02.11.2019

HUB CONCERT REVIEW - Modesto Falls In Love With CeCe Winans

HUB CONCERT REVIEW - Modesto Falls In Love With CeCe Winans

By Michael P Coleman

When gospel legend CeCe Winans took the stage Friday night at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto, she did so with the stated intention of convincing everyone in her near-capacity audience to fall in love with God.  As modest as Winans is, I would wager that she never anticipated the love affair she inadvertently got started that evening: we all fell completely in love with her

Winans is our generation’s Mahalia Jackson, never wavering from her commitment to spreading the gospel.  After over 30 years in the spotlight, Friday night’s show proved there is something to be said about the “holiness” lifestyle that Winans has espoused.  Neither she nor that glorious, octave-spanning voice of hers has aged a day. 

And the Winans who blew us all away was a diminished one, as the singer was battling a pesky cold.  As phenomenal as she sounded, I don’t think I could have taken a full-power CeCe.

The 54-year-old powerhouse opened the show with one of her signature hits, “King Of Kings,” before launching into several selections from her exceptional new, Grammy-winning album Let Them Fall In Love.  Highlights included “He’s Never Failed Me Yet,” “Run To Him,” “Peace From God,” “Lowly,” and “Hey Devil,” with her three sharp background singers standing in for The Clark Sisters. 

Another stunner was “Why Me,” a Kris Kristofferson composition from Winans’ new album that left me hoping she will release a whole country project down the dirt road.  The singer also performed a brilliant medley of some of her classics, including “Alone In His Presence,” “His Strength Is Perfect,” and “Alabaster Box.” 

After a non-stop, 75 minute set, Winans exited the stage with the hope of getting on the road to recovery from her cold, but Modesto was having none of that!  After a raucous three minute ovation, Winans walked back onstage, visibly surprised by the audience’s response, and exclaimed “Y’all are rowdy!  We hadn’t planned to come back out!” 

Like the pro she is, Winans then delivered a very aptly-entitled version of another selection from Let Them Fall In Love, “Marvelous.”  The song’s title is a perfect description of the entire evening.

In a world where music stars come and go like the seasons, it was refreshing to see a diva, over three decades into a career, give such a breathtaking, inspiring performance.  Thanks to the Gallo Center and the night’s sponsor, Kaiser Permanente, for making it all happen.

Information on CeCe Winans, including her new album Let Them Fall In Love, is at cecewinans.com.

Information on upcoming shows at the Gallo Center for the Arts is at galloarts.org.

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Information on freelancer Michael P Coleman is available at michaelpcoleman.com or follow him on Twitter:  ColemanMichaelP.