Israel Houghton and his band, New Breed delivered an evening of electrifying praise and worship capped by stellar showmanship.
By Brian Liu
With a reputation for breaking down barriers between musical genres, Israel Houghton and the band New Breed led thousands in an exuberant, rock-reggae and Caribbean-infused praise and worship session at Singapore Expo on the evening of Feb. 16.
Organized by Faith Community Baptist Church, the one-night only show the first full-fledged concert Grammy-winning artiste Israel Houghton and his band, New Breed had performed in Singapore.
The opening act was a sleek transposition from screen to stage—a man runs through the gritty streets of various neighborhoods in a fast-paced music video, finally arriving at his destination on the podium in the form of Israel Houghton.
With the band’s ability to incorporate rock and reggae into gospel music, they had no problem getting the audience swaying to its brand of Caribbean-tinged groove, as it opened with the well-known Chris Tomlin anthem, “Our God (Is Greater).”
As the crowd starting warming up, Houghton moved effortlessly from center stage to a set-up behind a keyboard, leading a few praise songs on keyboard, and then picking up an electric guitar and returning front and center. Standing still proved a challenge for this multi-talented worship leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, pastored by Joel Osteen.
Making it clear that the concert was not meant to be a demonstration of the band members’ talents nor a promotion of their music, Houghton led the crowd into a time of roaring, fist-pumping praise interspersed with tender moments of intimacy.
But while the focus was on corporate praise and worship, it was simply impossible not to notice the phenomenal musical talents of Houghton and his band members, each of whom took turns breaking out in spontaneous jam sessions in between songs such as “Mighty To Save” by Hillsong and “Trading My Sorrows” by Darrel Evans.
This musical freedom on stage to fully enjoy and immerse themselves in the moment spilled over to the audience, who caught on to the spirit of uninhibited rejoicing as they sang whole-heartedly along with the band—indeed, the freedom to lose themselves in the presence of God was a key attribute of the night.
Toward the end, Lawrence Khong, senior pastor of FCBC extended an altar call, concluding it with a corporate prayer. He then opened up the front of the stage for the audience to get up close to the band. As the crowd surged forward, the energy and celebratory spirit reached fever pitch. Needless to say, Houghton and New Breed garnered more than a few new fans that night.