Colorado key missing from Tomlin’s collection


Chris Tomlin’s easy per­son­al­i­ty came through dur­ing his con­cert Fri­day at the Wells Far­go The­ater. Check out his trip to Wahoo’s on 16th Street Mall on his web­site. Pho­tos by Eliza Marie Somers 

Chris Tom­lin wants a key. A key to Col­orado that is.
“You don’t know how bad I want to live here,” Tom­lin told a crowd at Wells Far­go The­ater on Fri­day. “I want to be the offi­cial wor­ship band of Col­orado. May­be I can get a key to the state?”

Tomlin’s enthu­si­asm for the Cen­ten­ni­al State came through in his per­for­ma­ce, start­ing with his roar­ing ren­di­tion of “Sing, Sing, Sing” and end­ing with his encore with open­ing band Israel Houghton and New Breed.

In an inter­view two weeks ago, Tom­lin said he gets his reward from writ­ing praise and wor­ship songs for peo­ple to sing — “Songs that need to be sung,” and from hear­ing peo­ple sing his songs. But as a jour­nal­ist, skep­ti­cism comes with the ter­ri­to­ry espe­cial­ly after spend­ing end­less hours read­ing about cor­po­rate cor­rup­tion and greed and the Ted Hag­gard saga. So I took Tomlin’s com­ment with a lit­tle grain of salt. But after watch­ing him per­form you could see how sin­cere and hum­ble he is. Tom­lin just beamed when he would stop singing to lis­ten to the crowd. His smile lit up the stage. It was as if he couldn’t con­tain him­self as he raced up and down the stage. 

As one fel­low con­cert-goer said, “I think that set a record for audi­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

Tom­lin and Israel Houghton encour­age the audi­ence to sing-along, with giant TVs stream­ing the lyrics across the bot­tom of the screens. You can’t help but par­tic­i­pate, even if you can’t car­ry a note like myself. 

Halfway through his set, Tom­lin spoke about the foun­da­tion he helped start, One Mil­lion Can, and relat­ed to the audi­ence when he was first putting togeth­er the song “Love” he thought he had the next Coca-Cola com­meri­cial. “There is love, Love is all around, Every­one drink a Coke,” he said, chuck­ling. But the song turned into some­thing more when coin­ci­dence brought the Wato­to Children’s Choir to Nashville when Tom­lin was record­ing the song. And by coin­ci­dence the choir had a day off and was able to record the back­ground vocals. And may­be by “coin­ci­dence” One Mil­lion Can now is help­ing to cre­ate sus­tain­able vil­lages in Ugan­da. If you believe in heav­en­ly inter­ven­tion this tru­ly is an exam­ple of that. 

Tom­lin is per­son­able and hum­ble, reveal­ing a dry sense of humor as he made the crowd feel at ease. This is some­one you can sit down with and share a piz­za and a beer even though he is a super­star in his own right — a Gram­my nom­i­nee and Dove Award win­ner. Some­thing I nev­er felt at the many rock shows I’ve attend­ed.

Open­ing act Israel Houghton and New Breed got things start­ed with a soul­ful gospel tune. Their music is a mix of soul, rock, jazz — a fusion of sorts.

Houghton, a Gram­my Award win­ner, also was a com­fort­able pres­ence on stage first by ask­ing the audi­ence if any­one had ever heard of the group. With only a few acknowl­edge­ments, he revealed that he has been around the gospel scene for more than 10 years, and went straight into his song “Friend of God.” A tune that has been cov­ered by numer­ous gospel artists. 

Houghton’s easy per­son­al­i­ty was on dis­play through­out his per­for­mance, first telling the audi­ence that “this is an encoun­ter with the Almighty God. A lot of peo­ple are going through tough times right now, but He knows your needs.” Houghton opened a seri­ous sto­ry of his mother’s redemp­tion with a bit of humor when he said he was “Half-rican Amer­i­can, my moth­er is white and my father is black.” But his teen-age moth­er was kicked out of her father’s house when she became preg­nant with Israel, then his father left his mom when she was eight months preg­nant. She was sin­gle moth­er strung out on drugs. But one day a lady came out of nowhere and told his moth­er that Jesus loved her and that she was not for­got­ten. “She had her altar moment right there on the street cor­ner,” Houghton said. “And i believe that I’m here because of that moment. The pow­er of one.” He then chal­lenged the audi­ence to become that pow­er of one and tak­ing it to a high­er lev­el. Houghton is also tak­ing on that chal­lenge with the release of his solo project, “Pow­er of One,” in March.

With a show that last­ed well past three hours and the bands’ social con­scious­ness, it would be easy for Gov. Bill Rit­ter to pass along a key to the state to both Tom­lin and Houghton.


Chris Tom­lin and Israel Houghton dur­ing their encore.

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