Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

It may sound like a cliché, but this time it really does apply. One of the most "highly anticipated" tours of the year is coming to Louisville! Tickets are on sale now for Third Day in concert on April 17 at Broadbent Arena. Outside of maybe the Kentucky State Fair's Christian Concert, this will likely be the biggest show of the year.

Third Day is what I like to call "in the zone" right now. Usually that's a sports term, but I think it applies here. They are the group that can currently do no wrong. Big album sales, big concerts, strong radio support, good music, it's all there. They are also one of the rare groups that manages to appeal to a wide cross section of music fans. Everybody from rockers to praise and worship fans love them.

According to the band's label, Essential Records, Third Day is experiencing a tremendous surge of fan support for the "Come Together" Tour, which will also benefit Habitat for Humanity International. The tour follows the release of the band's fastest selling album to date, Come Together. The tour ticket sales continue to rise. Third Day's May 11 performance in Atlanta at HiFI Buys Amphitheatre (which attracted over 15,000 fans last year) went on sale January 24 and after one week had generated ticket sales of 4,249, and its April 20 date at Nashville's AmSouth Amphitheatre has currently sold over 6,000 tickets.

The ticket sales are not only good news for the tour, but also for Habitat For Humanity's cause. A portion of every ticket sold during the "Come Together" tour will go toward a special Third Day/Habitat fund; the money raised will build at least eight homes worldwide during 2002. Third Day has committed to building three of these homes in cities across the United States, including Nashville, West Palm Beach, Fla. and its hometown of Atlanta, Ga.

In addition to raising money for Habitat homes through ticket sales, according to Essential, the band is dedicated to getting others involved in the ministry. To accomplish this goal, Third Day has initiated a grassroots mailing print piece and video promotion for churches and college groups to sign up to build houses. The piece is being sent to over 5,000 churches. The band also recently challenged its own record label staff to participate in the future construction of the Nashville Habitat home.

J. David Huffman of Creative Trust (who handles Third Day bookings), says, "What a privilege it is to work with a band who is reaching outside their own comfort zones and challenging all of us to put our faith into action, as the momentum of their tours, record sales, radio rotation and fan expectations are continuing to build. We and the band are both thankful for the growing and overwhelming response of fans, radio stations, retailers and concert promoters who continue to support these efforts."

The tour is, of course, in support of Third Day's latest release, Come Together (in case you're wondering, the title track is a rallying cry for folks of all walks to "come together" in love - it's not a Beatles cover tune). As expected, the album has been huge for the group. After releasing November 6, the record immediately shot to No. 1 on SoundScan's Top Christian Albums chart while landing at No. 31 on the Billboard Top 200. It sold 56,000 copies in its first week out and has sold over 300,000 to date. Not bad for a group with virtually no mainstream coverage (actually none that I've ever seen).

The new album also helped the band members get an impressive seven Dove Award nominations for the 33rd Annual Dove Awards. Last year the group took home wins in five categories including awards for Artist of the Year and Group of the Year, and Third Day has the opportunity to be the first band in history to repeat that achievement.

The group also got a nomination in the Long Form Music Video category for its home video, Third Day Live In Concert - The Offerings Experience. I've had a chance to watch the video, which is pretty revealing look at the band's life on the road. It released on February 19.

Other nominations include a repeat nod for Mac Powell for "Male Vocalist of the Year." The group also picked up nominations for "Rock Recorded Song" for "Come Together," as well as "Rock Album" of the year for Come Together. The Dove Awards will be held April 25 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.

It hasn't been long since the group was here. As a matter of fact, they played in Louisville twice last year, in the spring at Memorial Auditorium, and in the summer at the Greater Louisville Billy Graham Crusade. The spring show was a sell-out. New Covenant Productions brought the show to town, and promoter Mike Clark told me he wished there had been more seats available.

Broadbent will be Third Day's biggest Louisville venue yet as headliners. Will it sell out? It's possible. Over the years, I've found it difficult to predict ticket sales in this town. Concerts by Christian artists such as Avalon and Michael W. Smith haven't sold like I expected, and even big rock tours like Bruce Springsteen have failed to meet some expectations.

However, as I mentioned, Third Day are "in the zone". Like Christian music's golden boy Steven Curtis Chapman, they seem to get bigger and bigger. I think this will probably be a huge concert.

The show will also feature special guests Bebo Norman and new artists Paul Colman Trio. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. I'm there!

Check out "Grace Notes" next month for a major concert announcement. It's a good one!