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WORLD acclaimed award-winning music group, Hillsong United, this week put up a larger than life performance at the Lusaka Showgrounds where thousands of Christian faithfuls braved the showering evening for four hours of praise and worship.

The K20,000-per-head show, initially scheduled to run from 18:00 hours to 20:00 hours, started around 19:00 hours and went on and on until a few minutes before mid-night, as fans kept shouting for more from the band that has distinguished itself as an all-encompassing gospel group.

The venue was filled to capacity with only small portions remaining at the far end of the field, where it was darker.

Literally, every available space was taken up, and just a few minutes after the start of the show, the VIP gate was closed and patrons that had initially bought the tickets in advance had to end up using the main arena gate.During the show, the group belted several popular tunes such as Everyday, We look to You, Hosanna, and Amazing Grace.

The audience danced their lungs out, raised hands in adoration and bowed knees in worship as the song leaders churned out one tune after the other.

It was an all-inspiring night that did not need one to know the lyrics of the song in order to sing along.

Two huge plasma screens placed at the far end of the stage simultaneously showed the lyrics and live pictures of the concert proceedings as one worship leader after the other took to the stage.

The stage itself was magnificently befitting for this significant gospel musical concert that could not just seem to have quenched the thirst of the Zambian fans, who have over the years been fed on sub-standard shows without an option.

The stage, which was flown in and mounted a few days before the show, was as high as 15 metres with psychedelic lights flashing all over the field.

“This is the first concert of its kind. I have never seen such a professionally organised concert in Zambia,” commented a female fan as she looked lost in the mammoth crowd. “We have a long way to go before we can get to this level in Zambia.”

Earlier, gifted singers Ephraim Mutalange and Stanley Chipuma, had ably delivered a curtain-raiser that stirred the hunger of the people, and seemingly prepared the audience for the things to unfold later in the evening.

Information Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha, who graced the occasion, commended the organisers, Doxa Music, for bringing the international group in the country and assured that “Zambia will always remain a Christian Nation”.

© 2005 Times Printpak Limited. All Rights Reserved.