I am so grateful to have attended Hillsong United's Welcome Zion Tour live in Manila last June 11th. Before I knew my favorite bands: Switchfoot and Tenth Avenue North, it was Hillsong United I listened to every time back in the day. I also remember watching their More Than Life DVD (back when Marty Sampson was still the worship leader) too many times. I was a church kid so their music was inescapable to me because we sang it all the time in our church. And I'm glad my local church introduced me to this amazing band. Ever since, I haven't stopped listening to Hillsong United and using their songs as my praise and worship.
Enough with the introduction, I can't wait to relive the worshipful night that is June 11th. I couldn't thank God enough for allowing Hillsong United to schedule a second night show in Manila. I thought I wouldn't be able to see them because the tickets are easily sold out. I haven't experienced such ticket shortage before even with other artists who have more chart-topping songs and are generally well-known than them. It's that moment I realized how Hillsong United touched the hearts of the Filipino people.
Before the concert/worship night
Maine (my friend) and I lined up outside Smart Araneta Coliseum past 4PM knowing the gates will open at 5PM. When the gates opened, we lined up again in the entrance. The security personnel cuts the line in two and we are now in front of the second line. While waiting, Hillsong United are doing sound check. Hearing the instrumental and vocal practice added up to the excitement of everybody outside.
The curtains finally opened!!! We rushed in front of the stage. We were just behind two people. Our spot was really good or should I say THE BEST!
Relentless / Go / Break Free
Matt Crocker opened the show with Relentless. As soon as the electro-pop intro played, everyone was on their feet jumping -- yes, including me. JD with his megaphone followed up with Go then Break Free. Manila was turned into God's great dancefloor at that very moment. It was beautiful -- a glimpse of what it will be like in Heaven.
Hosanna / From The Inside Out
Hillsong United classic songs: Hosanna and From The Inside Out were sang next by Taya Smith and Joel Houston respectively. After Hosanna, Joel sent a shout out that Philippines is their favorite and God's favorite as well! And he reminded us why we are there: We will have fun, sing and dance but it means nothing if it's not all about the Name above all name, the name of Jesus. "The best song in the world can't change your life or save you, only Jesus can change your life," Joel added.
Scandal of Grace / Stay and Wait / Love is War
After the classics, they played worship songs from their latest album supporting the tour, Zion. Scandal of Grace is my favorite from the album and was looking forward to it.
After Love is War, Joel Houston shared a message, "If you truly believe in what you're singing tonight, we live like it. How you view God dictates everything in your life."
I love Aftermath. It's too honest and visual. Sometimes we fail to realize how ugly and gory the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was, but in the ugliness and bloodiness of it all, we found our hope in our Savior and Lord's death and resurrection. During the outro of the song, they flashed Colossians 1:16-20 on the screen.
Freedom is Here / Shout Unto God
Everybody were jumping and fist pumping during this combination. "Shout unto God with a voice of triumph. We lift Your name up, we lift Your name up."
Mighty To Save
I'm pretty sure everyone, including the ones who missed Hillsong United's live concert in Manila this 2014, would know they performed Mighty To Save. It was the highlight of the night especially when Joel asked to shut down the lights and the crowd to raise their phone's light up during the shine-Your-light-and-let-the-whole-world-see part. It was a lovely scene.
All I Need Is You / Nothing Like Your Love
All I Need Is You is one of my all time favorite songs from Hillsong United. With arms held high, we declare all we need is Him. I remembered Mike Donehey's message about raising our arms up during worship. It is not the position of the super-spiritual or the ones who got it all together. It is the position of the weak, the needy -- of a little kid who needs to be picked up by his dad.
Afterwards, Jad quoted Romans 8:31-39 before leading the worship with Nothing Like Your Love.
Oceans is quickly becoming a Hillsong United classic. Taya led the worship song. I'd like to point out how natural her angelic voice was. It just really showed in this song.
The Stand / With Everything
With the worshipful atmosphere Oceans set, The Stand and With Everything followed. I proved to myself how great Filipinos are in singing. The crowd sounded great during With Everything's "oh whoa oh oh" part. After the two songs, they left the stage and shut down the lights. After a minute, the crowd sang the "oh whoa oh oh" part in chorus one more time (suggesting the guys to come back on stage).
Your Name High
Yes, they did come back on stage. JD sang Your Name High and yeah, more jumping and awkward dancing!!!
Wake / Alive
They also sang two songs from Hillsong Young & Free. I can't stop jumping and dancing awkwardly with my backpack on (yup! bad decision, I know). I think I literally danced during Alive from beginning to end. It was so much fun and refreshing.
Since we kept insisting them to play One Way, they granted our request and the Christian Filipino youth's anthem closed the set.
Hillsong United's concert/worship night last June 11 truly blessed and refreshed me. It was more than just watching a performance. It was not a typical concert. It was a successful worship event not lifting up an artist's name, a brand or a song, but Jesus Christ.