Vince Gill came to the beautiful Fred Kavali Theater in Thousand Oaks, California Sunday night. It was a 7:00 show and at 7:03 Vince strolled onto the stage in his un-assuming, laid back and relaxed style. No strobe lights or fancy entrance. None of that is needed for Vince to hold the audience in the palm of his hand for 2 hours and 20 minutes. The only special effects he needs are his amazing voice, excellent guitar playing, quick sense of humor and wonderful stories.
Of course, his huge library of hit songs helps as well. He does an amazing job of playing a wide range of his hits – the early ones, the big ones, the lesser known ones and a few from his awesome new album, “Down to My Last Bad Habit.” The best part to me is how he tells stories of his life and responds to comments from the crowd throughout the show. He talked about living in Thousand Oaks when he was first starting out in the music business. He made his first record over 40 years ago, but his voice and ability to entertain are as great as ever.
When someone in the crowd shouted for him to play “Go Rest High on that Mountain,” he responded by saying, “I worked my ass off to get these hits, rest assured I’m gonna play ‘em all.” Just one of the many times that the crowd roared with laughter. It’s great to see the love he has for entertaining his fans, playing music and the fact that he knows how blessed he is to be able to do it. When he played the song later in the show, he acknowledged the person who requested it and sent it out to his old friend Glenn Frey.
I was really happy to hear him sing 3 songs from his “Bakersfield” album. He talked about how Merle Haggard and Buck Owens were such influences on him and that he feels the Bakersfield sound was one of the best times in country music. He said that he didn’t really understand what “Fightin’ Side of Me” meant when he was younger, but he knew he liked it. He said he liked it even more once he got older and understood its meaning. He thanked the men and women who have served in the military before playing his spectacular version.
He also sang “Sad One Comin’ On” from his new album – a song that’s about George Jones. He talked about touring with George and Conway Twitty after he had his first hit song. He told us about George demanding to open the shows so he could be done and on his bus in time to watch “Matlock” on television. Vince did his best George Jones impression as he was telling the stories of the time they spent together. It’s stories like them that perfectly combine his wonderful sense of humor with his kind, warm and gentle spirit. The audience laughed, but could tell how sincere Vince was in telling the story of someone he admired so much. He grew to be close with George and was inspired to write the song after George passed away.
It’s great to see the respect he has for country music and its artists. George Jones sang a song called “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” and it’s clear to me that Vince has done a mighty fine job filling the shoes of the legendary artists of country music and now it’s Vince’s shoes that are going to be really hard to fill. Hopefully of course, he continues to put his shoes on stage and tour for many more years. Whether you’ve never seen him or have seen him 49 times, I can’t encourage you enough to go see him if you get the chance. You will be thoroughly entertained by the best country music has to offer.
We were lucky enough to have a meet & greet after the show. Most artists’ meet & greets are a long line and very fast, get your picture and move on. Vince’s however are much more relaxed. There were about 20 of us in the green room backstage and we sat and waited for Vince to stroll in. He walked around and greeted old friends and treated the fans just as we were old friends, too. He is every bit the gentleman off stage that he is an amazing performer on it.
One More Last Chance
Don’t Let Out Love Start Slippin’ Away
I Still Believe In You
Feels Like Love
When Love Finds You
Trying to Get Over You
Next Big Thing
High Lonesome Sound
If You Ever Have Forever in Mind
Look At Us
Take Your Memory with You
When I Call Your Name
The Bottle Let Me Down
The Fightin’ Side of Me
Sad One Comin’ On
Down to My Last Bad Habit
Reasons for the Tears I Cry
Go Rest High on that Mountain
Pretty Little Adriana
What the Cowgirls Do
Encore: Oklahoma Borderline
Whenever You Come Around
Written by Geoff Brown/CMM Contributor