Steve Bell performsl Steve Bell - A Night to Remember

- By John Iverson

Imagine experiencing Christian musician/songwriter Steve Bell live in an intimate concert setting with just his guitar. Now imagine this concert in the comfort of your very own living room...

This was the scenario on February 19 as a small crowd of about 25 invited friends of Steveís "Living Room" contest winner gathered to hear him perform in the cozy living room of their very own home. My wife and I were among the privileged guests that were invited on this night, and what we witnessed was a very unique and extraordinary concert!

The special guest arrived right on schedule with his guitar and a load of pizzas, eager to perform for the contest winning family and their friends. After a prayer and some good food, the stage was set for this exclusive performance. Steve mentioned that he had never done anything like this before, so the experience was a new one for him too. And absent on this evening was a script or set list, just a singer and his guitar taking requests from the more than willing listeners. Each song requested came complete with the story behind it, which was in itself an experience. There were stories of love, fear, discovering Christ, and even extreme rage. And these stories only served to make many of these heartfelt songs so much more special! Steve was very charming, sincere, and even witty at times in revealing to us the accounts of his life, and the resultant songs that were produced as he navigated through his entire life and career. This is a man who has traveled down lifeís path with many varied experiences, both good and bad, and he conveys these accounts with much emotion, love and compassion. He has definitely found his niche in the music world, and it shows in everything he has achieved and strives for.

Steve began the night with John Michael Talbotís Magnificat, my own request and personal favourite. He explained how when he first heard this song he had never heard John Michael Talbotís music before, but was captivated and awestruck by the beauty and reverence of this song. He revealed how this song played a significant role in his decision to become a Christian musician, a turning point of sorts. And I can truly say that he performed this song with beauty even beyond my expectations. Steve also performed the song Jenny, a story about a young girl who was the daughter of a family he was living with when he first started his music career in the bar circuit. He told of how he met up with Jenny some twenty years later at one of his concerts in Vancouver, and was able to sing the song for her, an obvious special moment for him. He talked about his fatherís life as a prison chaplain, and explained that it was when he lived in Drumheller, Alberta as a young boy that the prison inmates taught him how to play the guitar in the chapel of the prison where his dad worked. He then played the song Drumheller Circle, which evolved out of those experiences. When someone asked him to perform the song that meant the most to him personally, he obliged by playing Burning Ember, an exquisite piece of songwriting that was superbly performed. We were also treated to a song that he has yet to record, despite the fact that he wrote it some time ago, and many other requested songs, both vocal and instrumental.

Possibly the most emotional story and song of the evening was the one about his foster daughter, and the many ups and downs of that father-daughter relationship. Steve vividly portrayed what events took place after his foster daughter left their home, the extreme rage that he experienced as a consequence of what subsequently happened to her, and the astounding dreams that he had as a result. He revealed how these dreams finally relieved him of this intense anger. Steve concluded the concert with one of his most requested songs, On the Wings of an Eagle, which served as a beautiful sing-a-long involving everyone present.

I think that I can speak for everyone who was there in saying that this was an extra special and very touching concert, complete with an added personal touch courtesy of Steve Bell. It is an event that all of us will forever cherish, and most certainly retain fond memories of. In my opinion Steve is a true artist, and he shared with sincerity his amazing talents to a most appreciative audience. To have had the opportunity to not only experience the music and words of such a gifted musical artist in an intimate setting like this, but to have rubbed shoulders with him as well I would have to consider an extreme privilege. Steve Bell is definitely one of Manitobaís greatest treasures!

Bravo Steve, and thank you!


(All photos on this page © John Iverson)
Steve tells the story...
Steve tells the story...
...and performs the song
...and performs the song
Jennifer and John with Steve after the concert
Jennifer and John with Steve after the concert


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