Capitalizing on the success of last year’s “The Bible” TV miniseries and the related current feature film “Son of God,” a live concert tour is now criss-crossing the country adding a new wrinkle in support of the film’s message.
The concert experience features a flock of contemporary Christian artists performing songs inspired by the film, accompanied by large screen images from the movie.
The tour visits Grand Rapids First Church on 44th St SW on April 4.
“There are some collaborative moments, some worship moments, and the artists are doing some of their own songs as well,” said singer-songwriter Francesca Battistelli. “It’s gonna be a great night.”
Battistelli is one of a half dozen artists on the bill, most of whom contributed songs to the “Son of God: Music Inspired By the Epic Motion Picture” CD released in January, a month before the film debuted in theaters.
She will be singing “Oh, Son of God,” considered the album’s title song.
“It is really great to see these songs paired up with footage from the film,” said the singer. “It’ll bring the music to life in a new way for both the artists and the audience.”
SONGS AND ARTISTS
Chris August will perform “Jesus Savior,” the band Sidewalk Prophets sings “Keep Making Me” and Meredith Andrews offers “The Gospel Changes Everything.”
Meanwhile, artists who not part of the CD but are on the tour will also be contributing music.
“Natalie Grant’s song ‘Hurricane’ is just perfect for the scene where Jesus walks on the water,” Battistelli noted.
The 16-city “Son of God” tour debuted March 20 to more than 2,000 fans at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. On hand were the film’s producers, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, also the creative forces behind last year’s miniseries.
The husband and wife team was in Grand Rapids last December for a promotional visit and private screening of the film.
“It’s an honor to see how this will impact people – with the film and also the tour,” said Battistelli. “People like Mark and Roma are not typically part of the Christian music industry, but they do things on a larger scale,” she noted of the tour’s engaging video, surround sound and added visual effects.
“When you add all these things together, I look forward to see how God will be glorified.”
A portion of the evening features the artists performing some of their original songs.
Battistelli will sing “Write Your Story,” her current Christian radio hit from her forthcoming album (“If We’re Honest”) which reaches stores April 22.
DEVELOPING HER STORY
Battistelli is experienced when it comes to large scale concert tours.
She was part of “The Story,” a collection of artists and songs drawn from “The Story” translation of the Bible. In 2011 the tour drew more than 3,300 to Grand Rapids First Church. It played Van Andel Arena the following year.
For a number of years Battistelli was on the Winter Jam tour, a huge and ever-changing roster of Christian artists that annually has packed arenas across the country.
It was during the 2009 Winter Jam tour that she met – and began dating – her future husband. Matt Goodwin was the drummer for the band NewSong, the host group on the tour. Winter Jam came to Van Andel Arena in March of that year.
“I remember walking around downtown Grand Rapids with him,” she recalled of that first visit to West Michigan.
On nearly all of her concert tours the singer is able to travel with her family. Matt is now the drummer in her band, and the couple has two children, Matthew Elijah and Audrey.
Meanwhile, Battistelli’s career got a boost in February when she performed “Write Your Story,” in front of a national TV audience on “Good Morning America.”
She admitted to being embarrassed when program co-host Robin Roberts introduced the singer as a “Christian music superstar.”
“Of course I don’t think of myself as that,” Battistelli noted. “But it was just sweet to have the experience with my band and go through all of that together.”
If You Go:
“The Bible – Son of God” Tour, featuring Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris August, Meredith Andrews, and Jason Gray; 6 p.m. Fri. April 4 in Grand Rapids First Church, 2100 44th St. SW, Wyoming. General admission tickets are $26, group rate for 10 or more is $24. Gold circle and VIP tickets also available. Visit www.thebibletourexperience.com. Call 888-483-0018 .