Christian Music had a big night in Memphis last night! Winter Jam's Instagram bio (@WinterJamTour) describes their tour as "The official Instagram account of music's largest annual tour." Not sure where they get the statistic, but after their Memphis stop, I'd believe it. From top to bottom, the show was packed with star studded Christian music acts.
WinterJam Memphis 2015
The show was open seating and no advance tickets were sold. Everyone pays $10 at the door and had no assigned seat. The doors opened at 5pm, an hour before the official start time. About 5:30 the first band, VERIDIA was on stage to perform while the arena was filling up.
VERIDIA achieved a high-energy, short set of tracks that, based on the amount of Instagram photos posted of them, had a huge impact on the crowd. You can check out their debut EP on iTunes HERE.
About a Mile
The second opening band was About a Mile. The three guy members are brothers; and you can tell based on their chemistry on stage. They effortlessly moved from track to track delivering an intense set. You can get their debut Album on iTunes HERE.
After About a Mile's set, the house lights dropped, bass began pumping and an on-screen countdown began. BLANCA stepped out. This is BLANCA's first tour as a solo artist after her 2013 split with Group 1 Crew. Her set was filled with lots of bass, guitar solos and killer vocals. After her set, there is no doubt in my mind she will be successful solo. You can get her debut EP on iTunes HERE.
The founding WinterJam band was up next. NewSong did a "coffee house" style set on a small stage in the middle of the arena. They were able to achieve a feeling of a small acoustic set in the huge venue. The highlight of the set, however, was when Jen Ledger of Skillet walked out to cover "Oceans" with NewSong. NewSong has some new songs out on iTunes HERE.
Family Force 5
Family Force 5 had the daunting task of performing right after the Jen Ledger/NewSong "Oceans" cover. They rose to the challenge with some incredible creativity. From their outfits, including an LED jacket, to their hair and music, you could tell they were a crowd favorite. The best part of their set was when they threw huge balloons into the stadium for the audience to bounce around. You can check out their music on iTunes HERE.
Building 429 was next on the roster and they filled their set with Christian radio hits. They performed tracks such as "Where I Belong" "We Son't Be Shaken" and even brought BLANCA out for her feature in "Press On". Building 429's latest album release was in 2013, so they are due for a new album, but you can get their catalog on iTunes HERE.
Jeremy Camp is one of those artists that has so many hits he could perform hit after hit for an hour without running out of songs the entire crowd would know. The veteran jumped up on stage and effortlessly engaged the crowd between songs. The audience favorite was "He Knows" to which you could hear the crowd singing throughout the FedEx Forum. You can get Camp's endless catalog on iTunes HERE.
The star-studded lineup continued as Francesca Battistelli took the stage. Another artists with lots of Christian radio hits, she navigated her songs smoothly with lots of crowd interaction. She also had a sense of humor that made me chuckle several times during her set. All of her hits and entire catalog can be found on iTunes HERE.
The final set was taken over by the headliner, Skillet. Skillet is an older band, but their music doesn't show it. Right out of the gate, frontman John Cooper took the band to a level none of the other acts achieved with an intense opener that included pyrotechnics and an incredible guitar solo. Halfway through their set, Skillet sat down on the acoustic stage in the middle of the arena and played a "Memphis" set. Since Cooper is from Memphis, it comes as no surprise they did something special in his hometown. You can get Skillet's music catalog on iTunes HERE.
If you weren't at WinterJam last night, you missed out on an amazing show! Fortunately, this won't be the last chance you have to see it. They'll be back next year with a whole new line up. They have big shoes to fill after last night's performance, but given their track record, I'm sure they'll knock it out of the park!