Music Review: Christmas with Amy Grant and Vince Gill

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Christmas with Amy Grant and Vince Gill (Dec. 19 – 21; All ages)
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
1 Symphony Place, Nashville
687-6400 • nashvillesymphony.org
Remaining show times: Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 and 8 p.m.
Tickets: $60 – $148

The holiday season is here, and it actually feels real now thanks to Nashville’s beloved celebrity couple, Amy Grant and Vince Gill. The opening night of their Christmas concert in the glorious Schermerhorn Symphony Center was festive on all counts and truly divine!

It is great fun to see Grant back on the stage that bears her name. In case you don’t know, Grant led a major fundraising effort in the early ’90s to save our Nashville Symphony when it was in jeopardy of going bankrupt, and when the Schermerhorn Symphony Center opened in 2006, it honored Grant by officially naming the stage the “Amy Grant Performance Platform.”

Grant and hubby, Vince Gill, have been performing Christmas concerts together for years, usually in town at the Ryman. This year, they moved it over to the Schermerhorn to again assist the Nashville Symphony given the company’s financial predicament earlier this year.

It’s an awesome night of holiday music through and through. Kelly Corcoran brilliantly conducts the orchestra members along with key musicians in Grant’s usual back-up band that includes drummer Greg Morrow, bassist Mike Brignardello, guitarist Gene Miller and guitarist Pat Buchanan, along with back-up singers Kim Keyes and Jenny Gill. Kicking things off for the evening is Grant’s festive version of “Jingle Bells.” While she borrows the Barbra Streisand version of this song, she truly makes it her own, as she does with every Christmas tune she sings. Grant is truly the queen of Christmas music given how much joy effervesces from her when she sings holiday tunes.

Of course, Grant’s signature, self-penned holiday song, “Tennessee Christmas,” is an audience favorite and it’s never sounded better live! She also serves up a rousing rendition of the Brenda Lee classic, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

In honor of our service men and woman across the globe, Grant and Gill deliver a heartfelt tribute with “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Gill dazzles the audience afterward with his performance of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” complete with his impeccable impersonation of Johnny Mathis! Gill’s rendition of “Oh, Holy Night” is amazing, and everyone in the audience got a chuckle from watching Grant and members of the orchestra get into a snowball fight (via foam balls) while Gill sings “Santa Claus is Coming on a Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train.”

Grant continues to deliver passionate performances of “Grown Up Christmas List” and “Breath of Heaven,” the tune she penned about Mary’s plight being pregnant with the Christ child.

A couple of nice surprises take place during the concert that aren’t holiday tunes. First is Grant and Gill singing “House of Love,” the title duet song with Gill from her 1994 album of the same name. It’s very rare to hear them perform this song live … a true treat! The second non-Christmas-song thrill is Grant doing a powerful live version of “Our Time is Now,” from her current album, How Mercy Looks From Here. Always the one to share an intimate story, Grant’s discussion of her ailing father’s involvement on that song on the album is endearing to say the least.

Together, Grant and Gill deliver the holiday spirit like nobody else could ever attempt. They sing so beautifully and the Nashville Symphony is at its best! All together, everyone on that stage offers up the most-wonderful-time-of-the-year kind of spirit.

Tickets for remaining shows are very limited. So, get on the horn and get ’em while you can! You and your kids will love this show!

 

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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