I am going to go approximately backwards in my state fair round up for no other reason than the fact that the grandstand show stole my heart. Vince Gill introduced himself as “Mr. Amy Grant” and proceeded to give one heck of a headlining show, backed by a band of about 15 pieces, alternating between serious rocking and country ballads with some bluegrass thrown in for good measure. Vince was in fine form, and–just as I remembered from the last time I saw him–absolutely hilarious in his conversational moments between songs. I literally had tears coming down my face after his introduction of “Cowboy up” which I will not try to repeat here (clearly one of those “had to be there” stories); I do, however, highly recommend the song as one of the most fun, raunchy, driving-beat, you-know-what-to-do songs as I have heard in years.
Amy G. herself was formally on the bill as well, since this was advertised as the “friends and family tour” and it also included Vince’s grown daughter singing back-up vocals for him. But nothing about the concert was more touching than watching VG dote on AG. When he first introduced her, he said something to the effect of, “and now I’d like to bring up onto the stage the greatest human being I know, Ms. Amy Grant”. He kept referring to her as his beautiful bride, even though they’ve been married for 7 or 8 years already. This all can be expressed with words reasonably well, but what I can’t possibly get across by typing is the way those two looked at each other.
It can’t be just me, right? Every girl wants to be publicly and lavishly adored, right? And to adore back just as much… that’s the other thing that was so great about watching those two. The adoration and affection clearly went in both directions. They clearly and simply just really like each other, are happy, love each other, seem to have a great time together. There was a lot of criticism when these two ended up together, after their original marriages ended in divorce. (It was hard on her especially because of the Christian thing–don’t even get me started.) The fact that they had worked together on a duet years before the marriage only fueled rumours, and to her credit Amy said as much on stage, that looking back she probably fell just a little bit in love with Vince when they did “House of Love”.
Lest I continue down this mushy path, let me just add a little comment on the pure bluegrass sounds of the Del McCoury band, who were also on the bill. We noted at the time that the band was much younger than Del himself, and it turns out there is a good explanation for this: the banjo player and mandolin player are both Del’s kids!
I just bought the Ryan Adams-like 4-disc set of Vince Gill’s newest music and am happily listening to it back in England. I’m currently listening to “Faint of Heart” (although it was much better in person with Amy on the girl part than with Diana Krall who is not my favorite!) Summary and conclusions: at a full three hours long and packed with an almost amazing variety of well-played music, it was worth much more than every penny spent on the grandstand tickets.
Update: from listening to the CD set (well, iTunes of course! No actual CDs here…) every bit as sexy as “Cowboy up” is my new fave “The Rhythm of the Pourin’ Rain”… he did it at the concert but it was only in hearing it again that I listened to it more closely. What can I say… I clearly have a country girl in me