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Kirk Franklin lifts up fans at Fox Theater

Gospel great Kirk Franklin is a talented pianist, music director, songwriter, hype man, MC, and a pretty decent rapper, dancer and mime.  But by his own admission, he is a man with “limited singing ability.” Just don’t ever let that keep you from attending one of his praise and worship concerts.

Throughout his career, the 41-year-old Franklin has expertly aggregated all the talents that he was given with those of a remarkable group of  strong vocalists. Friday night’s show at the Fox Theater was no exception. And while you might not call everything Franklin does gospel, certainly not in the traditional sense, there’s no denying that the spiritual and uplifting label sticks every time.

Franklin and eight singers — including BET “Sunday Best” Season 4 winner Amber Bullock — entertained fans or “family,” as Franklin likes to call them, for three non-stop hours with tunes that ranged from the  traditional  “Never Alone” to the more contemporary “Why We Sing,” which helped put Franklin on the map in the early ’90s.

For the first hour, Franklin allowed singers Deon Kipping,  Jason Nelson, Isaac Carree and Bullock to strut their powerful vocals individually and collectively.  Carree, who lives here in Atlanta, is certainly gospel artist to watch. He easily took command of the stage and audience with his spirit-raising “In the Middle” and “Shout it Out,” both tunes from his recently released “Uncommon Me.”

But it was “Sunday Best” star Bullock, who mesmerized fans with her jazzy interpretation of “For Every Mountain.”

“When you voted for me, you believed in the gift that God gave me,” said Bullock, whose debut album, “Thank You” is set for release next month. “They’ve coined me a gospel jazz singer, but I come from the church,” she said before launching into “How Great Thou Art.” Still, she couldn’t help but inject just a little jazz in the 1800s hymn.

Still, it was Franklin’s show, singing or not. Luckily, he mostly tries to stay away from singing — though he did make a couple of  harmless attempts to belt out a few lyrics. But onstage, his strength is entertaining the crowd with his music directing, animated dancing, and  inspirational personal testimonies, such as in his spoken word piece “Let it Go.”

From there, Franklin allowed his singers to “help their boy out,” with a “Melodies from Heaven” mix that sampled Zapp & Roger’’s “Do Wa Ditty.” For the next two hours, the Fox was a praise and worship session with popular hits such as “Brighter Day,” “Hosanna,” “Something About the Name Jesus,” and “Imagine Me,” which extended an empowering moment for fans to join Franklin in waving bye-bye to any painful luggage they’d been carrying.

But perhaps one of the most memorable moments was when Franklin called a woman named Jeanette to the stage. The Lithonia woman apparently had called local radio station V103 to complain about all the Kirk Franklin music they were playing. When Franklin heard about the call, he asked the station to locate the woman and give her tickets to Friday night’s show.

“I heard you called the station cause you didn’t like the songs God had gave me,” Franklin teased, before inviting Jeannette and her friends to come backstage after the show. “I’m gonna make you regret saying that,” he said. “I’m gonna get your cell phone number and call you every week to see what Kirk Franklin songs you’re listening to. ”

And just when it seemed that the night would end much like church does (Franklin had made the congregation, uh, fans,  greet each other with hugs and “I love You’s” after all), the band plays “Stomp,” and well, church was over.  With Franklin showing off dance moves from the ’80s, ’90s and the new millennium, the Fox now seemed more like a dance club than church.

Fortunately, Franklin ended Atlanta’s stop of the Fearless Tour with the encore “Smile,” which left fans with something that was a little in between.

21 comments Add your comment

Fan

November 12th, 2011
7:38 am

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Kirk’s concert last night but saw him the last time he was here with Steve Harvey. At first, I admit that I went to the concert because my mother was intown, so I had a definite babysitter. At the time I liked Kirk Franklin, but I could take him or leave him. Well, when I left that concert, I am more than a fan, I am part of “his family”. It came more than a concert, it became a praise and uplifting service for me

marc

November 12th, 2011
7:57 am

This 51 year old white dude loves Kirk Franklin’s music and message…..stay strong brother..your music helps me do the same.

Vote for Obama cause he's black

November 12th, 2011
8:53 am

The AJC continues tp promote 2nd class entertainment that is focused on the segregated communities in Atlanta.
I would for once like to wake up in the morning,pick up the paper and see them feature stories on entertainment other than Tyler Perry,RHOA,Steve Harvey,T.I.
I guess the paper’s main focus is to perpetuate the dumbing down of Atlanta.

ab

November 12th, 2011
9:33 am

You infect every blog! How can you attack a gospel singer for god’s sake!

Mitzymy

November 12th, 2011
9:46 am

Kirk Franklin is scheduled to appear in Indianapolis next weekend. I’ve never seen him in person, but being a choir member for years, we have sung most of his songs. His tickets are selling, and our church will be filled to the brink. His music is inspired by God, and it touches you like no other. Every song is a hit. I am looking forward to participating in the concert.

A.D.

