A few months ago, I had reviewed Michael W. Smith’s The Big Picture. What followed after that album was released was a tremendous tour, which resulted in a live long-form video and concert album.
At the time, it was hard to tell just which was better–the energy, excitement, and performance of the live album or the effort, care and dedication of the studio album. But today, as time has gone by, the live album has seemed to have gotten a bit more outdated than the aforementioned studio album, primarily because of the heavy use of 1980s keyboard sounds. But that does not take away from the energy and performance from Smitty and band. It was one of those performances where you could casually listen and just get carried away, or intently pick out each note of each part of each band member as these highly skilled musicians performed their craft. The songwriting from Smitty at this time was perhaps his strongest (I’ll let you debate that), including the nice surprises he gave audiences as he added extended intros and instrumental breaks.
It was to be Smitty’s only live album, aside from a limited edition acoustic E.P. in 2000, and his two worship albums released about that same time.
Though he has retired most of these songs last I heard, it would be nice for him to go back and revisit a few of these gems in concert nowadays.