Live Report: Amy Grant

Amy Grant and Vince Gill
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

With a major winter storm being forecast, it seemed a perfect time to see a Christmas show with Amy Grant who penned the seasonal favorite ‘Tender Tennessee Christmas’.

Amy, together with her husband Vince Gill, a 9-piece band and two backup singers (one of which was Vince’s daughter Jenny) nearly filled the Van Andel in Grand Rapids, MI. The stage was simply set with a dozen stylized silver white Christmas trees interspacing the instrumental sections . A curtain of miniature lights with large ornaments in vertical strings lit from below created a sparkling backdrop.

Vince opened the show with “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. The man knows how to play the guitar. Amy came out on the next song, a jazzy up-tempo version of Jingle Bells that set the fun and festive mood. From there they traded back and forth singing songs with light banter between each.  While one would sing, the other would sit just out of the spot light watching. Vince said he loved to look at the audience and watch them look first at Amy and then at him and then back at Amy with an expression of “How did he end up with her?” They also talked about how they grew up singing different kinds of music, Amy gospel and church songs, while Vince learned cheating and drinking songs.  The wonderful thing that happened after they got to know each other was discovering they had been singing to the same people, Vince got them liquored up on Saturday night and Amy would save their souls on Sunday!

After about eight classic Christmas pop songs, they came together on their first duet, Amy’s “Tennessee Christmas”.  It was great as high tenor Vince complemented Amy’s warm alto voice beautifully. After another song by Amy, Vince led the backing band thru a Chet Adkins inspired instrumental version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. The Safire Blue Horns were awesome, blending country and cool jazz expertly. A full drum kit and Hammond organ enriched the sound and delivered a satisfying vibe throughout the concert.

They performed several new songs as well. “Christmas for You and Me” is a sultry romantic tune they wrote together, giving a glimpse into the hearts of a couple of young parents on Christmas Eve. “I Need a Silent Night”, from Amy’s new CD and a song Vince wrote following the death of his brother called ”Won’t Be the Same without You” which tugged hard on the heartstrings.

Amy started the second half of the show with an intimate “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)”.  Vince received a standing ovation for his angelic “O Holy Night”.  The audience joined in for a couple classic carols and they ended the set with “Till the season Comes ’Round Again”.

Called for an encore and they obliged with a duet of Give Me Jesus followed by Welcome to our world and then asked the audience to join them singing Do you Hear What I Hear.

*Written By: James Shotwell X*

James Shotwell
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