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Concert review: Toby Mac and friends light up the Santander Stage

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On Thursday evening December 5, the stage at the Santander Center in Reading, Pennsylvania was taken over by TobyMac and some of his his closet friends, Mandisa, Brandon Heath, Chris August Colton Dixon and Jamie Grace.

Toby Mac took the stage along with his DiverseCity Band and praised God not only through his mixture of rap, rock and funk songs which had the audience clapping, singing along and raising their hands to please God but also with some well placed preaching. He challenged the audience to "leave sweaty because you've been dancing," and "refreshed in the spirit," because God was in the house.

Then he proceeded to cram 17 songs into 90 minutes a few from his most recent offering, "Eye On It." Songs like "Unstoppable," "Lose Myself," "Forgiveness," "Steal My Show," and the title track pumped up the the audience and them on their feet as they sang along even though the band at times seemed to drown out the lyrics. TobyMac included many fan favorites in the show like, "One World," and "Funky Jesus Music." He also paid homage to his former group DC Talk, who recorded their first album in Lancaster, by singing, "Into the Light." Mac even included a Christmas song entitled, "Christmas this Year.

Throughout the show TobyMac was joined onstage by the performers who had opened for him. All the artists came on stage at once for a rousing Christmas medley which closed out the encore.

The concert started with the Capitol Kings, a new group who played two songs, "I Feel So Alive," and "You'll Never Be Alone," both techno pop songs which featured the Gospel message. At the end of the second song they were joined onstage by Chris August, in a pattern which was repeated throughout the night.

As one act would close out their set the next act would come and join them. Chris August played through a couple of songs before being joined by TobyMac for the song "Center of It," after which August did a little onstage preaching played another song and gave way to American Idol alum, Colton Dixon who quipped about how he didn't win American Idol because not all of the people in the audience voted for him.

After two songs Dixon gave way to singer songwriter Jamie Grace whose songs, "It's a Beautiful Day," and "Hold Me," featured her sunny disposition. Jamie Grace also spent a few moments relaying the story of her battle with Tourette's Syndrome and how her faith in God has sustained her throughout the whole ordeal.

Jamie Grace ceded the stage to Brandon Heath whose more sedated set included fan favorites, "He paid it All," Give Me Your Eyes," and "Jesus in Disguise." Closing out the opening acts was Mandisa, another American Idol alum whose booming voice on such songs as "Overcomer" and "Stronger" was overpowered by the band at times. Still Mandisa, seemed to get the crowd moving and singing along.

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