By Daniel Corey
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.”
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.
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.
More about Michael W. Smith at his homepage: http://michaelwsmith.com.