Oct 6, 2009

Follow You Tour

by Amanda Sullivan

Melodic beats were expelled from the speakers, as fans flocked to the front of the stage to cheer on Christian recording artists Leeland, Brandon Heath and Francesca Battistelli on Oct. 3 for the “Follow You Tour.”

The musicians opened the concert with all three bands represented on stage in the Vines Center, singing various worship tunes such as “How Great Thou Art.” The artists used the familiar songs to get the audience involved.

“This is the part where everyone (in the band) warms up their vocal chords,” Leeland Lead Singer Leeland Mooring said. “It’s also for the non-singers, so join in.”

Heath and Leeland exited the stage after the opening set, leaving Battistelli to begin her segment.

“I’m especially glad to be at Liberty because I just married a Liberty alumnus five weeks ago,” Battistelli said.

Battistelli performed several songs off her latest album “My Paper Heart,” including “I’m Letting Go” and “It’s Your Life.” She also revealed to her fans her dramatic side, which stemmed from contracting a cold during the tour.

“It’s easy to think when you are not feeling well that the world is ending,” she said.

But Battistelli offered fans more than a taste for the dramatic as she addressed the idea of people feeling unworthy, unloved and unwanted. She shared with the audience that even she is imperfect, but is still able to be herself, introducing her hit single “Free to be Me.”

“How many of you have rips in your jeans?” Battistelli said, referencing the lyrics of her song.

The song transitioned into a melody sung by Leeland as Battistelli traded stage privileges with the band.

The four-man, Grammy-nominated band introduced their act and themselves by telling the audience where they got their start.

“We are just a bunch of guys from Baytown, Texas,” Leeland said.
Leeland used that moment to transition into the next song, “Count Me In.”

“You guys only have three words in this next song – ‘count me in,’”
Leeland said.

After the band played the two songs, Leeland band member Jack Mooring leveled with the audience, sharing his favorite part of being on tour.

“It’s good to be here,” Jack said. “You get to talk to people, and you realize that life is not walking though the daisies.”

The band proceeded to play a few more songs, which included the more upbeat “Lift Your Eyes” followed by the slower ballad “Yes You Have,” transitioning into a more worship-centered tone and allowing for Heath to claim the stage.

Heath opened his set with a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s song “The Rising.”

He followed his Springsteen cover with a song that had special meaning to him. The song “Trust You” is about the inner struggles that people deal concerning love and trust.

“There comes a point when you break,” Heath said. “This song is about that. It’s about where I’ve been, and where I am going.”

After the song, he taught the Northerners present how to make sweet tea correctly, as he had just come from playing a show in the Northeast.

“You need eight cups of sugar to one tea bag,” He said. “You should take that (recipe) back with you to the northeast and the northwest. They won’t know what hit ‘em.”

The sweet tea recipe segued into Heath’s newest single “Wait and See,” in which he proudly claims his Tennessee roots. He related to the song to his humble beginnings from his small town and his dreams for the concert.

“I sure am thankful that I get to do what I love,” Heath said. “It’s been a big surprise to see how welcoming people are when you are honest with them. We want you to leave tonight knowing you are loved.”

Heath went on to expound upon the concept of love and hope, setting up the popular song “Give Me
Your Eyes.”

“Take it back to those who don’t even know they are human anymore — give them hope,” Heath said.

Heath’s “Give Me Your Eyes” set the stage for the bands to share with the audience about an organization called Food for the Hungry (FH). The organization is committed to “… walk with churches, leaders and families in overcoming all forms of human poverty by living in healthy relationship with God and his creation,” according to FH.org.

“Poverty is a worldview — an attack from the enemy to stop people from achieving their God-given potential,” Jack said.
Heath and the band Leeland travelled to Bangledesh during the summer to help support FH. During the team’s visit, the members were given the opportunity meet the children they sponsor with FH.

“I’m kind of awkward with kids sometimes, so it was a little
weird,” Jack said.

The bands encouraged audience members to consider supporting the FH and its recipients. The bands continued on the night’s overall theme of unconditional love as they united to sing the final song called “Holy Spirit Have Your Way, ” which was originally recorded by Leeland.

“You need to know that God knows your name,” Leeland said. “He’s heard every prayer and caught every fear. His love is radical. It’s eternal.”

Leeland ended the show with a final word to the audience.
“You came. You saw. Now go change the world,” Leeland said.

Contact Amanda Sullivan at amsullivan3@liberty.edu.



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