Review: CHRISTMAS with Michael W. Smith and Michael Tait at Capital One Hall

I always enjoy seeing Michael W. Smith in concert and his Christmas tour was no exception.

By: Dec. 14, 2022
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Review: CHRISTMAS with Michael W. Smith and Michael Tait at Capital One Hall
C- Michael W. Smith at Capital One Hall for his Decmebr 12th
Christmas concert tour date.
Photo courtesy of the artist's official Facebook page.

After almost 40 years the first man to popularize Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is still going strong. Michael W. Smith's musicianship, skills as a composer, and entrancing vocal style has helped audiences of all denominations appreciate the word of God in a way that isn't preachy. He gets the message across through his compositions and vocals.

His current Christmas tour opened at Capital One Hall this past Monday evening and featured a mix of familiar holiday standards along with some original compositions.

Smith's superb five-piece band started things off with "The Call" before Smith took the stage for "Carol of the Bell". After that, Smith's smooth vocal on "The Most Wonderful Time of The Year" put the entire audience in the holiday spirit.

A few of the other holiday highlights included a hilarious version of Kay Thompson's "Jingle Bells" complete with a one-sided snowball fight. The audience never had a chance. LOL. One of my personal favorites was one that you don't hear very often, if at all. Petula Clark recorded a song called "The Happiest Christmas" back in 1997 and it is a gem of a song to be sure. Smith, to date, is the only artist that has covered it and, in my opinion, the song deserves to be a new holiday classic.

Michael W. Smith is also an accomplished composer, so it was a plus to hear some of his original work featured. "Patriot" was written to honor our veterans. It is a haunting tribute to the heroes of this country. "Freeze The Frame" is featured on Smith's new EP entitled Christmas at Home. Both pieces demonstrate his true composing talents.

Review: CHRISTMAS with Michael W. Smith and Michael Tait at Capital One Hall
Michael Tait

Michael Tait, lead vocalist for Newsboys, joined Smith onstage for some numbers. Tait has the smoothness of Nat King Cole and the raw emotion of Billy Porter's vocals all rolled into one singer. Tait's "All I Want for Christmas is You," followed by "The Christmas Song," showed off that range of style to a tee.

I mentioned earlier that Smith had a superb five-piece band so let's take a moment here to acknowledge the men that travel with him all over the world and have done so for years. There's musical director and orchestrator David Hamilton and Jim Daneker on keyboards, Stu G. on multiple guitars, and James Gregory on bass. Laying down the foundation we have Chris Leidhecker on drums. In addition, backup singers Janine Jones, Shelly Justice, Shane McConnell, and Nate Tasker (guitar and pitchman as well) added additional audible bliss throughout.

I said that Nate Tasker was also a pitchman during this concert, and this brings me to mention that the concert includes a pitch to sponsor a child through Compassion International. As someone who was not raised Christian (I attended the concert with my wife who spent her upbringing immersed in that world), I understood why it was included because it's normal in CCM concerts I've attended with her. Michael W. Smith is clearly passionate about this organization. That said, for those who are just all about the music (like me), the pitch can take you out of the moment a bit. I questioned whether the pitch could be shortened to just mention that a table was available in the lobby. That said, this is in no way to suggest you should not attend a Michael W. Smith or any CCM concert because of the pitch. It's just a warning for those that might not be accustomed to such things happening just before intermission.

I always enjoy seeing Michael W. Smith in concert and his Christmas tour was no exception. With Michael Tait, a killer band, and very talented back-up vocalists, this concert put the audience, regardless of beliefs, at Capital One Hall in the spirit of the season.

Running Time: Two hours and fifteen minutes including pitch and one intermission.

Christmas with Michael W. Smith and Michael Tait was a one night only engagement at Capital One Hall on December 12, 2022.


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