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Published: Saturday, 8/25/2007

A great Christian band bids Farewell to fans

Audio Adrenaline, which split up recently after 15 years together, will release a live DVD and CD of its last concert. Audio Adrenaline, which split up recently after 15 years together, will release a live DVD and CD of its last concert.
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Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, my old friend,

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, we ve reached the end.

Simple and straight to the point, these are the lyrics of the last song ever performed by Audio Adrenaline.

The beloved Christian rock band split up after 15 years, playing a farewell concert April 28 in Honolulu. A live CD and DVD of that performance, simply titled Live from Hawaii: The Farewell Concert, comes out Tuesday on EMI s ForeFront label.

It s no coincidence that the contemporary Christian music genre started its upward arc in the early 1990s, the same time that Audio Adrenaline was getting started.

The band was founded at Kentucky Christian College in 1991 and first came to Toledo in January, 1993, opening for dc Talk at the Stranahan Theater.

The group, which won two Grammy Awards and sold 3 million albums in its career, has played in this area many times and has always been known for catchy melodies, fun stage shows, and spiritual sensitivity and sincerity.

Having had the opportunity to meet the musicians and spend a little time with them away from the stage, I was always impressed with the down-to-Earth attitude of singer Mark Stuart, bassist Will McGinniss, guitarisit-keyboardist Bob Herdman, guitarist Tyler Burkum, and drummer Ben Cissell.

I saw the musicians stick around after for hours after their concerts to sign autographs, pose for pictures, and just chat with fans. You don t see many mainstream rock acts devoting that kind of time to their fans.

In the DVD portion of Farewell, Mark Stuart s father, Drex, says the members of Audio Adrenaline all saw their band as a ministry, not just a musical group.

To that end, Audio A founded an orphanage in Haiti several years ago that will carry on the band s commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

Of course, music was the force that brought Audio A together, and the band produced many memorable hits 18 of which reached No. 1 on the Christian rock charts.

The songs varied in style, mixing rock, pop, and even rap to produce head-bangers like Chevette and We re a Band to sumptuous ballads such as Ocean Floor.

Audio A s signature tune, however, will always be Big House, the breakthrough 1993 hit that takes a verse from the Gospel of John Chapter 14, verse 2, In my father s house are many rooms and runs with it.

The lyrics include such lines as, It s a big, big house, with lots and lots of room. A big, big table, with lots and lots of food. A big, big yard, where we can play football.

Theologians have not determined whether there really is football in heaven, but the song s premise that people will be able to do things in heaven that they enjoy on Earth is a popular one. Audio Adrenaline has fun with the concept and at the same time makes people think a little about what the Bible says about eternity.

Listening and watching to the band s farewell concert, it s painfully clear that Stuart had little choice but to quit performing. The years of rigorous touring and recording literally wore his voice out to the point where it is terribly raspy, ragged, and weak.

Some musicians can be replaced, but Stuart was such an integral part of Audio Adrenaline in both sound and spirit that it would have been virtually impossible to carry on without him. I think it s admirable that the other members decided to break things up rather than try to reinvent the band.

Only a small percentage of Audio Adrenaline fans were able to make it to the band s finale at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, but The Farewell Concert gives everyone a chance to say Goodbye, Old Friend to one of the most enjoyable and inspiring Christian rock groups.

NEW FROM THIRD DAY: As the music industry continues to struggle with the impact of the Internet and adjusts to other technological advances, one thing it is doing right to keep fans happy is combining CDs and DVDs in the same package.

It s a great way to give fans both the music and video of their favorite artists.

Just as Audio Adrenaline captured its last hurrah in The Farewell Concert, top Christian rock band Third Day looks back at the last five years of its impressive 10-year career with a CD/DVD release titled Chronology Volume 2: 2001-2006.

Released by Essential Records, a division of the Provident Label Group, Chronology is both a musical hit parade and a collection of videos that range from a 60-minute documentary to live bootleg videos to amusing submissions from fans seeking the title of Third Day s Greatest Fan.

The years that Chronology covers were good ones for Atlanta-based Third Day, including a landmark Dove Awards ceremony in April, 2001, in which the group was handed 15 trophies including Artist and Group of the Year.

Among the notable performance videos in this set was a live recording of What I m Living For that was taped at an Atlanta church in 1992. Even 15 years ago, playing acoustic guitars while seated on a church altar, these musicians had a distinctive sound with unlimited promise, led by singer Mac Powell s gritty, full-bodied baritone and a rich, balanced blend of guitar harmonies.

The 18 songs on the music CD include such Third Day classics as Come Together (not a Beatles cover), Rockstar, Tunnel, and Show Me Your Glory.

We were aware we had people s attention, we not only wanted to keep it, we wanted to say some things that went beyond the individual, bassist Tai Anderson says in the CD/DVD liner notes. We wanted to talk about our role as the church making a difference in the world.

David Yonke is The Blade s religion editor. Contact him at dyonke@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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