Grant offers crowd a homecoming
By Karen Strawn
Special to The Pantagraph
Amy Grant brought her sweet, soulful style of music to Braden Auditorium at Illinois State University Friday night, and said it felt like coming home.
“I’ve never spent two complete days in a town and felt so settled in,” Grant said with her trademark smile. “I’ve been on every street in town…even the high school.” Grant toured the area with the help of her personal assistant, Atlanta, Ill., native, Deanna Hemby.
A skilled live performer whose career spans two decades, 37-year-old Grant combined her versatile repertoire of songs with everything from her Christian rock roots to the Top 20 hit “Turn This World Around.”
Grant said the song was inspired by a conversation with a homeless man on a park bend in Santa Monica, Calif. “We can turn this world around,” Johnny,” Grant said at the end of the tune, talking to her inspiration.
From “Baby, Baby” to “Who To Listen To,” Grant kept the audience of 2,600 chanting and clapping. She opened her first set with two songs from her new album, “Every Road” and “It Takes A Little Time.” The audience stood up and dipped and swayed to the 1986 single “Everywhere I Go.”
During the first set, however, a tearful moment came when Grant sang“Doubly Good To You,” written by the late singer/songwriter Rich Mullins who was killed in a car accident outside of Lostant, Ill., in September.
She also shared with the audience the song she sang at Mullins’ funeral, “Somewhere Down The Road.”
Grant, showing her free spirit and style, showed up on stage for the second set barefoot. She sand sacrificially, giving the band a break and taking on a 20-minute solo that she described as “what you’d hear if you were at my house on the porch.”