiverseCity band members brought out a trombone and trumpets to liven it up. Although hip-hop and rap aren't some people's thing, TobyMac's performance was something to appreciate.

DiverseCity, TobyMac's band, rocked out with all of the performing artists.

Much of the concert was a sing-along for many, which added to, rather than detracting from, the performance on stage. That spoke to at least one of the goals TobyMac said he had with the tour -- bringing them songs that they had heard on the radio.

Even those who didn't know the songs could sing along to "la la la" and jump in on some of the chorus.

Early in the show, Ryan Stevenson brought the concert closer to some by singing Holding Nothing Back on a small secondary stage toward the back of the floor. TobyMac later appeared on that stage for a few songs and a duet with Maher, who sang while TobyMac rapped during In the Light to a beatbox provided by Byron "Mr. Talkbox" Chambers of DiverseCity.

The music seemed to vibrate through the bleachers and through the audience. The musicians had the audience dancing in place, jumping, clapping and holding hands to the sky.

Many held smartphones up to catch videos and photos of the performance.

Special effects were well done, although they went a little overboard on the smoke, which was cannoned up into the air to then fall on the audience closest to the stage.

A screen behind the main stage was used to project images of the performers, but also to augment the performances. For example, when Matthew West sang Hello My Name is, the image of a name tag floated behind him, with the names he sang including "regret," "defeat" and "child of the one true King" appearing on it in time with the lyrics.

All of the performers, especially band members of DiverseCity, easily pulled the audience into their show, interacting with the packed crowd and making it look and feel like a party on and off stage.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512;

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