On Saturday, July, 15, Tye Tribbett performed not one, but two shows in front of a sold out audience at Philadelphia’s Fillmore music venue for a live recording of his forthcoming album, The Bloody Win, as well as a reunion celebration with his former backing group, Greater Anointing, simply known as GA.
The central theme to Tribbett’s forthcoming album The Bloody Win is war – a war that is waged not just against police brutality, human trafficking, and gun violence, but also a spiritual warfare. All of which culminated in what Tribbett calls Praise and WARship. Following a short video addressing many of the social ills in society, Tribbett took to the stage in tattered and ripped clothes to the sound of gritty, war-like music, and a dark room, as the backgrounds singers chanted – “Rise up, wake up, war.” The weight and relevance of the moment was palpable for much of the predominately Black audience, as many stood in silence. Much of the focus of The Bloody Win addresses the current social climate, but the album also seeks to uplift and offer hope, as the concert noticeably became more upbeat – the lights in the room got brighter, too – as the audience would dance and sing along for much of the first half of the concert. Musically, the album pulls on several influences from Trap, to R&B, to Minneapolis funk, to a slower paced, and reflective style of worship music, as well as some African musical influences. Following Tribbett’s most successful album to date, Greater Than, which won him two Grammy’s, The Bloody Win looks like it’s shaping up to be a commercial success as well.
After taking a short break, Tribbett took to the stage again, this time backed by his original group GA, and quite possibly the best drum/bass duo – George “Spanky” McCurdy on drums, and his brother Thaddeus “Terry” Tribbett on bass (clear personal bias). As a native of nearby Camden, NJ, this wasn’t just a reunion for GA, this was also a reunion for many of the people that saw an artist rise from a local musician and choir director, to a Grammy-award winning artist. Stretching from Tye Tribbett and GA’s first release Ideas and Concepts in 2000 to his most recent release Greater Than, Tye Tribbett and GA seamlessly packaged catalog of music spanning 20 years. Dancing from one end of the stage to the next, Tye Tribbett and GA gave every piece of energy they had. Singing songs like Taste N’ See, No Way (G.A. Chant), Can’t Live, and many more, as fans passionately sang along forming a mass choir at times. The second half of the concert saw very few low points, as they energy remained high and the audience engaged. As typical for any Tye Tribbett show, he took the liberty of taking familiar songs, rearranging and merging them with some of his other music – most noticeably taking his song Still Have Joy with his radio hit He Turned It. And, just when the audience thought the concert couldn’t go any higher, GA took it up a notch, time and time again. Capping off the night, GA closed with Victory, a high-energy song, and an excellent ending to a night of reunion and WARship.
For Tye Tribbett to have done a reunion show celebrating 20 years of music with GA, is not just remarkable; it’s unheard of for a Gospel artist. In some ways, Tye Tribbett has been able to set the pace of modern Gospel music by taking the sound and musical tradition of the Black church, and placing it in the context of current Popular, mainstream music. Tribbett has taken the flare, energy, and spirit of “shout music” and made it accessible for the radio, while also keeping his ear to the streets, and remaining true to his message him and his brand of music. While Tribbett’s legacy is still building, he’s had an impressive showing thus far, and it doesn't look like he'll be slowing down any time soon.