Courtesy of Coleman Communications

By Michael P Coleman

In the spirit of full and total disclosure, I wasn’t exactly Team Amy as I meandered into last weekend’s Amy Grant concert in Sacramento.

I’d been aware of her for decades, since the early 80s. But to my mind, there was always a CeCe Winans or a Sandi Patty who could out sing her.

I’d liked the singles from Grant’s “Heart In Motion” project, which established her as a superstar beyond her Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) roots, and loved her follow up, “House Of Love,” and her subsequent Christmas music even more. But honestly, I hadn’t heard what tens of millions of people all over the world heard. She just never spoke to me the way other singers did.

But as the world emerged from a viral pandemic, I longed for live music again, and decided to roll the dice with Grant, wondering whether I’d hear what so many had heard since her debut, when she was just a teenager.

A somewhat older Grant (she joked from the stage about this being her “fourth quarter”) and her band took the stage promptly at 7:30pm at Sacramento’s beautiful SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center, and she first impressed me by sounding almost exactly as she did in 1991 when “Baby, Baby,” the first of her many pop hits plastered the airwaves. Her voice isn’t overly strong, but it’s more than strong enough, with a little amplification, to fill halls and touch hearts all over the world.

I attend a lot of concerts, and I’ve seen many of the “greats” on stages all over the country. I have rarely seen an artist so deftly and authentically connect with their audience. Grant comes across as extremely accessible, and she’s also, surprisingly, downright funny.

Sacramento’s SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Coleman Communications.

She also tells a story like the best of them. Her tale of a cancer-stricken friend who was the recipient of more than a little love from friends relatively late in her life, and Grant’s advice on not delaying acts of kindness, will stay with me for a long time. I came home Saturday night after the show and reached out to a family member I’d not spoken with in far too long.

Photo courtesy of Coleman Communications.

As I was working at a CCM radio station at the time of Grant’s massive but somewhat controversial pop crossover, I partially expected there to be a line of demarcation straight down the middle of the concert venue, envisioning her pop fans on the left and her Christian fans brandishing bibles on the right.

I was wrong. All of Grant’s fans sang, danced, and partied in unison right along with her, and shifted from reverent tunes like “Father’s Eyes” to pop confections like “Good For Me” just as quickly as Grant did, which was another of the tricks the singer had up her sleeve:

Amy Grant communicated her strong Christian faith, while performing a seamless mix of secular and gospel songs, better than any other artist I’ve seen other than Aretha Franklin.

About two-thirds of the way into the show, I finally understood a truth that had eluded me for all of these decades. To borrow a few words from another Christian music legend, Mahalia Jackson, I found the answer in the lyrics of one of Grant’s biggest crossover hits, “That’s What Love Is For.”

That’s what love is for

To help us through it

That’s what love is for

Nothing else can do it

Melt our defenses

Bring us back to our senses

Give us strength to try once more

Baby, that’s what love is for

That’s what Amy Grant is for, too.

Last Saturday night, over the course of her two-plus hour show, the superstar melted my defenses, brought me back to my senses, gave me strength to try once more, and helped me hear what her millions of fans heard a long time ago. I’ve been listening to Grant’s effervescent, addictive ditties almost non-stop since Saturday night’s show.

I had bypassed Grant’s merchandise table as I arrived at the venue, dismissing the hoodies, baseball caps and the like, knowing in my heart that I wasn’t a big enough fan of hers to want to wear something with her name and face emblazoned on it. During the brief mid-show intermission, I practically knocked several people over to get to that table, where I bought a t-shirt and Grant’s new single, the beautiful “Trees We’ll Never See.”

Photo courtesy of Coleman Communications

If you need to be uplifted, or maybe just to smile, Grant is not to be missed during her current tour. You’ll feel better when you leave her show than you do when you get there, which, after all, is what Grant’s music, and her ministry, are all about.

I told you! I get it — and her — now!

Come back in a couple of weeks for my conversation with one of Amy Grant’s legendary producers, Keith Thomas, who also talks about working with superstars including Vanessa Williams and BeBe & CeCe Winans.

Connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman at or follow him on Twitter & IG: @ColemanMichaelP


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