Prime Cuts: Love in Any Language, The Ballads Medley, Forever Grateful
Overall Score: 5/5
39 years ago, Sandi Patty released her debut album. According to the omniscient Wikipedia, Patty has released 40 albums, this is not counting her copious compilation projects. Having been awarded 40 GMA Dove Awards, five GRAMMYs, four Billboard Music Awards and selling over 12 million albums, Patty is one of the most celebrated singer in CCM. Right from the 80s into the 90s, Patty could do no wrong. Every song she released was a sure fire hit giving her lots of frequent flyer leverage to the #1 position. Augmenting or perhaps even heightening her popularity are her live shows. When Patty sings live, she really astounds. This is because the CCM icon doesn't just sing: she puts her heart and soul into every show making each one a truly memorable event to remember.
However, at age 60, feeling the toil of the years and with a growing desire to spend more time with her grandchildren, Patty had announced her retirement from touring more than a year ago. Embarking one last time on her one final "Forever Grateful Tour" (with 110+ dates), Patty took the opportunity to say goodbye to her legions of fans. Thanks to Gaither Music, for those of us who couldn't make it to the live tour, we now have the opportunity to enjoy Patty live one more time.
"Forever Grateful: Live from the Farewell Tour" captures for us 15 songs that Patty performed across this lengthy tour. Looking at the track list, this is by no means a "greatest hits" tour. Even if Patty tries, there's no way she could squeeze a fraction of her hits into this 15 song-setlist. Therefore, she views the concert as a worship experience, where songs were chosen not so much to showcase her illustrious career. Rather, they were chosen because they helped her and her fans to worship. In this regard, you will find her singing not just her own originals, but hymns such as "We Shall Behold Him," "The Old Rugged Cross," "The Lord's Prayer," "Farther Along," "It is Well With My Soul," and even Celine Dion's "The Prayer."
What is refreshing is that she includes three selections from her latest (and hopefully not last) studio album "Forever Grateful." "Anthem of Praise" lives up to its titular. It's a powerful anthem of worship that finds Patty displaying her gorgeous range that have often led fans to affectionately dub her as "The Voice." Unless you have bought her last album, "Love will be Our Home" is perhaps the most obscure piece. But the song's most inspiring words about how love transcends our cultures and barriers certainly make this song an excellent follow-up to Patty's immortal "Love in Any Language." One of the concert's most touching moments is when Patty offers a tear-inducing piano-jazzy rendition of "Forever Grateful."
Fans who have come to hear their Patty favorites from the years are not disappointed. Thanks to her use of medleys, Patty does a quick run through some of her biggest hits. And they come under three clusters: her ballads, her duets and her praise medley. Most nostalgic and worshipful is her Ballads Medley, where she strings together "Upon this Rock," "They Could Not," "In the Name of the Lord," and "How Great Thou Art." If you want to know why Patty is a stalwart in CCM, listen to "Upon this Rock." Here she infuses drama, uction, and power altogether in this mountain moving worship piece. Nevertheless, what's missing from the disc is Patty's rendition of Beth Nielsen Chapman's "How We Love," which has been touted as one of the tour's towering highlights.
Though this record marks an end to Patty's touring career, one hopes she will still continue to grace us with more albums in the near future.