The Passion Conference is one of the biggest events in praise and worship music. Top acts like Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall, and David Crowder*Band come together to perform their original songs (most specially written for the occasion) in a night to praise the Savior.
“Passion: Here for You” was recorded live in Atlanta, GA before 22,000+ in attendance. The conference’s mission statement says, “Passion exists to glorify God – uniting students in worship and prayer for spiritual awakening in this generation.” That calling and response is heard on the album in a powerful way.
The record opens with the title track, “Here for You.” Rounding out the album with a total of eight songs (on the deluxe edition), Chris Tomlin delivers some of his best material to date. “Here for You” is an invitation song; a welcoming to our Lord to prepare our hearts for worship and fill the room with His presence. “Symphony” is next; a declaration of the beauty of God’s creation and power. This song has a great build-up with the audience joining in singing, “Stand in awe…” Christy Nockels sings the Tomlin-penned, “Waiting Here for You.” Musically, it’s not as “big” as the other tracks on this album, but lyrically it earns a top grade.
The joyful and fun “All My Fountains” hits a new high for Chris Tomlin. The composition and lyrics are fantastic. The crowd interaction is great to hear as they provide percussion throughout the song. “Shadows” by David Crowder*Band (feat. Lecrae) is a stand-out on the album with its edgy sound and hip-hop flavor that Lecrae generously contributes. “Lord I Need You” by Chris Tomlin is a soft track that sings very much like a modern hymn. The crowd’s response to certain parts of the lyrics exemplifies the meaning behind the words.
Tomlin and Matt Redman have some more fun with “Set Free.” Its power chords and synthesizer adds vitality and passion to the album. I can see this song making its way into churches with a more modern playlist on Sunday morning. Kristian Stanfill makes his first appearance with Hillsong’s cover of “Forever Reign.” Being unfamiliar with his music prior to hearing this record, Stanfill made a good impression on me with his strong vocals and performance.
One of the albums most powerfully understated moments comes in the form of David Crowder’s “Sometimes.” The song is quiet, acoustic driven, and honest. Crowder declares, “When we’ve given up, let your healing come… where you go, we will follow.” Simply beautiful. “Always” by Kristian Stanfill follows. It’s a solid track with a very worshipful heart, singing of God’s refuge and strength. This time around, Christy Nockels and her husband share the songwriting with Tomlin in “Carry Your Name.” Nockels’ strong vocals shout the proclamation of sharing in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
The best is definitely saved for last. In one of the most deeply moving worship songs I’ve heard in a while, “Spirit Fall” by Chris Tomlin seems to inadvertently make the entire record thus far pale in comparison. While the lyrics are simple, the message is big. Tomlin shouts, “Oh, come magnify the Son! Savior of the world, the hope for everyone!” His original, “All to Us,” which was previously released on his album “And if our God is for Us,” is extended and drawn out, with the crowd lending its voice to the bridge.
Charlie Hall, who appears only on the deluxe edition of the record, gives us one of his new songs, “Constant.” The lyrics are beautiful as Hall rattles off many of the great names of Jesus. He sings, “Because, sometimes we forget: God you are here with us, constantly here with us.” The closing track is a vivacious version of “Our God” by Chris Tomlin, featuring Lecrae. All of the instruments are amped up with the addition of a separate musical piece and Lecrae’s rhymes at the end of the song. It’s a perfect conclusion to an almost perfect record.
“Passion: Here for You” is more than just another contemporary Christian music project. Inside the CD booklet, the liner notes outline the organizations and charities that were donated to by those who attended and supported the Passion conference. All of the initial goals that were set were exceeded by the contributions of those lead by love and justice. When Christians stand up for what’s right and live their lives through Christ, great things happen!