35 years ago a good ‘ole boy from Oklahoma came to Los Angeles with a banjo and a dream. Fast forward to 2011 and that dream is now a reality. Vince Gill, one of country music’s most legendary performers had a homecoming of sorts at the historic Troubadour Theatre November 16th, 2011 in West Hollywood. “Sorry it’s taken so long to come back,” Vince joked with the crowd as he started his set. Back in the 70’s after graduating high school Vince moved to Kentucky for a year and then came to LA. He was playing with Byron Berline in a band called Sundance. When he was just 19 years old they played a gig at the Troubadour. Vince told the crowd that he met some of his heroes that night, including Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell and Guy Clark who Sundance was opening for. That evening was certainly a memorable experience for an up and coming musician. Now in true Vince fashion he paid it forward giving the crowd a memorable night of fantastic singing, guitar playing and story telling like only he can do.
Vince Gill is a true musician. He loves to play and sing, and it shows. While some artists come on the stage and give you a 90-minute set, Vince came out and played 2 hours and 40 minutes, no intermission and no opening acts. He played a great array of songs from his first big hit, “When I call Your Name” to some new songs fresh off his latest CD “Guitar Slinger.” On some of the up tempo songs such as “Sweet Thing” and “Cowboy Up” there were some incredible guitar solos.
Vince joked about giving up the banjo long ago because he was never really good at it. However, his guitar playing is absolutely superb. In such a small venue it was truly mind-blowing to get an up close look at Vince’s hands moving across those frets. At one point he joked that Amy (Amy Grant, his wife) says he can’t do more than 3 fast ones in a row. He said, “I didn’t have such a good doctor’s report. Too much cheese.” The crowd cracked up. Vince also got the crowd laughing with his stories about his dad. One story involved his dad’s idea about a song Vince should write. Unfortunately his dad passed before he had a chance to write it, but one day Vince and Rodney Crowell did sit down and collaborate. The result was the ever so hilarious “It’s Hard To Kiss the Lips at Night (That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long).”
As the night went along the hits kept coming. From “Look At Us” to “Pocket Full of Gold” Vince kept the audience completely captivated with his pure tenor voice. Vince also included the song “Real Mean Bottle” in the set. It isn’t as well known as some of his others, however it is an excellent song. He has been showcasing it on the road lately, and describes it as a tribute to Merle Haggard, one of his all times favorites.
There were also some other notable parts of the evening. Vince let a young man in the audience propose to his girlfriend during the show and she said yes! Vince also saw some old friends in the crowd that he waved to, including Dillon O’Brian who was a co-writer on “Threaten Me With Heaven.” Also, you can’t go to a Vince Gill show and not notice his amazing band members. A gifted musician such as Vince wants to play with the best, and he most certainly does. Dawn Sears, Jeff White, John Jarvis, Pete Wasner, Billy Thomas, Paul Franklin, David Hungate, and Tom Britt are all incredibly talented musicians. With them on the stage and Vince on lead guitar you’ve got live music at its finest.
The most poignant part of the evening was the song Vince chose to close with. He reminisced again about that night 35 years ago when he first played the Troubadour. He had covered a Rodney Crowell song that night. After the show Rodney came into the dressing room, smiled and said, “Who the hell are you? And what are you doing singing my song better than I can?” Vince said Rodney then came over and hugged him and told him they were going to be friends forever. This turned out to be true as Vince and Rodney have been great buddies ever since. In reverence to that night and that friendship, with heartfelt emotion Vince closed the night with “Till I Gain Control Again.” It was truly an amazing night that I will never forget.
CMTT Music Contributor
Click Read More to see the entire set list from Vince Gill’s Troubadour performance.
Vince Gill at the Troubadour Set List
“One More Last Chance””
“Trying to Get Over You”
“Take Your Memory With You”
“Real Mean Bottle”
“Pocket Full of Gold”
“High Lonesome Sound”
“Some Things Never Get Old”
“Look At Us”
“This Old Guitar and Me”
“Lucky Diamond Motel”
“Bread and Water”
“Next Big Thing”
“Don’t Let Our Love Start Slipping Away”
“I Still Believe in You”
“Pretty Little Adriana”
“When I Call Your Name”
“It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night”
“Threaten Me With Heaven”
“Go Rest High on That Mountain”
“Whenever You Come Around”
“Till I Gain Control Again”