Undoubtedly, Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith took the stage at the Palace Theatre Saturday night to celebrate God and life, and they undoubtedly succeeded.
But perhaps most importantly, the show was an emotional and spiritual release for both the players and the packed audience. Throughout both singers’ sets, the crowd was on its feet much of the time, singing along to every word and clapping and swaying to the music.
The United Tour, as Chapman and Smith have coined it, brought the two high-profile Christian rockers together for the first time. Judging by the duo’s performance at the Palace, the union has been fruitful for both musicians and fans alike. The two shared the stage for the beginning and end of each set, singing each other’s songs to loud cheers.
Perhaps the best moment came at the end of Chapman’s opening set, with just Chapman and his guitar and Smith behind the keyboards onstage, riffing on each other’s material. Smith threw out Chapman’s “Great Adventure” to start things out, with Chapman answering back with Smith’s “Go West Young Man.” Things eventually culminated in one of the highlights of the evening, a stunning run-through of Chapman’s “I Will Be Here,” which Smith revealed as his favorite Chapman song.
The entire show was a highly stylized affair, with kaleidoscope lighting creating the feel of a church within the theater. Although omnipresent, the lights never felt overpowering, adding to the spirituality of the artists’ performances.
Chapman’s opening set raised the spirits of an already highly spirited audience early on. That he was taking the stage at all was enough to get fans’ excitement up, given the recent death of his 5-year-old daughter, Maria, in May.
Showing tremendous courage, Chapman openly spoke of his family’s experiences, dedicating two of his strongest performances, “Miracle of the Moment” and “Cinderella,” to his daughter. The former song featured a new verse that Chapman wrote after his daughter’s death and received some of the strongest applause of the evening.
Chapman never once brought the energy level down, keeping the energy going with songs such as “God is God” and “Live Out Loud.” His set led perfectly into Smith’s, which started out in much the same vein with his biggest hit, “Friends,” and “A New Hallelujah.”
But Smith also had his somber moments as well, turning things down for the low-key, yet no less effective numbers such as “This is Your Time.” Best of all was a truly moving performance of spiritual hymn “Above All,” which struck a nerve with the assembled crowd. The song perhaps best underscored the emotional qualities of the evening.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts