From the honesty and transparency of discussing his daughter’s death to the energy and passion of their greatest songs to the warmth and joy in a loyal audience, Steven Curtis Chapman’s pairing with Michael W. Smith on their current tour is a night of inspiration, unity and family.
I’ve met both of the guys before and can testify that they’re as transparent and authentic off-stage as they are excellent and entertaining on it. And on the “United” tour brings out the best of them. I was recently able to catch the Cincinnati stop, and would say that If you’re anywhere near Myrtle Beach, Atlanta, Birmingham, Tulsa, Albany, Denver, Las Vegas, Nashville or any of the other stops in the next few months, it’s worth the trip and the price.
The loyal audience gave them a standing ovation before they even started, and from their first song it was clear that this wouldn’t be an ordinary night. These guys paid tribute to each other by singing each other’s songs together and at times even covering the other’s songs in solo numbers. They played the best of their oldies and their newbies. They encored and ad-libbed and added verses and showcased new arrangements.
And, of course, if you know anything about Chapman’s story (for most of us, from “Larry King Live”), you know there were few dry eyes in the place as he shared and sang about his five year old daughter’s recent death.
If you love great music that’s inspiring, clean and family friendly, then this tour is for you. If you’ve grown up with these guys or just stumbled onto them recently, this tour is for you. If your Christian faith is important to you, this is a night that’s as worshipful as it is wonderful and it’s certainly for you. And if you think this is only for older types, your kids will love seeing both Smith’s and Chapman’s sons as part the band.
Smith has won three Grammys and been nominated for nine others. Chapman has made 18 CDs and won over 50 awards, including the Grammys and the Gospel Music Association. Their newer stuff is great and their older stuff has stood the test of time. They’re not as young as many of the newer names on the Christian music scene, but they’re great guys who put on a great show and in many ways they’re better together.