Roughly five months from its initial installment, Chronology, Volume Two (2001-2006) is the second half of a two-part collection of Third Day hits and rarities celebrating a decade for the band. Chronology, Volume One was such a surprising achievement in what a collection of hits can and should look like that it may forever be difficult to match it. Chronology, Volume Two is merely a continuation of what began with Volume One, covering the past five years in Third Day musical history.
One of the many charms of Chronology, Volume One (1996-2000) was its nostalgic look at some of Third Day's most groundbreaking, and at the same time nostalgic, works in their career. Bootleg videos dug into their past along with Dove Award performance footage and even re-recorded, new versions of a few classics to refresh them for a new era. The greatest charm of Chronology, Volume Two (2001-2006) is due to a somewhat similar feature - a retrospective, detailed glimpse into the past ten years of Third Day's impressive career in the form of a one-hour documentary, "Inside Third Day: The First 10 Years." The audio portion of Chronology 2 contains selections from Come Together, Wire, Offerings II, and Wherever You Are, giving a good mix of recent highlights, but the documentary is something that the diehard fans (aka "Gomers") will really find worth the set's purchase. "Inside Third Day" follows the guys from how they each met - revealing the band's inside joke that Tai Anderson was never officially invited to be the band's bass player (and was never "initiated!") - to how they acquired a record deal and how their rise to arena-filling fame came about. From band pranks like Tai's on-stage mullet revelation to shock frontman Mac Powell, to the band's unashamed proclamation of being a "Christian band," it's indeed a fun, interesting, and completely inspiring story. Other goodies on the DVD include bootleg live footage (with a highlight being a five minute video recorded by drummer David Carr when the boys visited Alaska), videos of the band's biggest fans expressing their adoration, selections from the band's live DVD releases, and a montage video for their song "Tunnel."
As well-selected and varied the audio portion of Chronology, Volume Two (2001-2006) is, it just doesn't seem to be as much fun as Volume One's was. On the previous project, we had the pleasure of taking a fond stroll down memory lane, with the addition of brand new 2006 studio recordings of "Thief" from their debut and "My Hope Is You" from their sophomore release. For Volume Two, no new studio recordings are added into the mix, with a few live versions of some cuts being included instead. Live takes on "You Are So Good To Me" from Offerings II and mega hit "Cry Out To Jesus" from Wherever You Are are the extent of the new, exclusive material (not including "bonus tracks"). While it's great to capture live moments like these, perhaps either acoustic versions, alternate takes, or even a song that didn't originally make the cut for an album would have been a nice addition. Even rare songs like "Falling To Pieces" or "That's How the Story Goes" from the Wherever You Are preorder bonus disc would have fit well. Nevertheless, having "Cry Out To Jesus" in live form for the first time is a special bonus, not to forget extras like a live version of "Blessed Assurance" and the rocking "I Can Feel It," which add to the novelty of this release. To round off the mix are three rarities including "Movin' On Up" which only ever appeared on the The Second Chance film soundtrack, a teaming of Mac Powell, Steven Curtis Chapman, and MercyMe's Bart Millard in "I See Love" from one of the Passion Of The Christ soundtracks, and an inclusion of the title track from a rare EP, Carry Me Home. It's somewhat bittersweet, however, having a take-it-or-leave-it song like "I See Love" present when the project could have just as easily featured something from one of the band's City On A Hill contributions, or just another standout Third Day original like "Wire," "40 Days," or "'Til The Day I Die."
When all is said and done, Chronology, Volume Two (2001-2006) is a fine second installment, even if the excitement sparked by the first volume has worn off a bit. Needless to say, the detail and time spent on making Chronology 2 what it is puts so many like projects to shame. It's now really hard to accept anything less in a hits collection. As the band continues to churn out new music and the fans add those albums to their catalog in the meantime before a third inevitable Chronology hits streets, we can only hope bands and record labels far and wide will look to the Third Day Chronology series as standards for how to do a collection of hits and rarities right.
By - John DiBiase