Vocalist Johnny "Mac" Powell and guitarist Mark Lee met in high school in Powder Springs, Georgia, and became involved in the local band Nuclear Hoedown. As Powell began writing songs that expressed his faith, the duo formed the Christian rock band Third Day in 1991 in Marietta, Georgia. The band's name was a reference to the biblical accounts of Jesus' rising from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion. The band has sold over 10 million albums in the United States, was inducted in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2009, and has received four Grammy Awards and 20 Dove Awards. Third Day's 12th and most recent album, entitled Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship, was released on March 3, 2015. Third Day presently consists of Powell and Lee along with bassist Samuel "Tai" Anderson and drummer David Carr.
Third Day launched its 2015 tour at the Beacon Theatre tonight, and it was a radically different set from when the band first played the venue in September 2013. The set a year and a half ago was a rock set with a few hymns. This tour promotes the band's first worship album in 12 years, and so the full 90-minute set was comprised entirely of worship songs, most of them original and many of them new. Oddly, many of the obvious songs from Third Day's catalogue, like Powell's "Cry Out to Jesus" and the band's stirring remake of the traditional "Blessed Assurance," were not included in the set. Many songs from the new album, including "Soul on Fire," were performed live for the first time, and other songs were brought back after a long absence. Yet while the song list seemed somewhat curious, it was made strong by Powell's brilliant vocals and the backup from extra musicians and vocalists, including a local choir for many of the songs. Whether on raucous barn raisers, like on the cover of Bob Dylan's "Saved," or on mid-tempo, somber compositions, as in "Mountain of God" and "Show Us Your Glory," it became evident why Powell won the 2001 Gospel Music Association award for Male Vocalist of the Year. His uber-masculine, heartfelt singing was intensely compelling. Although on this tour all the songs are worship songs, opening night was still very much a concert rather than a church service, with blazing instruments far outnumbering the sing-alongs and Powell's talks between songs more of an affirmation of faith rather than a sermon. Even on this turn as a worship band, Third Day is still a dynamic rocking band, and possibly the best Christian rock band in history.
Visit Third Day at www.thirdday.com.