In only its second year, the show exceeded sales expectations, with additional seats opened 360 degrees around the arena due to demand for tickets. Last year’s inaugural event became the largest ticketed Christian concert in Bridgestone Arena’s history. Again this year, all net proceeds benefit Tennessee Kids Belong, which aids foster children and families.
The show began with a video clip of the recently-deceased pastor Billy Graham delivering a sermon during one of his “Billy Graham Crusades” in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1973.
Tomlin, who has sold more than 8 million albums in his 20-plus year career, took time to greet the crowd from what he called the “praise pit” in front of the stage to the “choir loft” seats in the upper balconies.
He launched into “This Is Amazing Grace,” followed by the party-ready “God’s Great Dance Floor,” complete with falling confetti.
“You know when there is confetti on song number two, that this evening is going to be good,” Tomlin quipped.
Truthfully, the evening was more focused on unity and moments of worship than partying.
“We are all united tonight, and there is a power when you are united,” Tomlin said.
Jesus Culture’s commanding vocalist Kim Walker Smith, whose formidable instrument blends an Adele-esque soul with the frayed earthiness of a seasoned rocker on “Love Has A Name.”
Smooth pop-soul vocalist Tauren Wells offered a polished, fresh rendition of his 2017 hit “When We Pray.”
Latin Christian music star Christine D’Clario offered “How Beautiful Your Name Is” in Spanish.
Matt Maher offered his 2008 hit “Your Grace Is Enough,” a song that still sounds surprisingly fresh a decade after it became a hit.
Newcomer Pat Barrett, a co-writer with Tomlin on Tomlin’s hit “Good, Good Father” and the first signing to Tomlin’s new label imprint, also performed.
Meanwhile, Tomlin had plenty of hits from his own catalog to offer, including “Our God Is Greater,” and “Amazing Grace (Our Chains Are Gone).”
The stage lights lowered and the audience members lit up their phones across the arena, bathing the venue in a soft glow as the crowd took over singing Tomlin’s hit “How Great Is Our God.”
It wouldn’t be a Nashville concert without a surprise guest, and Tomlin welcomed country trio Rascal Flatts to the stage. The trio offered “Changed” and “God Bless The Broken Road,” before joining Wells and Tomlin for a rendition of the classic hymn “How Great Thou Art.”
“We are so humbled by all of you who filled Bridgestone Arena with worship and gave to the children of Tennessee. Our hope is that every year this event grows even bigger,” shared Tomlin. “We rejoice and sing because we know that our chains are gone and we come to God with a grateful heart for all he has done.”
The evening ended with Tomlin’s recent mega-hit “Good Good Father.”
Already planning for next year, Tomlin’s Good Friday Nashville 2019 will take place April 19, 2019.
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