Monday, February 2, 2009

Amazing Grace

It was recently brought to my attention that, while I haven't been to many concerts in my lifetime, I have gone to the oddest collection of concerts. In order, I've seen:
  • Whitney Houston
  • Def Leppard
  • Amy Grant
  • Elton John
Weird, right? I've always known my taste in music is eclectic, but this takes it to a whole other level. My entire family went to see Whitney when I was in junior high... we were pretty high up in the nosebleeds and at some point my brothers Jim and Steve went looking for better seats. During a lull in between songs when things were relatively quiet we heard, "I love you, Whitney!" and we all looked at each other knowing immediately the voice was my brother Steve.

He didn't really love Whitney. He just wanted to be the guy to yell it.

Def Leppard was a total accident, and one of those times it was really good mom was busy and not at home. I was a freshman in high school and Steve was a senior... I got a call from my friend Lisa that she had just won tickets on the radio and if I could be at her house (that was 15 minutes away) in a half hour I could go with her. I ran to dad and asked if it was ok, and he did the "dad-shrug" and said sure.

It was only as Steve was giving me a ride to Lisa's house that I found out he had asked mom weeks before if he could go to the concert and she said NO. Not only that, he was supposed to go with Lisa's boyfriend. So here I was, three years younger than him, going to the Def Leppard concert and sitting with his friends after mom told him he couldn't go.

Dad learned to check in with mom after that.

Amy Grant and Elton John were both random concerts ... but were both ones I actually chose myself and not by accident. The Elton concert was just him on stage with a piano and I could go back and relive it every night he was so good. We had seats off to the side of the stage, and that man reached into a tub of ice and grabbed out a Diet Coke after almost every song. Honestly, I was waiting for him to accidentally belch in the middle of Crocodile Rock but, professional that he is, he held it together...

Obviously I didn't take advantage of my love for music before I couldn't sit through concerts anymore or I would have gone to a lot more of them over the years. But there have been a couple of times when my brother Steve and his wife Patience have gone to concerts and he's called me so I could listen in through his cell phone. Usually you can't hear much over the crowd screaming, but there was one Billy Joel concert where the sound was so darn clear that I spent half the night singing along to the phone while listening to his classics.

It was a night I was incredibly grateful not to be on Candid Camera.

This past Friday night the phone rang and I couldn't get to it, but when I checked my messages I heard none other than Chris Tomlin singing Amazing Grace. Now that's a phone message you don't delete right away. My sweet friend Jenny had gone to the concert and held up her phone, leaving me a five minute message so I could enjoy the concert with her.

Have I mentioned to you all lately that I have the coolest friends?

So, I'm no Chris Tomlin. And I never did concerts. But I did have the opportunity to do a few recordings that I've told you about before. So, close your eyes, pretend I'm on a cell phone and imagine I'm letting you listen in on a concert from my past. Here's a little a cappella Amazing Grace, sung by me a long time ago, to start off your week:


  1. Ron Burgundy and I went to Chris Tomlin too - it was awesome but the cell phone pics don't do him justice. Suffice it to say I cried through the entire song. I can't get your audio to play :(

  2. Great post! Loved the line about not being on Candid Camera. How nice of your family and friends to "take you along" with them.

    Would love to hear you singing Amazing Grace but I cannot get it to play.

  3. Beautifully sung.

    My very first concert was Billy Joel. The last one I attended was in 2003 to see The Eagles Farewell Tour #3 or #4, I think. I've seen the NewsBoys and Third Day about 10 times each.

  4. You and Anita are sharing a brain this Monday morning! I must be doing something wrong, is the link supposed to be after the post? It's not there. I did click on the link to Breath of Heaven, but can't find Amazing Grace...I'm pretty sure it's me.
    Love it that you saw Elton John! I've always wanted to see him. My daughter Stephie used to go see John Mayer at these little venues in Atlanta when she was in highschool, before he got really big, one night Elton John came onstage and played and sang with JM! Steph about died, she's a huge Elton fan :)
    This was fun because I love to hear people's choice of music, it's a little window into them...

  5. ps...I'll be back later to try again :)

  6. I will bring over my DVD of my favorite Bon Jovi concert very soon. We can sing our hearts out together!!!!

  7. Very Beautiful. Dylan and I listened as we had our oatmeal. He was intrigued.

    The part about your brother yelling at Whitney made me bust a gut. That's hysterical.

    My concerts are quite eclectic some are: Tiffany, Boys 2 Men, Destiny's Child, Janet Jackson, Alabama, Folk Festival featuring Patty Griffin, Creed, Bush, Dave Matthews, Dixie Chicks, and Sheryl Crow to the name the ones I could think of.

  8. Thanks for starting out my week so well! I'll listen again a few times through the week! I was cheering for the Cardinals and I'd say they played a great game. Hope your week is a good one. Love ya! And, I can see that shrug and nod and hear, "OK, honey!" from your dad!

