Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, and Da T.R.U.T.H. held the best Gospel
party Buffalo, New York has ever seen when they came and did their
thing Friday night, April 14th, 2006, at Kleinhans Music Hall, in the
heart of the city.
Rarely has Buffalo seen such a great Gospel concert bring together a
diverse crowd of people across racial and denominational lines like
Franklin & Co. were able to do.
It's hard to say who was more enthusiastic—the performers or the
crowd. For a city so broken and battered like Buffalo, Franklin's
Hero stop brought incredible hope and joy to those in attendance.
Franklin was equal parts showman and preacher. He is not a singer,
but more of an MC, or Maestro, if you will, who conducts a band, a
group of dynamic singers, and a large audience in having the time of
their lives in the presence of the Lord.
Long derided by critics who unjustly say he's "too worldly," Franklin
could not have been more honest and welcoming and interactive with
the Buffalo crowd. Several ladies who rushed the stage got hugs.
Franklin even ran all the way through the building and up into the
balcony to say hi to fans in the nosebleed sections. Most
importantly, Franklin kept it real with his audience, letting them
know he's suffered from low self esteem, an addiction to porn, and
other things that lots of people struggle with. At the heart of his
message, though, was that Jesus has helped him find victory in the
struggles he has faced, is facing, and will face, and the same Jesus
that helps him can help you, too. There's probably not a more
encouraging, faith-filled entertainer on the scene today. Where do I
sign up to work for him?
Once you're in his presence, you cannot help but love Franklin.
Showing off several cool (and some funny) dance moves, Franklin
continually smiled and had fun on stage. He was what Shakespearean
enthusiasts would deem a "merry prankster," often making funny faces
at the crowd or doing silly moves that made even the stern people
smile. His natural comedic timing and sense of humor made the crowd
feel so comfortable; it was like you were in his living room and he
was the life of the party. He also had the sense to look right at
people in the crowd and communicate one on one with them. Sometimes
he even asked people in the crowd to turn to one another and say
certain things, like "don't worry" or "I love you," and eventually,
he even had everyone in Kleinhans Music Hall hugging one another at
one point. The love and joy Franklin brought to Buffalo with such an
interactive show was simply amazing. What a blessing.
Before Franklin, it was Mary Mary's turn to rock the house, and did
they ever. Sisters Tina and Erica are good on CD, but they're even
better live and in person. You see, that's when they can really cut
loose vocally, and when they do—watch out—their vocals pack a
powerhouse punch just like Patti LaBelle's. As Franklin attests, they
don't just sing, they "s-a-n-g." And when the ladies get to dancin'
on stage, you're reminded of the unstoppable legend Tina Turner.
Go `head Mary Mary. At one point in the concert, it felt like Tina
and Erica were leading a Holy Ghost Revival Tent Meeting.
Da T.R.U.T.H., a talented hip-hop artist, opened the evening with
intelligent and thoughtful rap music. He encouraged the crowd to sing
the hooks to his songs, and they did with fervor and intensity. Da
T.R.U.T.H. is best described as a smarter Kanye West; he's the kind
of artist who doesn't dress and act like a hardcore gangsta, but
instead tries to infuse his songs with thoughts about life beyond the
typical rap fare of money, sex, and drugs. In fact, Da T.R.U.T.H.
even rapped about how he did not go through what most rappers go
through—how he lived a somewhat ordinary, enjoyable life, and how
he's glad God worked it out for him to not have to go through the
junk that many others experience.
All in all, The Hero Tour's stop in Buffalo, New York was a
triumphant and marvelous night for the thousands who attended.
If you have the chance, be sure and catch The Hero Tour when it comes
to your town or city.