Blog: Michael W Smith & Steven Curtis Chapman Live in London
Two of Christian music's most acclaimed singers, Michael W Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman, have been making a rare appearance on stage together in the UK. Joining together for their 'United Tour', the award winning performers treated fans to songs from their back catalogues. Friends of LTTM, Kevin & Elizabeth, went along to see the show for themselves.
Two artists we have followed pretty consistently over the last 20 years plus are Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W Smith. It's amazing to look back over their past albums and count up the great songs they have produced, from the days of The Big Picture and The Great Adventure. So we were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to see them on their 'United Tour' particularly as Steven has not played in the UK for many years.
We had a wet drizzly journey from Wales but that didn't hinder our excitement for the evening to come as we made our way to the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Sunday 22nd April.
7pm and Steven introduced his support band, Caleb; proudly declaring that it was the first time he had been able to introduce a support band consisting of 2 band members whose diapers he had changed! Caleb a 3 piece which includes Caleb Stevenson Chapman and Will Franklin Chapman (both Steven's sons) ran through a handful of their songs (Kingdom of Me being the most memorable) to general appreciation from the audience.
Caleb then returned to support Steven on stage. He treated us to a good selection of his past hits including Speechless, Lord of the Dance and The Great Adventure and the audience were soon on their feet. Some of the songs have been treated to new arrangements (see his latest album re:creation) and we even had a sample of banjo playing taking him back to his Kentucky roots.
Naturally he threw in a couple of more recent offerings, Do Everything is an upbeat song about serving God in everything we do, no matter what it is you do. Great lyrics and I'd recommend checking this one out on re:creation.
It was great to hear the stories behind some of the songs. He shared at length about the background to the song Cinderella which was inspired by the fun and frustration of getting his two youngest daughters ready for bed when they just want to play. It was quite emotional to hear him talk about his family and the loss of his adopted daughter Maria Sue in 2008. After her death, he thought would never be able to perform Cinderella again but realising he could honour her memory by singing it he has reintroduced it.
He thanked everyone for their support and prayers for the family over last few years and the set closed with a selection of well known worship songs such us I Could Sing Of Your Love.
If you missed out on this tour then all is not lost, we were promised that he'll be coming back soon. As his eldest daughter lives in N.Ireland and has just had a baby girl there is clearly a family tie to pull back to this side of the Atlantic.
After a short break, at which point I should mention the excellent chocolate ice cream available, Michael W Smith made his appearance kicking off with Open The Eyes Of My Heart which the audience carried on with after he'd finished. He included a selection of others from the Worship and Worship Again albums including Above All, Breathe and Draw Me Close To You and these went down well.
We'd seen him perform at the Big Church Day Out a couple of years back and had been a little disappointed but not so on this occasion. Michael was fully engaged with an audience hanging onto every word and note. It must be tricky deciding which of the old songs to do knowing that someone's favourite will get missed out, but he cleverly included several in a medley format and the fans will have appreciated Friends, Straight To The Heart, Place In this World and Agnus Dei.
Michael W Smith's latest album Glory is instrumental and he performed a couple of tracks including one as a tribute to the Armed Forces from the USA and the UK. He ended by gently sharing some reflections on the Fatherhood of God and there was a real sense of God's presence in the hall.
The main drawback of a shared billing is that you don't feel you've had enough from either performer but I guess that is being a bit greedy. We certainly had a full evening of great music and worship and we left knowing we had been worshipping our amazing God, moved with words we had heard and reminded of His amazing love for each of us. Well worth the trip!!
Kevin & Elizabeth