  9. Sara - one more item for you to sell. You really should start a "cottage industry". T-shirts, painted plaques, recordings. Think about it!

  10. Your brother leaving the phone on for you to hear the whole Billy Joel concert made me tear up just a little. You have an amazing family.

    I love, love, love your voice. You've got a sophisticated, soulful sound. I get lost in the richness of your voice. Beautiful.

  11. Absolutely Amazing - what a way to start my morning! Thank you for sharing. Gay

  12. Every time I hear a different song I hear a different quality in your voice. Beautiful, Sara, truly rich and resonates deep within. I too will come back and listen time and again this week.

    Would you believe not only is Elton coming in May, but he is performing with Billy Joel!!!! I am so beyond excited, Rick is working on tickets as I type!

    Prayers for you today with this fluctuating weather it must have your head in a spin so I am laying it on thick for you just in case!

  13. Hey, guys... sorry I didn't realize there was a problem until now; I'm a little late getting up to the computer today.

    I opened it in different browsers and I'm guessing the ones that are having the problems are using Internet Explorer. It sometimes doesn't accept the code as well, so I went into the browser and re-embedded it. It should work now... if you have any more problems, just let me know.

    Sorry about that!

  14. Absolutely beautiful! :) Maybe you should start a "Song of the Week" post! That would be sweet! I'm all for it and I know I'd have lots of other followers!

    Oh, and thanks for the e-mail. I got it figured out and didn't lose any of my stuff...Yipee! I was relieved, I'll tell ya that much!

    Thanks again, Sara! You're the best!

    Jess :)

  15. How cool is that! I've been to a few concerts over the years:

    Christian concerts -

    Dallas Holm & Praise (junior high)
    DeGarmo & Key
    Mylon LeFevre & Brokenheart
    Michael W. Smith (twice)
    Petra (probably my favorite)

    And then the others ....

    Rod Stewart (a friend asked me to go with her - those soccer balls he kicks into the audience were pretty cool!)

    James Taylor (a girl I worked with won tickets and didn't have a clue who he was, so she gave them to me!)

    Jimmy Buffett (twice - my husband is a Parrothead!)

  16. Beautiful voice you have.. in many ways. Glad you use it for good.

  17. I've been to the Beach Boys, Chicago, Johnny Mathis, Jack Jones,Ferrante&Teicher. I love Amazing Grace. Do you know who George Beverly Shea is? He just celebrated his 100th birthday. He traveled with Billy Graham. When he sings gospel you really feel it allover and especially in your heart. Yes, I am older than dirt!

  18. Another beautiful song for my collection. I have the Judy Collins version, which is mostly a cappella. I think your version is sung with more emotion.

    When can we expect to see your video on YouTube?

    A great thing about living close to NYC is that I have had the opportunity to see so many great singers and groups in the clubs their.

    I haven't been to many outdoor concerts but did make it to "The" concert, Woodstock. The Who, Santana and Janice Joplin were incredible.

    Listening to the music was great. Being dirty, muddy, hungry, high on pot, and sleeping a car for three days was not so great.

    It is one of things were our memories of the event are a lot more fun to relive then it was to actually experience it, at least for me.

  19. You really have a gorgeous voice! That is a difficult song to sing, especially a capella. You can sing at my funeral (no joke). My hubby laughs that my funeral will be so long with all the songs I want that they will have to serve lunch DURING the service!

    Thanks for blessing us with Amazing Grace. And yes, I cried :)

  20. Wow and amazing..

    Whoa.. seriously.

    God is really speaking to me today through music..

  21. i'm totally jealous about you and elton john.

    how funny because the post i just finished writing that will go up tomorrow is about james taylor and i concert i went to once.

    i'm going to chris tomlin at the end of the month.

    i just love reading your posts, gitz. =)

  22. i love that your brother "brought" you to the billy joel concert via his cell phone. and that your friend left you an amazing-grace-filled message.

    you are loved indeed. and you are SO worth it.

  23. Wow, that was beautiful! I think "Amazing Grace" is one of the most difficult songs to sing, and you nailed it!

    I'm not a big concert goer either, but I do have fond memories of the bus trip my friends and I would take every year to see John Cougar Mellancamp (back when Cougar was part of his name). It was always so fun to get lawn seats in the outdoor theater and just sing and dance like fools : )

  24. Absolutely beautiful - I have tears in my eyes.

  25. Holy cow,'ve got some pipes!

  26. You have a beautiful voice! :) thank you for sharing! that is one of my favorite songs.

  27. I, too, have a very "eclectic" group of concerts that I have been too, but until about 10 years ago, my only concert was "Milli Vanilli!" (Girl you know its true...they are the ones who lip-synced the whole thing). Thankfully my husband thought that being my only concert was pretty pathetic, so he has helped me broaden my horizons just a bit.