Take 6, Yolanda Adams and Fred Hammond stormed Constitution Hall Saturday night, exhausting a sold-out house with their rousing a cappella jazz, pulsating rhythms and heavy-metal praise at one big Holy Ghost throwdown for Jesus.
From the start, the energy level was high: Concertgoers sprinted to their seats to catch Dawkins & Dawkins, the brother duo from Iowa who opened the concert, part of a 10-city tour to raise AIDS awareness. The brothers, Eric and Anson, got folks moving and grooving, opening with their hit "Wrapped Up," a bluesy serenade played to staccato rhythms. The marriage of an amplified acoustic guitar and keyboards, a sound the duo calls "rhythm & praise," captivated the audience.
Next, Take 6 strolled onstage carrying plenty of bottles of water--which must have been blessed. That might explain how the six Nashville-based singers can transform their voices into jazz instruments to imitate a big band. The group, which has won seven Grammy Awards, performed from its new "Greatest Hits" collection. Bass Alvin Chea and baritone Cedric Dent duplicated an entire rhythm section, while the voices of first tenor Mark Kibble and his fellow tenors soared in tight harmony.
The audience jumped to its feet after Yolanda Adams exploded onto the stage, shimmering in a shiny purple evening gown, with her buoyant hit "Yeah." She shifted back and forth between brash, funky selections and her quieter worship collection, where she is at her best. Her versions of "Through the Storm" and "The Battle Is the Lord's" were soul-stirring. Many in the crowd raised their hands to God.
When Adams welcomed Hammond and his ensemble, Radical for Christ, the Holy Ghost dance party really heated up. "Are you ready to throw down?" screamed Hammond, a Grammy-winning singer-producer who stirred the crowd with pulsating rhythms and an energizing light show. Then suddenly the music slowed and Hammond showcased his rich tenor voice with ballads from his new album, "Pages of Life."
While the concert ended with all musicians onstage for a celebratory finale, the most wrenching moment came when Hammond transformed Constitution Hall into a sanctuary, praying for those suffering with AIDS.
He slipped into "No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Prosper." The crowd began to sing and wave their hands. As the music died down, one could hear voices from the crowd: "Hallelujah! . . . Glory! . . . Thank you, Lord!"