ROP Staff Review: Disciple Love Letter Lockdown Virtual Show

Disciple recently rocked out for fans in their Love Letter Lockdown full production livestream performance. Craving live music, many of our staff attended safely at home. Rock On Purpose contributing writers Sharayah Franklin, Sam Segar, Jessica Walker, and Matt Durlin took some time after the show to discuss their experience.

Matt: In this unprecedented time (super funny word choice if you saw the show), I thought this virtual full production livestream was incredibly well done. The band played as if there were a live audience in house, responding to would-be reactions. It was a very impressive production.

One thing that really jumped out at me was how they brought Andrew Stanton– who played his last “official” show in 2018– in for the performance, and how seamlessly he integrated into the set. He’s got some sick talent throwing down riffs with such ease.

What were some of the highlights for you all watching the live stream?

Sharayah: Is it cliche to say the whole thing? No, but really some of the highlights for me were the sheer number of songs they crammed into this setlist. I especially loved “Panic Room,” and Marco Pera killing Project 86 vocalist Andrew Schwab’s part on the chorus. I always love the breakdown in “Reanimate.” Andrew Stanton sharing the stage with the guys is always a treat, and that they played a song from each of the albums he toured with.

I absolutely loved that new song, “Kingdom Come.” I think it is the anthem we need currently, The lyrics, “If love is the answer let your kingdom come / If love is the answer then let you will be done,” were so good. Kevin’s message is always spot on, and the encore was amazing! I loved the Medley and that they put “Dead Militia” back in the set!

Jessica –  I’ve seen Disciple live several times over the past few years, and the amount of energy they brought for the live stream event really impressed me; sometimes I forgot that there wasn’t actually an audience there with them!  The camera work by Joel Burris and the ATD Media team was amazing – not only did it provide that “front row” feel, but also allowed us to see much more of drummer Joey West than would be possible at a typical show.  Bringing Andrew Stanton back for a few songs and hearing Marco Pero take Andrew Schwab’s part in “Panic Room” were two other major highlights from this show.

A few of my favorite songs were “Erase”, “Dear X”, the Medley (GREAT idea for bands that have SO many great songs), and their brand new song, “Kingdom Come.”  I was really excited to be able to see the debut of that and it has me eagerly anticipating what other 2 songs will release on Love Letter Kill Shot: Deluxe Edition!

Sam – I was blown away by how they brought the same energy of a live show to this live-stream, especially after such a long break. Personally, I usually have trouble getting into live-streams; watching a show on screen can never compare to actually being there, but the production and the passion between everyone on stage truly brought the connection to a higher level.

To echo everybody else: seeing Andrew Stanton hop in for a few songs and getting to hear “Kingdom Come” were definitely some of my top moments. My absolute favorite part of the show was the last song; the dynamic between everyone was off the charts. I got so into it that I couldn’t help but grab a guitar and play along!

Matt – I thought the set list was solid, but I really like some old school Disciple to be mixed in. But I’d like to hear classics like “Rise Up” thrown into a set once in a while for us old school fans. One of the things I appreciate about Disciple is watching their interactions on stage and how much they enjoyed being out there, the humor and passion they have really came through. One of the biggest takeaways for me of the night was how no matter what is going on in the world, we can put our faith and hope in Christ.

As we enter month two of this lockdown, what are some other bands that you’d like to see do a live stream or what festivals, if they were streamed live, would you pay to attend virtually? 

Matt: I would really like to see full production shows virtually from Relent, Gold Frankincense & Myrrh and Zahna. Perhaps just the whole City Rockfest tour should go virtual, something combined like what Disciple did but a social media takeover like what GFM has been doing.

Jessica:  It was very cool to see that over a thousand people were watching the live stream from all over the world.  The enthusiasm for the concert and the Gospel message was so apparent in the ongoing chat feed.  The way that fans all came together for this event to support Disciple and to support each other was so important and encouraging to me!  That is a reason why I love concerts in the first place- the unity it brings!

I had tickets to see GFM on their spring tour (before it got cancelled).  I would absolutely love to see them do a full production show virtually!  Those girls are crazy fun, and they have been doing such a great job with their virtual acoustic shows.

A City Rockfest virtual show would be such a blessing! All the Rockfest artists are super talented and I’d love to see that happen if it could!

Lacey Sturm has been really active the past couple months engaging with her social media audience, by playing acoustic songs with her husband and just talking and praying with fans. I really applaud her for that, and would be really excited if they put together a full production show!

