Sanctus Real @ Grand Canyon University Arena

Christianity wants to change your life and make you feel born again, and rock 'n' roll wants to change your life and make you feel born again. Contemporary Christian Music, then — that's the genre's full name in the trade papers — isn't quite so strange a chimera as it looks the first time you see a capacity crowd waving cell phones and crying a little and not trying to have sex with anybody in the band. Arena-pop rockers Sanctus Real show just how fine the line can be between their two evangelisms: Their biggest hit is a cover of U2's imprecisely spiritual "Beautiful Day," and when singer Matt Hammitt says "The Devil just won't let me forget" — when he asks for You to forgive him — he's just a couple of capital letters away from the oldest rock subject matter there is. Sanctus Real is probably too explicitly Christian to sway fans of secular uplift-rock — they're the kind of CCM band that will swear to God but never swear to god — but in an arena circuit that treats us to regular dissertations on sexual ethics from the members of Mötley Crüe, it's probably reductive to single these guys out for their philosophical predispositions. Every rock show is a revival on some level, even if this one's actually a revival.


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