November 12th, 2011
11:02 am

It was awesome! If you have a chance to catch the tour in another city, do so! To “Vote for Obama…” when The Fish has concerts featuring only white artists, does that focus on the segregated communities in Atlanta? Also, FYI, there were all ages and races represented last night, just like Christianity is supposed to be.

JB

November 12th, 2011
12:49 pm

To Vote for Obama… Kirk Franklin is an incredible person and performer. I’m fortunate enough to have had the chance to meet him through my work in cable, and he is a delightful person. A very small man with a gigantic personality. He treated me with love and respect even though my race does not put me squarely into the middle of his fan base. He’s a guy whose ministry truly transcends barriers, and quite simply he’s just a nice guy. Don’t put him in the category of Tyler Perry. Kirk has something for everyone

Vote For Obama Because He's Black

November 12th, 2011
1:08 pm

No attack on KF.Just not enough coverage on stories,especially entertainment that has a broad appeal.
The only coverage involving whites is about the trashy Kim’s,Kardashian and Zolciak.
We need some equality !

ab

November 12th, 2011
1:24 pm

We will let you know when Wayne Newton comes to town.

Tracy Brown

November 12th, 2011
1:48 pm

To Vote for Obama: Perhaps you missed recent posts here on Kid Rock’s charity tour, Jason Aldean getting CMA Awards, Zac Brown’s tribute to Georgia, David Grohl & Foo Fighters and the Guns N Roses tour at Gwinnett Arena. And that’s just in the past week…

notaracist

November 12th, 2011
2:25 pm

It seems to me that Vote For Obama Because He’s Black, really just needs something to complain about.

Vote For Obama Because He's Black

November 12th, 2011
3:00 pm

That’s pretty good.You guys need to write an entertainment column for the ajc,take Jennifer’s spot.

natalie

November 12th, 2011
4:25 pm

The concert was GREAT! It was so much fun, so uplifting, and such a blessing to be there. I will definitely go to his concert the next time he is in town. Kirk Franklin also shared the plan of salvation and led a prayer for those who wanted to accept Jesus as their Savior. Like the article noted – he filled the Fox with love. AWESOME! Go Kirk…keep it coming!

SHELLY GIBSON

November 12th, 2011
5:38 pm

BEST FALL CONCERT of 2011! Kirk Franklins Fall Fearless Tour was AWESOME.
We enjoyed the show and the performances were very good, to say the least Kirk’s line up exceeed our expectations. I love his music and have always enjoyed his albums…but now I can truly say I’m a FAN! Thank you for coming to Atlanta & giving us more than our MONEY’S WORTH! All the best to you.

Vote for Obama because he's black hater!

November 12th, 2011
7:11 pm

Hey “Vote for Obama because he’s black” why not vote for Herman Cain because he’s apparently a republican idiot as you apparently are.

FYI…AJC talks about White people…did you hear the one about Lindsay Lohan and her woman beating daddy…bendaho!

Shawn Johnson

November 13th, 2011
4:58 am

The concert was GREAT….Kirk and his team were over the top. They gave of themselves over and above..I ask myself…and myself said, “yes” were is the intermission…there was NONE!!! The messages that everyone shared on stage could help any body dealing with situations and issues. I was please and would attend another concert. SMILE!!!!

Juduette

November 13th, 2011
2:46 pm

I would like to say that I am the one that called into v-103 and made the comments about Kirk Franklin being played every other day however, I was blown away his concert was phenominal and although I received my tickets free I will pay for every concert from now on to see him over and over again. This concert was explosive and i was already a fan but he made me like him even more and he is so humble and down to earth. Thank you kirk for being so real and cool. I will be at all his concerts.

Angela Connor

November 13th, 2011
9:29 pm

My husband and I had a good time at the concert we lived in Mayland for the last six years. We attend one of Kirk concert about five years ago at the Balitmore Arena. Now we been living here in Atlanta only a year ago and I went online Fri morning and check out KIRK !! CONCERT TOUR and I were so excited and we purchase our tickets that morning. We are big fans of KIRK!!! We were truly BLESS!!!!

Angela Connor

November 13th, 2011
9:38 pm

November 13th, 2011
9:29 pm

My husband and I had a good time at the concert on Friday night. We lived in Maryland for the past eight years. We attended one of Kirk’s concert about five years ago at the Baltimore Arena. Now we’ve been living in Atlanta for the past year, and I went online Fri morning and checked out KIRK’s CONCERT TOUR and I was so excited. We purchased our tickets that morning. We are big fans of KIRK!!! We were truly BLESSED!!!!

Angela

November 14th, 2011
9:01 am

AWESOME CONCERT!!!

Angela

November 14th, 2011
9:05 am

AWESOME CONCERT!!!!This was an awesome night of great music, praise, and worship. The show was filled with very talented singers from start to finish. No matter what you are going through, you will leave feeling uplifted and encouraged. I would definitely recommend people to attend the show when it comes to your town. You will not be disappointed.