Written by Ryan Hartwig
Toby Mac, one of the most famous and influential Christian recording artists of our time, brought his Hits Deep tour to the Target Center on Saturday.
The evening started with the tour giving a $2,000 donation to the Twin Cities Salvation Army. Then southern Indiana worship leader Michael Cochren of Cochren & Co kicked off the music with a solo piano jam to the capacity crowd.
We Are Messengers followed Cochren. Their unique style of hard pop warmed the crowd up nicely, paving the way for a musical journey that would include many different genres and moods.
The beats of hip-hop artist Aaron Cole, who performed next, shook the crowd. He might be relatively young, but his performance was beyond his age. Considering that he’s been performing since he was four-years-old, this makes sense.
Simply, Ryan Stevenson sings the Gospel. He strummed hit after hit with his acoustic guitar slung low. He spoke highly of his life as a father of two sons, with his wife expecting a daughter in June. He even sang a few humorous songs that his sons wrote, including “Star, Star, Star, Starwars,” and “Hallelujah Apple.”
Pop artist Tauren Wells danced his way across the stage and into the night. He worked the whole stage and shredded the keys. His energy was unparalleled as he sang songs that everybody knew in addition to debuting some new ones. This was the triumph of the night, as he is a superstar in the making. After “Hills and Valleys,” one of his signature songs, he transitioned into a song of worship and exaltation, explaining that God is undefeated. This crescendo carried the event into intermission.
After intermission the headliner took the stage. Tragically, four months ago Toby Mac’s 21-year-old son died unexpectedly. He began his set thanking everyone for all of the heartfelt messages, but most importantly he expressed gratitude for the prayers of all his fans.
The energy of the room was electric. Toby noted that this was the biggest night of the tour, with a sold out crowd of 13,000 people in attendance. I have seen Toby on three different occasions and never have I felt this energy in the building. The performance was crisp and every note was hit, highlighting his raw emotion and heartfelt lyrics.
All in all, the evening was a dazzling array of Christian artists from many different genres. It shows just how varied and popular Christian music has become.