(Concert pictures are really hard to take. And while I remember envying the capability of a friend at a Carbon Leaf concert who was taking really good pictures with their iPhone when my little Droid was failing… ironically, at this concert last weekend, I couldn’t get a good picture and the guy in front of me with his Droid was getting great ones. Oh well.)
Last Saturday night I went to a Matt Maher concert with my friend Maria. If you would have told me just four years ago that I’d be in a non-denominational Christian “church” at a Christian music concert, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But I actually like some Christian music now, and I like Matt Maher.
Okay, I really like Matt Maher. I love his music, I love the fact that he’s “making” it in the Christian music scene even though he’s Catholic, and I love that his music is often Christian without being in-your-face-Christian.
He had two opening acts (a guy I don’t remember and Laura Story, no relation to my brother-in-law) and you could tell that Matt was Catholic and they weren’t. Maybe I imagined it, but I feel like you could tell.
It was my first Christian music concert, and it was an interesting mix of a praise-and-worship session (I felt like I was back at Franciscan) and a concert. The opening two acts were more praise-and-worshipy, and Matt was a little more concert-like (more lights, smoke, etc). He mostly played songs from his new album, The Love In Between, which I definitely recommend.
I’ve actually been listening to it for several months — one of the girls in my Bible study works PR for Provident Music Group (a division of Sony that focuses on Christian Music — Michael W. Smith, The Afters, Reliant K, Casting Crowns, 33miles, The Priests… you get the jist. The big Christian music names) and she gave me a copy of the CD a long time ago! Pretty sweet.
My current favorite song on the CD is Woke Up in America– I think he quipped that he wasn’t sure what was stranger — a Canadian writing a patriotic song for the USofA, or a Catholic writing “Your Grace is Enough.” (I don’t think very many people realize he wrote that and not Chris Tomlin.)
The only sad part of the evening is that he didn’t play “Alive Again“, one of my favorites. It is based on the writings of St. Augustine. I love how he can incorporate Catholic themes into his “mainstream Christian music” (although Protestants think St. Augustine is theirs anyway, right?).
A great example of this is his new song “Every Little Prison” which is essentially the Litany of Humility! I was really taken aback when I first listened to it. It’s pretty powerful. And to hear a packed non-denominational Christian church singing the Litany of Humility was pretty awesome.
This is when I realized videos were probably more worth my time than pictures. The only downside of the evening was that Maria and I ended up behind an eight-foot-tall man and his seven-foot-tall girlfriend.
Hold It Together, again … a favorite:
This is a really touching song from his new album. He wrote it for his future wife — one night he came home feeling particularly lonely, after pouring himself out in ministry… he had a little moment with God when he was frustrated and tired of being lonely and thought, “What the heck? I’m lonely. I want to get married. I give you everything — I spend my time working for you, pouring myself out in ministry … is it too much to ask to find my future wife?” Or something like that. It was really encouraging to hear that from someone else. To make a long story short, he sat down and wrote the song he’d want to sing to his wife after 15 years of marriage. And now he’s married to a wonderful girl (and had a moment before marrying her that echoed part of the song in a really touching way. And his manager said, “Hey, that’s just like that song you wrote…”)
And the finale was, of course, his most well-known song, “Your Grace is Enough.” His two opening acts, Laura Story and nice-Christian-boy-I-forget-his-name joined him on stage. There was much swaying and hands lifted in the air in praise. (I didn’t not raise my hands. I may have sung along. With gusto. And maybe swayed a bit. But not as much as eight-foot-man in front of me.)