Alive Again: Matt Maher brings faith and energy into concert

Photo by Kathleen Loesel
Photo by Kathleen Loesel

Staff Writer

Students packed into the Finnegan Fieldhouse to see Grammy Nominee Matt Maher perform songs from his latest album, “All the People Said Amen.”

Maher performed alongside Pawn Shop Kings with hits including: “Turn Around,” “Flesh and Bone,” and “Alive Again.”

“Franciscan University has always had a special place in my heart, ” said Maher. “It’s great to be here, especially during the season of Lent, when we prepare to remember what Jesus did for us.”

Maher encouraged the audience to sing along and praise the Lord with him. Many students held their hands in the air with their eyes closed as they listened. Others sang and danced with the people around them while Maher and members of his band looked into the audience and chuckled.

Before playing a song, Maher would often stop and give a small narrative that related to the song, whether it was a story that inspired it or a description of the song.

“We don’t talk about the Holy Spirit much,” he said before playing “Burning in My Soul,” a song written for the Holy Spirit. “We talk to the Father and to Jesus, but not the Holy Spirit, which is weird because He is part of the sign of the cross. Without Him, it’s like the sign of the stick. It’s with His name, that we cross our hearts.”

After performing several songs, Maher left the stage to allow the spotlight to shine on the Pawn Shop Kings, whom Maher described as “kick butt musicians.”

Pawn Shop Kings is a duet of Scott and Joel Owen, brothers from Southern California whose music is influenced by The Beatles, Bob Marley, Staple Singers and Stevie Wonder. “We write about life, love, pain and God,” said Joel.

The Owen Brothers played with only an acoustic and electric guitar as they sang unique harmonies and stomped their feet.  They performed three songs including “Love Like Jesus,” and “Fall Apart.” When finished, the crowd cheered and admired their talent.

“Hey!” joked Scott. “We like you guys!”

When Maher returned on stage, he thanked Exicte! and announced a summer Steubenville Conference, similar to Franciscan’s youth conferences, on August 31 at Franciscan University, which will be hosted by Chris Stefanick.

He concluded with a new untitled song inspired by Psalm 22 that he hoped would be released with a new album in 2015.

“As a song writer, I am enamored by King David,” Maher said before beginning. “He was a sinner. He committed adultery, yet we still sing his lyrics every Sunday. It shows how merciful our God is and that’s awesome.” 

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