With Grant, everybody wins

Palace Theater, Greensburg, Pa., September 17, 2021

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

Amy Grant was dubbed "The Christian queen of pop" before a wildly successful transition to secular pop music in the 1980s and 1990s.

In a venue known for 75–100-minute oldies shows, she delivered memorable Springsteen like effort with a 2- hour 27-song set that was like a time warp.

She walked out to join her very capable six-piece band in a gorgeous gold dress looking as youthful as ever and delivered "Stay For a While" and "Hope Held High" in her signature husky mezzo soprano that sounded as good as when you first heard her on the radio 40 years ago.

At the midway point, she went with the one-two radio friendly pop punch of "That's What Love Is For" and "Good For Me." Therein lies the problem with an Amy Grant show. With such a deep catalog in both the Christian and secular pop genres, there were bound to be a few favorite numbers that didn't make the setlist. However, the seven hits she did include from 1991's "Heat in Motion" likely satisfied most fans.

Also satisfying and perhaps unexpected was her capable playing of a slew of Mcpherson acoustic guitars that she has been using since she was a child.

The band was careful to match the texture and volume befitting the songs. The cover of Michael Card's CCM favorite "El Shaddai" was somber without being overly melancholy.

The show was not without its flaws. The stories behind the songs and cheerful banter with the crowd took up a fair amount of the show's long runtime.

Of course, the highlight was the back-to-back performance of "Baby" and "Every Heartbeat" when the entire theater morphed into a joyous '80s dance party.

A local music city guitarist once fielded a request to play a Vince Gill song by saying "Wow that guy...God gave him the guitar skills of a legend, he's a scratch golfer, and then God gave him Amy Grant." If this night was any indication, everybody wins.


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