Michael W. Smith at NAMM 2020

By Daniel Corey

Michael W. Smith
Photo courtesy of Google Images

When planning out my NAMM convention, I was quite surprised to see “Yamaha Presents a Night of Worship Honoring Michael W. Smith” on the schedule. I immediately marked it down as a must-see.

I realized that I hadn’t seen Michael in concert since his “Go West Young Man” tour, which…was a long time ago. I wasn’t quite old enough to drive, so an upperclassman from my school drove a crew of us younger kids in her Bronco to see Smith with fledgling opener D.C. Talk at the Lakeland Convention Center in Central Florida. It was a good night and a nice memory (one of the few from my high school years).

I thought it would be fun to revisit an artist that had had such a big influence on my youth, and a good time it was.

The show consisted of two parts: in the first “act,” Smith and his band revisited a lot of his past pop hits, such as “Secret Ambition,” from his 1988 album “Eye 2 Eye,” “Place in this World,” his 1990 crossover hit from “Go West Young Man,” and his perennial hit, “Friends.”

Michael W. Smith performs
“Secret Ambition” at NAMM 2020

Yamaha has apparently had a 35-year relationship with Smith, which started with the advent of the game-changing Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer. I personally remember the DX-7 hitting the market and what a game-changer it was. Smith was one of many artists that adopted the DX-7, which played a role in changing the landscape of ‘80s pop music.

Yamaha executives came out at the midway point of the show and honored Smith with a framed set of records to commemorate his career of selling 15 million albums and winning 40-odd Dove Awards and three Grammy Awards.

Michael W. Smith performs
“Place in This World” at NAMM 2020

I have to say, it really meant something to see NAMM and Yamaha publicly honoring a Christian artist. Smith and artists like him in the ‘80s and ‘90s worked hard to see Christian music and culture become mainstream, and with a night like this happening, it would seem that they were successful in their efforts.

Michael W. Smith performs
“Friends” at NAMM 2020
Watched the show with good friend
Betsi Freeman!

More about Michael W. Smith at his homepage: http://michaelwsmith.com.

– DC

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