Sitting in the lower balcony at the Ryman Auditorium,
I anxiously awaited two hours of great Chris
Rice music. The stage was draped in a cool blue lit
back curtain. Wayne Kirkpatrick’s MAPLE ROOM was playing in the background. The drums, keyboards, grand piano, and guitars were set up and ready for the night. This was to be Chris Rice’s first headlining concert in Nashville with a full band.
The night was special for many reasons. The concert
proceeds were to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission,
which houses and aids the homeless of our
area. This charity has a special place in Chris’s
heart, as he has spent time visiting the mission and Nashville’s homeless.
Also, this Nashville show was the last night of his tour in support
of the SMELL THE COLOR 9 album, on Rocketown
The show opened with powerful renditions of “Smellin’
Coffee” and “Power Of A Moment” which already had me
teary eyed. Chris then greeted the audience as
someone shouted, “I LOVE YOU CHRIS”. Chris’s off the
cuff response was “Let’s just be friends…”.
The crowd was then invited to dream about a time where
there will be no more pain and we’ll be with God.
This led in to “Deep Enough to Dream”.
Later, there was a surprising confession as he
switched guitars. Chris humbly confessed that he
actually doesn’t know how to tune a guitar very well.
As he introduced “Big Enough” Chris spoke about our
brains only weighing approximately 3 ½ pounds each.
He made the comparison of how small we are compared to
God. His point was that, God is obviously “big enough” to
handle any question we have. His conclusion was that we
should not run away from God as we question.
During the song “Clumsy”, bass player, Kevin Von Der Hofen, interrupted
Chris for a few moments. He suggested that it’s time
to update the line “practicing for 30 years”.
Chris agreed and re-sang the opening line as
“practicing for 39 years”! Nice comedy bit guys!
Following a brief intermission, Chris came back out
for a piano set, which included “Belong”, “Home
Tonight”, and sing-along praise songs “You Are My All
In All”, and “Amazing Love”.
As Chris went back to his acoustic guitar, he said, “Well, guess what
time it is?” This brought the audience to a roar of expectation for
“Cartoons”, which Chris reluctantly keeps in his set.
He told the crowd that he was questioning why Michael W. Smith is
followed around by his song “Friends” when he got
stuck with “Cartoons”? He later jested that “Cartoons” is the worst
song he’s ever written. Everyone sang along, laughed
and cheered throughout the song. It will probably
always be the most fun moment of any Chris Rice show.
The evening started to wind down with creative and solid
performances of “Naive” and “Questions For Heaven”,
a lighthearted look at Chris’s earlier songs. He performed the first line through a megaphone, helping to recreate the circus atmosphere of the studio recording. Chris and Kevin (bass player)
would continuously give each other funny and confusing looks during
the line “and what causes deja vu?”.
The last few songs included “Smell The Color 9” and
“The Face Of Christ”, which was inspired by Chris’s
visiting the homeless of Nashville.
The very last song, “Life Means So Much”,was sent out
as a reminder that we should be thankful for our gift of life everyday.
Thanks for a great show Chris!
Kurtis Kegley is a free-lance writer who writes music reviews and concert reviews for Christian Activities.
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