They had a snowball fight on stage.
It wasn’t real snow, and the fake snowballs couldn’t have hurt. They looked like tennis ball-sized wads of cotton, but Contemporary Christian music superstar Michael W. Smith still flinched like they were the real thing when pop star Amy Grant threw one at him.
It seemed a little silly. He had to know it was coming, but I laughed in spite of myself.
The two of them looked like they were having a wonderful time and that daffy, holiday joy radiated through their entire show last week at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a full-on Christmas spectacular. I kept a low profile during the 2019 holiday season and stayed home through most of December. I didn’t make it out to see Bob Thompson’s “Joy to the World.” I’m not sure I even stepped inside the Clay Center once that season.
Last year at this time, I was sitting at home watching old television specials and Christmas movies on television, so when the Charleston Coliseum announced that Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant were bringing their annual holiday show to Charleston, I was excited.
This promised to be something extra special. Smith and Grant have nine Christmas records between them, and they’ve been doing these kinds of shows every Christmas for maybe longer than I’ve been in Charleston.
By now, I imagined, they’d have their show down cold, but their performance wasn’t rote. While the set list had a very definite order, their banter sounded natural and easy, not scripted and rehearsed.
They came across as authentic and glad to be in front of a live audience.
Other than something crashing back behind the stage, the evening seemed to go off without a hitch. It was a fantastic holiday show, featuring a mix of old standards, a few fan favorites and a sing-a-long with the crowd.
Smith and Grant were warm, generous hosts and the evening was a treat.
Not only were they starting the tour in Michael W. Smith’s home state, they began the tour on his father’s birthday, a touching moment he shared before he sang “All is Well,” a song Smith wrote and that he said his father loved.
For the kickoff of their tour, Smith and Grant got a good crowd — not a complete sell out, but the biggest crowd the Municipal Auditorium has seen in quite a while.