I will be honest with you; I have started this and stopped it all week, just could not find a way to piece it together without using the same cliché’s about a Phil Vassar concert. I wanted something different but my thoughts always led back to: two nights…two great shows. Add more clichés of fun, energetic, robust, crowd pleasing and never disappoints.
Rodeowave artist Phil Vassar shared two nights with us in Southern California making his first ever appearances at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill’s, April 9th in Rancho Cucamonga and the following night, April 10th in Oxnard. His shows never cease to stir excitement and he always delivers. Opening up both nights of sold out shows with upbeat new music, “American Soul” allowed him to set the pace and draw the crowd in. The interaction he has with his fans from the stage is endless during his string of hits such as, “Carlene,” “Little Red Rodeo,” “Six-Pack Summer,” “I’m Alright,” “Just Another Day In Paradise,” “American Child” and I believe the most requested song, “Take That As A Yes (Hot Tub Song).” He slows it down a bit allowing you to catch you breath with, “Last Day Of My Life” and a song he co-wrote with Skip Carusoe, “Sound Of A Million Dreams,” which was used by country artist David Nail as the title song for his last album release.
There is never a real true set list, Phil just asks the crowd what they want to hear and he goes with it. You know there will always be the “foundation” songs but no two shows are the same and that is part of the excitement and element of surprise in each show. Thursday night he played pretty much all the familiar songs, but yet on Friday he took some out and added an older mix with “Amazing Grace,” and “Save Tonight For Me.” The standard closer is nearly always his own rendition of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” which never grows old. The intensity in the way he brings the piano to life throughout each show is something else that never gets old; I could sit in a room and just listen to that for hours given the chance.
We feel special when Phil and the crew come out west since we know it is such a long haul, it makes us appreciate them even more. What I have found most endearing throughout my years of shows is fans who are seeing him for the first time. They know most of his music but yet are still surprised when they hear one and say, “Oh he does that one too.” Some to this day think he is doing a Jo Dee Messina, Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw song but soon learn it’s the other way around. Each night I had folks ask me if I had seen Phil before and if so is he good in concert. I give them a resounding YES and each time have been thanked and told I was right. Now that is a great feeling. The shows always keep your mind off things for a few hours, allowing you to have some fun, bust a move you may not have used in awhile, and at the same time never wanting it all to end.
Phil Vassar will always make you part of his show, will always make you feel special and most of all will always give all he’s got so you can walk away thinking, “Yes given the chance I will see him again.”