An Evening with CeCe Winans
By Jennifer E. Jones
The last time I saw CeCe Winans in concert, she had her brother BeBe at her side and sported big ‘90s hair. That was a long time ago but it felt like just yesterday when the curtain rose at Ferguson Center in Newport News, Virginia. CeCe Winans lit up the stage back then, and she still does it today.
No opening act was necessary to rev up the crowd because the people came to see the songstress blow out the backdoors with her tremendous voice… And CeCe did not disappoint.
In a sparkling tan dress, CeCe started off the night with “Mama’s Kitchen.” The groove was mellow and accordingly so. None of her most recent album Purified is heavily produced, so it lent itself well to her five-piece band and her three backup singers.
“Love well” was the theme of the night, and it was reflected in the many selections she sang off of Purified. During “Colorful World” and “You Are Loved” she showed images of people and children from around the world. As a strong supporter of World Vision, CeCe encouraged the audience to love outside of their church walls through such worldwide humanitarian organizations. She explained, “When you have the love of Jesus, you will be compelled to go out and share.”
She took moments to be serious and did it with elegance. She thanked the audience for their prayers concerning the passing of her brother Ron and talked about God’s faithfulness to her throughout this year of “purification.”
She also kept the show light-hearted with jokes and interaction with the audience. CeCe’s laugh and smile were infection as she danced around the stage. Her backup singers had just as good a time as she did as they hyped up the crowd on songs like “Well Alright” and “Pray.”
CeCe featured her love song “I Promise (Wedding Song)” which is a sweet ballad of romance. She joked with the audience not to laugh as she showed old pictures of her and husband from their wedding day to present day. After 21 years of marriage, she spoke to the couples in the audience who may be experiencing tough times and told them, “God will see you through.”
A special highlight of the night was an impromptu rendition of “I Wanna Walk Like You” as well as a medley of older hits that included the one that always brings the house down – “Alabaster Box.”
She ended the near two-hour set with a rousing version of “Hallelujah Praise.” Although I missed her backup dancers who normally accompany her on this track, CeCe and her singers still did their thing with flare.
In my mind, CeCe Winans is, hands down, the best vocalist walking the planet today, and she only proved herself true singing live. She hit every note with such incredibility that I had to shake my head in awe.
All the while, she kept the focus of the evening off of herself and reminded us all of the reason why she sings.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time," CeCe said. “I want you to be entertained but I also want you to know that Jesus is coming back.”
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