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concert review

Amy Grant Live

By Jennifer E. Jones
CBNmusic Producer

CBN.comNewport News, VA Midway through her show at Christopher Newport University's Ferguson Center for the Arts, Amy Grant paused after singing “That’s What Love Is For” and confessed, “This is the most uncomfortable right boot. Do you mind if I take these off?” The audience laughed and clapped their approval as she pulled off her leather boots and continued the concert in her stockings. Anyone could instantly tell that Grant is always at home on stage, and it made for a delightful concert experience.

With her six-man (and woman) band, Grant serenaded an audience of over 1,000 fans that spanned the full age range – from children to the elderly – for two solid hours of acoustic pop hits. She kicked off the night with “Every Heartbeat” and joked afterwards that, “I had to start with a little bit of energy.” Then she picked up one of many McPherson guitars for that evening and picked another song from her breakout album Heart in Motion, “Hope Set High”.

For being somewhat of a mega-star, especially in the Christian realm, Grant is genuinely humble and down to earth. In between songs, she shared bits of her life both on and off stage. Before singing “The Power” (from 1997’s House of Love), she said, “I’m trying to collect my thoughts, because 10 minutes before I came on stage, my 15-year-old daughter called and asked if she could ride in a car with a 17-year-old boy... I said no.” The audience clapped in agreement. She added, “Life doesn’t stop. I’m surprised you all showed up. Part of me is completely amazed.” This conversational tone presided over the night and made the pop star relatable.

Another great aspect of a Amy Grant show is hearing just how beautifully steady her voice has remained. As she sang classics like “Lucky One”  and “Thy Word”, it seemed as though not a day had passed since they were recorded years ago. I was taken aback when she introduced “Baby Baby” as the song she co-wrote about her now 17-year-old daughter. To hear her sing it now, you’d think she recorded the hit song yesterday. Her vocals are just that good.

She isn’t afraid to make a mistake or two, which also resonated the home-like feeling of the evening. Already in the audience’s good graces, Grant and her band requested to try “That’s What Love Is For” a second time in order to get it just right to perform on The View the following week.

Even her band got into the mix. One of her backup singers did an impeccable impression of Cher singing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” When Amy took her boots off, the lead guitarist pretended to throw one boot off into the audience, suggesting, “Ebay!”

While she was backed by some of Nashville's finest musicians, some of the sweetest moments of the show were just Grant, plucking her guitar strings, alone in the spotlight -- such as on “After the Fire” and “El Shaddai”.

A singer with this kind of catalog obviously can’t do it all. So I knew it was a long shot to hear my personal favorites “1974” and “Like I Love You”. However, some big hits that were noticeably absent were “Simple Things”, “Lead Me On”, and “Father’s Eyes.” She made up for it (at least with me) when she sang “Out in the Open” and “Ask Me”.

I had to admit that the concert was long at over 20 songs. Even Grant thought so. Before singing “Baby Baby”, she talked about her husband, country star Vince Gill, and how he would go on sometimes for hours and hours at his shows. Yet, he got antsy sitting in the wooden pews of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium at a Norah Jones concert. Grant reassured the crowd, “This is a longer set than usual, so feel free to leave at any time. You will not hurt my feelings.”

In the end, they loved her for it. She closed with “Helping Hand”, but a standing ovation brought her back for an encore of “Good For Me” and “I Will Remember You”.

Going to an Amy Grant concert is to see a seasoned artist who is so comfortable on stage that she even puts the audience at ease. That night she stood before us as an entertainer, a mother, a wife and a legend.


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