COLUMBUS, Ohio (Dec. 1, 2019) - Stunning, spectacular, inspirational and focused.
Those are a few words that come to mind after watching Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Marc Martel kick off the holiday season in style.
What a show it was. This one was special since Martel was part of it. A little holiday spice was added. Martel, who is also featured as one of the voices in "Bohemian Rhapsody," blew the roof off the Nationwide Arena Sunday night (Dec. 1).
He also treated the audience to the Queen classic, "Somebody to Love." One would think Freddie Mercury himself was on stage. He is that good and I am glad I finally got to see him perform.
After Grant started the evening with "It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year," the concert was off to a fantastic start. Martel came on stage and joined Smith and Grant for "Sliver Bells." This is a new version and is being released as a single as well. This well known song is now on a different level with these three singing it.
That can be said for Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith as well. I had a gospel and christian radio show at one time, and their music was always featured. Their professionalism and grace was something to behold. Smith, as cool as could be, was masterful, while Grant played host and also beautifully performed her classic Christmas songs. This was the second concert on the tour, and this one set the stage for the rest no doubt. The crowd was electric and inspired, and that gave more life to what was on stage. Not only did Grant, Smith and Martel perform, there was a 71-piece orchestra. The backing vocals were so solid, they could have been an act on their own.
This was a fine-tuned machine, but it was a Christmas show, and wow, what a way to start the season.
Now, back to Martel:
It was after "Silver Bells," when Grant requested Martel sing one of Queen's songs. He walked over to the piano and, with a the first tickle of the ivories, he launched into "Somebody to Love." And wow. He finished and was greeted to a rousing standing ovation. A well-deserved ovation it was.
Later, he returned and sang a duet with Grant titled, "A Grown-up Christmas List." He joined the gang again to sing a song he wrote and recorded with his former group, Down Here. The song - "How Many Kings" - this song highlights his songwriting ability, but also his vocals. His vocal talents are something to witness, whether it is on his own, or when he does his countless other projects. The Martel's of the singing world do not come around often, but when they do, take heed, and notice - and enjoy.
He reminds me of another stellar performer, David Phelps. He is well known on his own, but when he was with the Gaither Vocal Group, his talent reached beyond the clouds. A god-given talent that was honed to perfection. That is Martel as well.
He sang a famous Smith song title "All Is Well." Again, his voice blending with the orchestra, was so rich and rewarding. It was an inspirational masterpiece.
Martel can sing Queen for one song and then a classic Christmas song and one of his originals, and it never gets old. He has music that can be bought. Go Here. They give you an idea of the talent. Go and find his music and hear him sing "My Way," "Unchained Melody" and his takes on Queen. And for the holidays, take some time and listen to "The First Noel." The arrangement on this made it new, and powerful. It grabs you when you think it is over.