No frills from Vince Gill during extended, heartfelt performance in the Grand Theatre
There is always a build up to a band’s entrance at the beginning of a show by means of piped in music, smoke and lights. The band takes the stage and starts playing and the star comes out later to fanfare and applause. Whatever it is, there is always something… until Vince Gill. For this show at the Grand Sierra Resort, the band just walked out together in silence with no fuss.
That was a cool entrance.
With a simple, “Hi, how ya’ doing? Is everything alright?” the band started off with a very up-tempo “One More Last Chance,” complete with solos from Vince, and slide guitarist Paul Franklin. They followed this up with a Grand Ole Opry sounding “Take Your Memory With You” and a sad, slow “Tryin’ To Get Over You.” This was a nice opening salvo with three distinct rhythms and feels to them.
The crowd covered all ages, clear up to the very senior citizen group. There were more than a fair number wheelchairs and walkers. The point: Everybody loves music, it just takes the right star to get some people out.
Before “Pocket Full Of Gold,” (that would be, a wedding ring) he asked the crowd, “Is anybody out here tonight with someone you shouldn’t be? What a better place to sneak off to for the weekend. I’m only asking because I’m going to play a cheatin’ song… I don’t figure we would have needed all the gospel songs if it wasn’t for all the cheatin’ songs.” This was just a hint at his great sense of humor.
He also played the hauntingly beautiful jazz ballad “Faint of Heart,” which he wrote and originally recorded with Diana Krall for his album, “Love Songs.” Krall, coincidentally, graced this very stage just two weeks earlier. Gill nailed the smoky jazz genre with his writing on this. The piano and guitar solos make you feel like you’re in a dark musty bar somewhere late at night. When it was all over Gill said, “I need a drink. I wish I smoked!”
At roughly the half way point in the show, the band left the stage and Gill sat center stage by himself with an acoustic guitar, and spent close to an hour playing solo tunes and telling great stories about his youth and his father. It was entertaining and hilarious.
Late in the show during “I Still Believe In You,” the house lights came on because the fire alarm was going off. Around the room the sirens and strobes were going off, but you couldn’t hear them because the band continued to play. The show must go on! This continued for about three songs before somebody got things back in control. The band didn’t miss a beat.
Another standout song for me was “Pretty Little Adriana.” It was a slow love song that sounded as if it was about loss, packed with lots of emotion. The guitar solo in it sounded very reminiscent of Jerry Garcia.
The tempo and power of the songs ramped up as the show neared its end. He concluded with “What The Cow Girls Do” and “Oklahoma Borderline.” He came back for an encore and played high energy versions of “When You Come Around” and finally finished up with “Liza Jane.” The show was almost three hours long. His generosity with his time and his personal stories show what great character he has. You don’t get that too often these days.
I’d like to close this review out with a personal reflection generated by one of Gill’s stories about his father. He told of working in a pizza joint when he was young. He would close the place up at midnight. His would call sometimes and coerce him into making extra pizzas (with extra pepperoni) for fake customers and then bring them home afterwards. He said he still has visions of his father sitting there in his tighty whities at the kitchen table with a cigarette in one hand and a slice in the other. At first, I saw that image from his point of view. Later, I saw it from a father’s point of view (me being a father at 60 years old). I just hope my boys find some happy memories of me like that when I’m gone.
Thank you, Vince. For making me get a little misty eyed.
Jenny Gill Van Valkenburg – Vocals
Jeff White – Guitar
Tim Akres – Keyboards
Billy Thomas – Drums
Willy Weeks – Bass Guitar
Paul Franklin – Slide Guitar
John Jarvis (Guest)
One More Last Chance
Take Your Memory With You
Tryin’ To Get Over You
Old Time Fiddle
Pocket Full Of Gold
Never Knew Lonely
Some Things Never Get Old
Faint Of Heart
Old Lucky Diamond
Look At Us
The Fightin’ Side Of Me
– (solo songs)
-When I Call Your Name
-The Key To Life
-It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night
-Go Rest High On That Mountain
-I Still Believe In You
Love Starts Slippin’ Away
Pretty Little Adriana
What The Cow Girls Do
Whenever You Come Around
ABOUT Nick McCabe
Nick McCabe is a musician, photographer and writer from Reno. He is the editor of the music website Front Row Photo. He plays in a seven-piece band, Apothic.
Heavy snow falling around the Tahoe Basin with chain controls and/or closures on some roads. Snowfall rates up to 2 inches per hour with snow expected to last through the night. Check out @CaltransDist3 and @nevadadot for more information on area roads. #cawx #nvwx