Review: Tobymac, Bill George Arena, Siloam Springs, AR

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Photo and Story by Scott Smith

Driving guitars, funky bass notes and intoxicating melodies runneth over during Tobymac’s sold-out concert on Oct. 5 in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
Commanding the stage inside John Brown University’s Bill George Arena, Tobymac and his co-ed, multi-racial band floorboarded their way through a hit-filled, energetic set list. Tracks from Tobymac’s new “Eye On It” album, which recently debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, and songs from his prolific back catalog blasted from the stage stacks throughout the 90-minute set.

A burning encore reading of “Jesus Freak,” the career-defining song from Tobymac’s former band, DC Talk, also radiated from the stage passionately to please the crowd of all ages.tobymac-photo-by-scott-smith

Dressed in a gray stocking cap, white shirt, yellow tie, black vest and dark jeans, Tobymac launched his way through the soaring “City on Our Knees,” the stomping “Boomin'” and the peppy “Showstopper,” and for “Gone,” Tobymac prefaced the radio hit by telling female audience members to never tolerate disrespect or abuse from a partner — or anyone else.

“Ladies, if that guy disrespects you and hurts you, kick him to the curb,” he said as the crowd cheered. “And if you’re married, well, kick him to the curb for a few hours, and then you let him back in the house. But don’t let him disrespect you again. If he does, kick him to the curb.”

The charismatic “Funky Jesus Music” and the hopeful, four-minute pep talk that is “Get Back Up” also won a sustained, collective thumbs up from the audience, with the new single “Me Without You” gaining even more grit that the terrific, original studio version. The evening’s energy level and sound quality never dipped — Tobymac had incredible sound, a remarkable feat being that the venue was a basketball arena — and “Steal My Show” and “Lose My Soul” wrestled each other for the concert’s greatest, most-meaningful moment.

Never one to back down artistically, Tobymac also is bold about his faith, and he frequently offered encouraging words to inspire audience members grappling with debt, job stress, school problems, loneliness, illness, the death of a loved one, a friendship betrayal and other issues. Opening acts Jamie Grace and Chris August also provided positive support, coating their delivery with infectious singing, melodies and guitar playing to give temporary, much-needed comfort from the world’s on-going, 9-to-5 grind.

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