Sharayah: I would love to see more full production livestream concerts. I was thrilled to see as many as there were for just the VIP the previous night for Disciple, and over 1,000 for the actual concert was amazing. I also agree that it was cool to see them from all over the world!

I think that in-person live shows might be gone for a while longer, and that Disciple really tapped into a market there. I feel that people would be more apt to support these Christian rock bands who did these kinds of shows because we (or at least I) feel invested in them, like we take ownership of the bands. I would love to see more do these kinds of things, and I would definitely support them.

As a huge Skillet fan, if they announced a livestream show tomorrow, I’d buy a ticket so fast it wouldn’t be funny. I could kick myself for not driving to the Victorious Tour and seeing it even though it was further for me. If only I could have seen the future….

I would love to see a City Rockfest virtual show! It would be awesome because you could see multiple bands. I know that this is a thing that promoters and ticketing agencies like Live Nation are looking into, what they’re calling “crowdless shows,” or very small venue shows, like this article a friend sent me. I think that these paying virtual shows might be the way to do it, and if they do it the way Disciple did with the superb video and camera work you really do feel like you are getting more than your money’s worth, and as Jessica said above, it allowed us different vantage points that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Sam: City Rockfest as a full-production virtual show sounds awesome! The Protest and The Persuaded are a couple bands I’d love to see put on a live stream. I’ve also seen some lockdown open mics floating around in the form of Facebook groups and pages; I think it would be cool to facilitate something similar for some up-and-coming artists we support, such as Matt Sassano and Buried Above.

What do you think would improve these kinds of events for you? 

Sharayah: I really think that Disciple did a great job doing this event. I liked the aspect of it being live like we were there, but I think something could be said for a pre-recorded event where you don’t have to watch it live and there’s not an internet lag or buffering. I didn’t have many issues with the internet lagging, but just a few times where I had to refresh. I did like the idea that you could play from the beginning and can still access the YouTube links and watch at your leisure. I am also excited to see what we get with the audio-video download/tracks.

Matt: You think Skillet would sell out a virtual show quickly, imagine the response to a dc Talk live show? I definitely enjoyed feeling like it was live, and some of the interaction through chat was an added bonus, but I also had some moments of lag as well. I think there is an opportunity to have the audience donate instead of purchasing a ticket, sort of like the old fashioned Carman love offering back in the 90s. Maybe provide a link to Venmo or Paypal or Squarespace throughout the show, or Patreon– whatever the platform. I imagine fans would actually pay more, and maybe you’d get more fans willing to pay $5 to $10 but also buy merch.

Sharayah: I think that the Panheads would flock to a live show– definitely would be a packed virtual performance (whatever a sell-out show means in these contexts). A dc Talk live stream show?! I would be there for that in a heartbeat! Take me back to the Jesus Freak Cruise! I enjoyed the chat feature, but it was hard to multi-task at times, be present at the show but also engaged with others.

I saw Stephen Christian and Christian McAlhaney do their acoustic live stream, and it was free to view, but they had their Venmo and Paypal names in the corner where you could send them donations. I think making that a link form would be beneficial too, like a “pinned post.” I think that also was something that was missing, the option to buy merch. That is one of my favorite things at live shows, is buying the latest tour merch. I know with Disciple if you picked the right level, you get the shirt (which I did), but I think having more options would have been nice too.

Jessica: I’d be curious to see the results of a love offering rather than charging for tickets. I wonder if that would significantly increase the amount of people able to attend, and if people would be generous enough for the band to profit the same (or more). And I smile at the idea of more merch options, too!

Sam: I think Disciple did a fantastic job with organizing the event and creating enough perks to make the ticket prices worth it. If we see more artists put on full-production performances like this, I like the idea of general admission being pay-what-you-want. Then anything extra (such as an acoustic show, downloads, or exclusive merch) could be purchased separately.


Check out the complete set list for the show and be sure to let us know what you thought if you caught the live stream. Fans looking for ways to continue to support the artists we love during this season can check out our artist support master list.

“Game On”
“Ballad of St. Augustine”
“Erase”
“Panic Room”
“Cuff Criminal”
“Reanimate”

Andrew Stanton Set
“Angels & Demons”
“First Love”
“Wake Up”
“Kingdom Come” (new track off of to be released Love Letter Killshot: Deluxe Edition)

“After the World”
Kevin’s Message
“Dear X”
“Radical”

Encore
Medley: “Once and for All,” “Invisible,” “LLTR,” “Scars Remain”
“Dead Militia”
“Oh God Save Us All”

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