“When I first started I never knew it would grow this big. I just knew that it was what God wanted me to do so I did it,” those are the words from Super Bowl Gospel Founder and President of Results Marketing Media, Melanie Few speaking about the success of her event.
Few started the concert 15 years ago and what started out as gospel concert for the players that allowed them to have a wholesome way of celebrating during the Super Bowl activities, has now grown into a mega event that is the National Football League’s (NFL) only sanctioned gospel event.
Hosted by the “How You Doing’” talk show host, Wendy Williams and Extra’s correspondent, the handsome AJ Calloway the show which took place at the famed Madison Square Garden, was full of wonderful performances, well wishes for Few and some good old gospel music. It also raised funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with a portion of the ticket sales going to the organization.
Opening the show was Georgia native Tasha Cobbs who performed with the winners of the American Family Insurance “Your Dream is Out There” contest. JoyAnn Jamison of Orangeburg, South Carolina and Valaree Draine, of Columbus, Ohio, performed “Smile” with Cobbs and got things started off well.
Next up was Mary Mary who got the crowd moving with their hit song “Go Get It.” The ladies looked ready for the game with their Super Bowl bomber jackets.
There was a moving video tribute to Few with well wishes from her close friends and family including her father who mentioned how her mother would recite the poem “Keep A Going” to Melanie and it really stuck. Few said that when times got hard she would think of her dear departed mom and the words of that poem.
Up next was the man all the football players call “Uncle Donnie” yes Donnie McClurkin hit the stage and performed his new hit single, “We Are Victorious” off his upcoming album, “Duets,” which will be available in late March.
The Winans classic “It’s Time to Make a Change” sounded great from the 40-man strong NFL Players Choir. I caught up with first time choir member Terrance Stephens who stated “I listen to Gospel music before every game. It helps me focus.”
“American Idol” season 12 winner Candice Glover performed two duets with headline Patti LaBelle, “If Only You Knew” and “Somebody Loves You.” LaBelle finished with her classic “When You’ve Been Blessed.”
Natalie Grant and Tamela Mann delivered stirring performances and Grant’s finish of the old spiritual “How Great Thou Art” got everyone’s soul to sing. Mary Mary also made a re-appearance.
The Finale which featured McClurkin, rappers Doug E. Fresh and Papa San, and Kierra Sheard all singing McClurkin’s “Victory Chant (Hail Jesus)” was powerful and got the crowd out of their seats.
“Get your dance on people,” commanded McClurkin who had the entire crowd moving. McClurkin pulled up the Rev. Jesse Jackson on stage to say a few words and closed out the show with his signature song “Stand.”
It was a great night and if you missed it you can check your local listings to see if it is airing on a station in your area.