Concert Review – Brian Free & Assurance

Let me begin by saying this.  I am biased.  BFA is probably my favorite quartet out there right now.  I fully realize this, so I won’t pretend that I attended this concert absolutely objectively.   However, I still am going to post my review of this concert, and hopefully my bias toward the group won’t be too overwhelming.  This was one of the best attended concerts we have had in quite a while.  At 6:30, a full 30 minutes before start time, the downstairs section of the sanctuary (which seats about 225-250) was between 1/2 and 2/3 full.  By the time the concert started, the downstairs was pretty much full, with some folks sitting in chairs in the aisles.  The balcony (which seats around 75-100) was a little less than half full, I would guess 30-40 people upstairs.  All told, we probably had between 250-300 people there.  Really nice crowd.  Also, the general makeup of the crowd was much more varied than for the Perrys concert a month or so ago.  The average age of attendees Friday night for BFA was significantly younger.

Set List

  1. I Keep Lookin’ Up
  2. Deep Deep Sea
  3. In My Robe Of White
  4. I Believe God
  5. Praying Man
  6. Introductions
  7. Real Faith
  8. Save Me A Seat
  9. Healed
  10. Jesus Will Pick You Up


  1. Oh What A Savior
  2. If It Takes A Valley
  3. For God So Loved
  4. What Will You Choose
  5. Long As I Got King Jesus

Here are some thoughts on the concert:

  • “I Keep Looking Up” is a great way to start the concert.  It gets the energy going right away, and they never really seemed to lose it, even when they did the slower songs.  The last time, they opened with “What A Lovely Name”, which gets the audience involved with a song they are fairly familiar with, but “Looking Up” is a much more tempo setting, high octane concert opener.
  • They have not yet found a piano player, and Ricky was not with them this weekend either.
  • The newer ballads “I Believe God” and “Real Faith” would not have sounded out of place on a 4Him CD.  Brian agreed with that sentiment.  An interesting tidbit he shared with me was that their song “Man Of Sorrows” from It’s So God was actually on hold with 4Him when they split up.  Since they didn’t record it, BFA picked it up.  Very, very interesting.
  • Jeremy Lile has a nice full sound with a lot of resonance on his lower notes. Yes I know that the subs have a lot to do with that, but he just sounded really good on the lower notes.
  • The only songs that were encored were “Jesus Will Pick You Up” and “Long As I Got King Jesus”, though there were several standing ovations.  “I Believe God” and “For God So Loved” got especially rousing ovations.
  • Brian does a great job on “Oh What A Savior.”  This was my first time to hear him sing the song, and he is the most effortless at the high notes of anyone I’ve heard sing it.
  • My son (almost 3) LOVES “Long As I Got King Jesus”, in fact, since Friday night, he’s been walking around our house singing “Long, Long, Long, Long My Got King Jesus!”  OK, so his grammar isn’t correct, but not bad for a 2 year old!
  • Bill Shivers is an amazing lead singer.  Terribly underrated.  He really shines on “Praying Man.”

The best way I can summarize the concert Friday night is that my sister, who is not a SG fan  (give her some good CCM, Barlow Girls and the like any day), asked me after the concert if I had BFA’s latest CD  and her boyfriend, who is not really familiar with SG at all, said to her, “You told me I wasn’t going to like this…they were awesome!”  High praise indeed from 2 non-Southern Gospel fans.  Brian, Bill, Derrick, and Jeremy, you guys did a fantastic job, and we hope to have you back again soon.  Keep up the great work.

About Wes Burke
I'm a .NET developer and Southern Gospel music fan. Married with a wonderful family.

3 Responses to Concert Review – Brian Free & Assurance

  1. coomercove says:

    Great review, Wes. I know I was hard on BFA the last time I saw them, but I did buy their “Real Faith” project this weekend and was very impressed with it.

    One question about “Man Of Sorrows.” Can a song be “held” for a group once it has been recorded and the project released? David’s Heart recorded the song around 2002. Legally, I wouldn’t think that they would have to wait. They could have held off on it out of professional courtesy to song writer Joel Lindsey.

  2. burkesbrainwork says:

    Brandon, by “on hold”, I believe that he just meant 4Him was considering putting the song on their (never released, maybe never recorded) next CD before they broke up. That may have been where BFA got it. I don’t think he meant they couldn’t do it until after 4Him. That was they way I took it, anyways. I didn’t realize David’s Heart did it, and that the song was 4 or 5 years old.

  3. Aaron Swain says:

    It’ll be interesting to see who they get to fill the piano bench next.

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