Amy Grant Inspires in Pensacola

Amy Grant - Saenger Theatre - Oct 29 ,2021
Amy Grant - Saenger Theatre - Oct 29 ,2021

Six-time Grammy winner Amy Grant put on an amazing performance before a large crowd at the Saenger Theatre in Pensacola, Florida on October 29th.  The show was a celebration of the 30th anniversary of her Heart in Motion album.  Up until the release of this album in 1991, Grant’s audience had been limited mainly to the Christian community.  Heart in Motion expanded her fan base to include mainstream music listeners through pop hits like “Good For Me”, “Baby Baby”, and “Every Heartbeat”.

Amy Grant is not the type of artist that I typically cover. Usually, my work centers more on rock, metal, and indie music.  However, being a fan of Amy Grant for decades, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to share photos and the experience of attending one of her concerts with people who are not familiar with her. 

Concert goers who attend a rock or metal show typically bob their heads to the music with fists pumping in the air. They leave the show with an adrenaline rush and mental high.  Those attending an Amy Grant performance leave a show with a sense of calm, inner peace, and spiritual high. She has a gift of putting people at ease and inspiring those in the audience. 

Amy Grant – Saenger Theatre – Oct 29 ,2021

The songs performed this night in Pensacola spanned Grant’s 40-year musical career.  Early Christian hits included “Stay For Awhile”, “El-Shaddai”, “Sing Your Praise to the Lord”, and “Emmanuel”. The pop portion of her career was represented by the dance friendly pop hits “Good For Me”, “Baby Baby”, and “Every Heartbeat”. Her more recent songs included “Better Than a Hallelujah” and “If I Could See (What the Angels See).”

Although most attend an Amy Grant concert for the music, her shows are more than just one song after another.  The audience is treated to more of an Evening with Amy Grant experience. While being a singer, songwriter, and musician, she is foremost a storyteller and that’s what her concerts are all about, the stories. 

One of the most refreshing things is Grant’s ability to connect with the audience. This is  achieved both through her songs and through her dialogue with the crowd in which she shares stories about her life, and most importantly her faith in God. This is accomplished in a down to earth, nonjudgmental fashion.  

Grant reflected how everything changed for her when she was 15 years old while attending what she describes as a “hippie church.” It was not a buttoned-up shirt type of church, but rather a blue jeans and bare feet type. Grant came to the realization that God had a PR problem in her neck of the woods, so she started writing/singing to share the word of what god was like down on music alley to other kids at her high school.   

Amy Grant - Saenger Theatre - Oct 29 ,2021
Amy Grant – Saenger Theatre – Oct 29 ,2021

She shared other stories about her songs. “Saved by Love” was written about her sister. The two of them were both pregnant and in the hospital at the same time in adjacent rooms. They gave birth to their children one day apart.  Key parts of “Turn This World Around” were inspired after talking to a homeless man for two hours while sitting on a bench overlooking the Pacific Ocean while visiting L.A. How many stars would have an extended conversation with a homeless person?

Grant explained how the Heart of Motion album opened doors for her. The song “Good For Me” mentions racecar driver Mario Andretti.  As a result, she was invited to the Indianapolis 500 by Andretti to watch the race from the team suite.  She joked how it was the worst day in team history and how she was never invited back. However, she did get to meet Paul Newman who was one of the team’s owners.

An Amy Grant concert is not all about her, but rather how she can impact others. Prior to singing her song “Children of the World” she said “I love what music does to my heart and soul…we are wired to be vessels of every good thing…I want the world to be a better place when I am long gone and no one remembers me…I want it to be better for the woman across the sea who is having a tough time feeding her child…I refuse to believe we are only here to die.” After the song she gave up the stage to Australian Christian singer/songwriter Nathan Tasker.  He talked about a humanitarian aid organization called Compassion International that aims to positively impact long-term development of children living in poverty, globally. Volunteers walked the theatre aisles during his speech handing out packets of photos and information, to those who raised their hands, of children from around the world that were waiting for a sponsor.  Those who filled out a sponsorship form received free copies of Amy Grant’s Be Still and Know..Hymns and Faith and Faithful: Go and Speak CDs.

The Saenger Theatre has fixed seating, so the audience was seated for much of the show.  Part way through the night Grant put down her guitar, took off her shows, and danced while singing “Wise Up”.  This got the audience out of their seats and had them dancing as well. The crowd also got on their feet for other songs including “Sing Your Praise to the Lord”, “Baby Baby”, and “Every Heartbeat.”

Amy Grant - Saenger Theatre - Oct 29 ,2021
Amy Grant – Saenger Theatre – Oct 29 ,2021

Amy Grant’s songs tend to impact me emotionally.  This concert was no different.  Listening to her sing “That’s What Love is For” sent shivers up my spine while “Turn This World Around” brought tears to my eyes. This is what I enjoy most about Grant, her ability to touch one’s soul with a message of positivity through the emotion and spirit in her voice. She makes you realize that our lives are transient and we should strive to leave a lasting impact when we are gone.  

I have seen Amy Grant perform live on 4 previous occasions, the last being over twenty years ago during her Behind The Eyes tour.   Now 60 years old, she has not lost a step and her voice sounds the same as it did when she was in her 30’s and 40’s. I have never attended a bad Amy Grant show, and this was no exception.  Her performance was as inspiring as ever. Throughout the night I smiled and laughed and thought and even shed a few tears, only taking my eyes off her to jot down notes for this article.  The audience was equally captivated during the two-and-a-half-hour performance with very few leaving their seats except for the brief intermission.

There are still a few dates left on Amy Grant’s tour as well as her upcoming Christmas tour which will start in December.  I have seen three previous Christmas shows which were all amazing. Hopefully, I will be able to make it to Nashville this year to catch one of her upcoming shows. Tickets for both tours can be purchased here.

Check out more photos from the show below.

Set List

  1. Stay for Awhile
  2. Hope Set High
  3. Angels Watching Over Me
  4. Love Will Find a Way
  5. Oh How the Years Go By
  6. 1974
  7. Say Once More
  8. If I Could See (What the Angels See)
  9. Wise Up
  10. Good for Me
  11. Saved by Love
  12. That’s What Love Is For
  13. Children of the World
  14. Helping Hand
  15. Don’t Ever Want to Lose It
  16. Ask Me
  17. Turn This World Around
  18. Out in the Open
  19. Better Than a Hallelujah
  20. El Shaddai
  21. Sing Your Praise to the Lord
  22. Baby Baby
  23. Every Heartbeat
  24. Emmanuel
  25. Put a Little Love in Your Heart
  26. I Will Remember You
  27. Don’t Ever Want to Lose It

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Post by Scott Raymer (Website | Instagram | Facebook)

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