Tobymac brings This Is Not A Test Tour to Indy with Colton Dixon, Britt Nicole and Hollyn Nov04


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Tobymac brings This Is Not A Test Tour to Indy with Colton Dixon, Britt Nicole and Hollyn

Few artists have had the amount of success Tobymac has had. Not only has he had an overwhelming amount of success as a solo artist but he had bounds of success with DC Talk in the 90’s and early 2000’s. His seventh album- This Is Not A Test released in August and was met with almost immediate acclaim from fans and critics.

October saw Tobymac hit the road with the Diverse City Band once again and brought his musical gumbo to Indianapolis with support from Britt Nicole, Colton Dixon and Hollyn for the This Is Not A Test Tour and it didn’t disappoint, packing Bankers Life Fieldhouse almost to capacity.

Newcomer Hollyn got things started early with a very short 10-minute set but it was all she needed to make an impact with the Indianapolis fans before Colton Dixon hit the stage not even 10 seconds after she finished up, making it a quick one-two punch.

He played for almost 30 minutes, packing every fan favorite possible into the short set. Still relatively new to the Christian music world as an artist, Dixon’s time on American Idol definitely got him ready for the big leagues and it shows. Dixon was all over the stage, getting involved with each band member and giving the fans what they came for. It wasn’t long after he finished that Britt Nicole took the stage to keep things going. Nicole was a bit of a change of pace from Dixon. While Dixon is more in the style you’d hear on CCM radio, Nicole is much more poppy and dance-heavy. You could probably hear a lot of her music in a club setting and the Indianapolis crowd ate it right up.

Much like Dixon, Nicole used most of the stage to her advantage and even got involved with the backup dancers, which were decked out in metallic silver hoodies, matching the stage setup. Nicole’s style would fit well alongside Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and other pop queens and she’s gathered a large fan following over the last few years.

The capacity crowd was almost as involved with her set as they were Tobymac’s, which says a lot. Her new album is releasing in early 2016 so she treated the fans to a new track from the album, which would make you think the fans had already heard it before while it hadn’t been released yet. Her energy was contagious as she left the stage at one point, coming into the crowd and walking through the arena floor section to get up close and personal with the ones who came to see her, ending back at the stage as climbed back up and jumped off the drum riser. If you haven’t seen Britt Nicole live yet, make sure you get out and catch her, she’s only growing in popularity.

After a short presentation from the sponsors, Tobymac and the DiverseCity band took the stage and kept the party going. The lights went up and a white curtain covered the stage with just Tobymac’s silhouette visible, holding a flag as he and the band started off with “Til The Day I Die.” As they ripped into the chorus, the curtain dropped and the crowd went insane.

They played a large portion of their new album- This Is Not A Test, including “Til The Day I Die,” “This Is Not A Test,” “Backseat Driver,” “Beyond Me,” “Move (Keep Walkin’),” Love Feels Like,” “Undeniable,” “Lights Shine Bright” and “Feel It.”

If most bands played 90% of their new album live, fans would go crazy over the fact that so many of their older favorites were absent, but not with Tobymac. It couldn’t be more the opposite- fans went insane with excitement to finally hear these songs live.

Tobymac has been doing this for over 25 years, going back to 1989 with DC Talk so he knows how to put on a show and that’s exactly what he did in Indy. You don’t just get hip hop or dance music- you also get funk, rock, rap, soul and more and- whether you’re eight years old or sixty eight years old- there’s something for you to enjoy at a Tobymac show.

It’s safe to say the openers’ jobs weren’t done yet either as they all joined Toby on stage for different songs- Colton Dixon for “Undeniable,” Britt Nicole for “Eye On It” and Hollyn for “Backseat Driver” and all three of them for “Feel It.”

The energy went up 10 notches when Tobymac sang “Love Feels Like” as well, with a video playing before the song, showing Toby talking about losing his father six months ago. Before his father passed away, Toby took care of him on every level and it was at that time, he said, that he really understood what love feels like. After the video ended, the lights went back up and Toby spoke about writing “Love Feels Like” and said that it had been awhile since he’d recorded a song with DC Talk but he knew this was the perfect song to do it. With that, the song started and the LED video screen showed Michael Tait and Kevin Max singing their parts of the song. When it came time for Toby to sing his various parts, he couldn’t have been more aggressive.

If you’re like me and you’ve seen him in concert on every album cycle, you’ve seen him get emotional and intense, but I promise you this was the most intense and emotional he’s been on stage yet. Jumping about the extended stage, you could see him going back to the moment he took care of his father and you could see him channeling that emotion. It was a moment you had to be there to truly appreciate and understand.

As the night came to an end, Dixon, Nicole and Hollyn came back on stage for the finisher- “Feel It,” dressed in the classic Indiana Hoosiers “Hickory” sweatshirts as confetti poured onto the crowd.

If you haven’t seen Tobymac in concert yet, this is the tour to do it. If you have seen him, go to a show on this tour, it will be the best show you see this year.

-Reggie Edwards