The Farr Side: Grant, Smith perform a memorable holiday show
While merry bells keep ringing for Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, their fans can expect a happy holiday.
The duo ushered in the Christmas season with a beautiful mix of old and new holiday treasures Nov. 5 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Grant dazzled in a beautiful red gown to open the show with “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of Year.” It was the perfect way to set the tone for a night filled with glorious music and happy moments.
Smith followed with the Andy Williams classic, “Happy Holidays.” He captured the essence of the song perfectly.
The Grammy-winners have been performing for more than four decades. Each has treated music lovers with multiple Christmas album releases that have become listening staples during the holidays.
Grant and Smith first performed their Christmas tour at Van Andel Arena 20 years ago. I happened to be there that first time. I remember it like it was yesterday. The music lifted my heart. I was able to see Grant and her husband, Vince Gill, a few years later for their Christmas show together, too.
There is a special magic, however, when Grant and Smith share the stage. Combine that chemistry with a full orchestra made up of some of Grand Rapids’ finest musicians and you have the workings of an amazing spectacle.
“A Christmas To Remember” brought back memories of Christmases past with my family. The warmth, sincerity and love in Amy’s voice comforted those balancing memories of the past while having hopes of creating new ones, myself included.
Grant and Smith welcomed singer Marc Martel to join them on “Silver Bells.” (Martel had provided the vocal parts of Freddie Mercury for the film “Bohemian Rhapsody.”) We were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime performance of “Somebody To Love,” a moment surely to never be forgotten.
Martel joined Grant for her timeless treasure, “My Grown Up Christmas List,” a song that encompasses an imagery we all seek, and not just at Christmas. Images from Compassion International, a child-sponsorship organization Smith and Grant have long supported, filled large video monitors.
Martel later performed with Smith on Smith’s “All Is Well,” to which he received a standing ovation. The powerful, theatrical vocals of Martel took the song to a new level.
Grants’ heartfelt message returned on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” a song dedicated to firefighters, emergency personnel, nurses and service men and women, both here and abroad.
Tennessee always will be “home” for Grant as she sang “Tennessee Christmas.” But it was her own “Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song),” that silenced the near-capacity arena crowd. It was a beautiful moment.
Other timeless gems included “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “It’s a Wonderful Christmas,” “How Many Kings” and “O Little Town/Emmanuel.”
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” got audience participation going again and segued into a brilliant medley of “The First Noel/Silent Night/O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night.” It was breathtaking to see cell phone lights illuminate the arena while several thousand people sang the beautiful words in almost perfect harmony. There is something almighty powerful when a group of mostly strangers can gather and share such a memorable moment.
The night came to a close with Grant, Smith, and Martel performing Smith’s hit, “Friends” and ”’Til The Season Comes ’Round Again.”
David T. Farr can be reached at email@example.com.