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An Evening with Phil Keaggy

March 29, 2010

Not long ago I shared with you my excitement of getting to see Phil Keaggy in concert. So last night was the night! I was excited to share the boy’s first concert experience with them, and share the evening with Russ.

We left early and I was getting groans from the small ones about it, but I’m so very glad we did. When we arrived at the venue, I realized that this was the same church I saw him eight years ago at. We were some of the first ‘fans’ to arrive, but within minutes, the hallway area was packed with folks waiting to get in. We ended up being second row center – a far cry from behind the back pillars at the back of the church position I had last time.

Phil came on stage and started sharing his life. Last night was the anniversary of his Mom’s Going Home celebration and his Second Birthday (coming to know Christ) so it was a special night for him. He did a sort of Phil retrospect..starting back in the pre Glass Harp days and worked his way up through the years. When he sang Maker of the Universe, I cried. Yep..I did. It’s the first time I’ve heard him sing it in public, and it’s the most beautiful song. I’m still in awe of his talent. The man knows how to play that guitar! Watching him play, and listening to how he uses the sampling machine to record parts to play back while he’s playing can make it sound like he’s got a whole band behind him. The boys got a huge kick when he sings into his guitar to record a background vocal – they thought that was so funny.

Here’s his set up:

After the brief intermission, he came back and took a few requests mixed in with planned songs. As folks were shouting out requests….Connor requested Strong Tower, so I spoke up a bit, and Phil heard us, and said, Yes..Strong Tower – who said that? So I pointed to Connor and Phil smiled. “This is for the boy in blue…from your Uncle Philly”. So, he went on to play Strong Tower, winked a few times at us, while Connor and I sang along. Connor kept giggling and grinning and bouncing in his seat. I looked over at Russ to capture the moment with him and saw Aiden in his lap while they were singing along to the chorus. After Phil was done and the clapping subsided, Phil looked at Connor and said, “If I can make a boy that happy by singing a song, it was worth the trip!”

He shared more with us during the evening about his family, his desire to be a grandparent more than to his son’s new puppy, and his love of Christ. He did mention that it was weird for him to be in such a crowd when he’s been used to singing in coffee houses and small venues in Nashville because no one goes to concerts in Nashville anymore with all the performers there. He played How Can I Thank You, What a Day, Shades of Green, Olivia, Salvation Army Band, Here comes the Sun, a Bob Dillon song I didn’t know (I’m sorry Veda, I spent more time watching him play than listening to the lyrics to tell you), ended the night with True Believers, then for an encore did Let Everything Else Go and Rich Mullins’  Hold Me Jesus (and yeah, a few tears escaped me again – I’m lame). I know he did more, but they’re escaping me now (should’ve written down the set list as he played). All in all, a wonderful night with a man who admits that it’s not him playing that guitar, but God playing through him. What a night!

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