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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Live in Concert DVD/VHS

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Feb
Live in Concert DVD/VHS
Sounds like … a 90-minute selection of Michael W. Smith's pop, rock, instrumental, and worship catalog performed liveAt a glance … this DVD would benefit from some more meaningful special features and a more thrilling performance, but overall it delivers a satisfying concert experienceTrack ListingIntroI Still Have the DreamSignsRocketownWired for SoundSecret AmbitionHiberniaLove CrusadeFor YouPlace In This WorldI Will Be Here for YouFriendsThere She StandsLead Me OnEl ShaddaiThy WordAbove AllAgnus DeiAwesome GodYou Are Holy (Prince of Peace)This Is Your Time

Recorded in fall 2003 at Ohio State University, Live in Concert: A 20-Year Celebration is a fairly accurate representation of Michael W. Smith's brief anniversary tour. The quality sound and video production brings Christian music's favorite piano man to your living room for a 90-minute performance. It mixes up requisites like "Friends" and "This Is Your Time" with classic gems like "Wired for Sound," "Thy Word," and "Lead Me On"—the latter two coming from a nostalgic reunion with special guest Amy Grant.

It's great to see Smitty revisiting his rock roots with songs like "Signs" and "Secret Ambition." He balances it out with a fun piano medley of 1990's Go West Young Man, a rousing Celtic rock rendition of his instrumental piece "Hibernia," and the expected closing worship segment. However, this well-rounded performance is missing the zip and spectacle of his big tours from the '90s. Smith is as charismatic as ever, but the band arrangements and tour production are lackluster and feel a little thrown together.

The DVD's special features are even less interesting. The multiple camera angle feature (used so effectively on Smith's Worship DVD) only allows viewers to alternate between the concert's backing video screen and the combined concert edit—it's basically a Rube Goldberg device to watch music videos. A brief video shows technicians setting up the stage (yawn) and the 10-minute making of documentary for the "Signs" video offers little payoff, though Michael's son Ryan shows promise as a video director.

Not one of Smith's better videos, though serious fans won't be too disappointed. It delivers a good concert experience to your home theater system for only $12.