Friday, March 6, 2009

A New Hallelujah: The Live Worship DVD - Michael W. Smith

Less emotional but more satisfying

A New Hallelujah – The Live Worship DVD
Artist: Michael W. Smith (http://www.michaelwsmith.com/)
Label: Provident Label Group
Length: Approximately 90 minutes

I will never forget what a friend told me in connection with Michael W. Smith’s (MWS) Worship DVD. After my friend’s dad died, he was alone and isolated. Worship DVD was a lifeline that kept him from getting lost in grief. Over and over again he would watch it with tears in his eyes. It was one of his few sources of consolation.

I remember how moved I was the first time I saw it. The opening segment and song medley are electrifying. A New Hallelujah DVD also has a dramatic opening (something characteristic of Smith’s live performances) but it doesn’t quite reach the same level of excitement.

It was also inspiring on Worship to see and hear 15,000 young people enthusiastically worshipping God on some classic contemporary praise and worship songs. A New Hallelujah is set in a larger venue (Joel Osteen’s church) with a more subdued audience.

MWS set the bar high on that first release. What it lacked technically it made up for in passion. However, in some ways, A New Hallelujah DVD is more satisfying. It’s a little more artistic. Some songs have more depth lyrically and musically, and it’s technically superior as far as the stage, lighting, sound and camera work. For those who are tired of the rapid MTV-style movement often seen in concert videos, this has a welcome relaxed pacing.

One reason the first DVD was such a phenomenon is that some of the songs, though simple, were classics. This DVD comes close to that on songs like "Mighty to Save." Smith is also in fine form on "Deep in Love With You," a signature MWS ballad addressed directly to God. Another highlight is seeing Uganda’s African Children’s Choir sing and dance in their colorful clothing.

It’s hard to replicate a prior experience. It’s best to approach this as something new rather than a continuation of an earlier event. A New Hallelujah may not be as moving, but it is rewarding for those who appreciate excellence.

This DVD will release on March 17, 2009.
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