If I could turn back time and change anything in my life, I would find a way to have been at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville for this historic evening of gospel music. The event yielded live albums for The Oak Ridge Boys, The Stamps Quartet, and The Rambos, and they were all in top form that night. By the way, the War Memorial is still an active venue. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s video, You Can’t Make Old Friends, and Jewel’s video, Satisfied, were both filmed there.
This album features live performances of songs like "Jesus Walked All The Way" and "The Coming Of The Lord" from previous studio albums, as well as a few gems like "Heaven," "The Holy Hills Of Heaven," and "I Wish We’d All Been Ready" that don’t appear on any other Oaks album.
Duane Allen, the Oaks’ spokesman at the time, leads into "He Did It All For Me" by sharing some Mayberry-esque memories of his small town Texas boyhood, as Tommy Fairchild’s tasteful piano accompaniment flows gently underneath. Duane’s solo on "He Did It All For Me" is nothing short of thrilling, and his master class interpretation of "You’ll Never Walk Alone" redefines the song for the post-Smitty Gatlin era. Or as the American Idol generation might say, he made it his own. The addition of Mark Ellerbee to the band was an innovation that brought forth a whole new life form – a southern gospel quartet powered by the driving beat of a rock drummer. Mark also sings a great lead vocal on the post-apocalyptic epic, "I Wish We’d All Been Ready." His rock-edged voice stands in contrast to the other Oaks, yet blending right in on the harmony parts. And with the same brand of Oak Ridge energy with which "Elvira" and "Bobbie Sue" would close future shows, this concert comes to a climax with the one-two punch of "Jesus Is Coming Soon" and "I Know".....and friends, I’m here to tell you – those two songs have never been sung any better in the history of the world than they were sung that night.
I can’t turn back time, but Performance does the next best thing – it preserves a sonic snapshot of a moment in time when Duane Allen, Willie Wynn, William Lee Golden, Noel Fox, Tommy Fairchild, Mark Ellerbee, and Don Breland were the best live act in the world. And the crowd goes wild.
Outstanding Cuts: He Did It All
For Me, You’ll Never Walk Alone, Jesus Is Coming Soon, I Know
Cut Outs: None