Thursday, June 7th, fans including myself waited outside the Ford Theater in the Country Music Hall of Fame for, in what our opinion (the fans), is the biggest must attend event of the year….the Vince Gill Fan Club Party. Personally I look forward to it all year. It is not everyday that you and about 200 other fans get to sit in an intimate setting to swap stories, ask questions and hear songs from a multi-talented, award winning Hall of Famer. The greatest part of all is you would never know you were in a room with such a “Star” so to speak. Vince Gill is the most down-to-earth talent in country music and that single fact is what makes an event like this so incredibly extra special for his fans. He told us he has always known God has blessed him with the gift to play and sing and THAT is special, but he also always knew that does not make him special or any different than us. He never feels like he is a big deal and his down home behavior surely shows just that.
At 4:00 we were allowed into the theater and to our surprise we were treated to some food. Outside the theatre they had prepared hot dogs for us along with the fixings; some chips and drink. We took the food inside, excitedly found our seats and chit chatted all the while anxiously awaiting Vince. At 5pm it was time. Out from the back he wandered in with a smile on his face and a guitar in his hand. In typical Vince fashion he kindly welcomed us, thanked us for coming, and laughed as he said, “As usual I have no plan whatsoever.” This carefree laid-back attitude set the scene for the evening. Vince rolled with the punches from answering questions, telling us stories, even letting a fan come up and play “Pocket Full of Gold” on his guitar. In fact that was one of the many memorable moments of the afternoon. The man had a look of shock and awe on his face as Vince handed over his guitar and the spotlight. When he finished the song he shook Vince’s hand and told him one of his dreams just came true. We even had a surprise visit from a local news personality, Jimmy Carter. He stopped by to ask Vince a quick question before quickly leaving prompting Vince to joke Jimmy had to rush off to get to Tim McGraw.
The afternoon was filled with fans shouting out requests and Vince playing them. In between songs he of course kept us laughing with his quick wit and humor. When you are in a room with Vince you feel like you are in your living room with an old friend. He shares stories in a way that both warm your heart and make you laugh. He told us about making the video with Rodney Crowell for “It’s Hard To Kiss the Lips Goodnight” in which they dressed up as women, and had us in stitches telling us about a night of Karaoke back in the day. I have been seeing Vince at live venues since I was 11 or 12 years old and I think I can speak for many long time fans when I say we look forward to his shows, not only for the singing and stellar guitar playing, but for the story telling as well. It was also really amazing to hear the things people had to share with him, from just simple thank you’s, to a song getting them through a rough time, to how his music has bridged friendships. You can tell that these stories mean something to Vince and he appreciates how his music has touched people’s lives.
While the stories and question answering were plentiful there was no shortage of music either! The Ford Theatre is an EXTRAORDINARY place to hear music and probably one of my favorite places ever. Just hearing Vince and his guitar in that room gives me goose bumps every time!! Ironically the first song requested was “Some Things Never Get Old,” which is exactly how us fans feel about hearing Vince perform. He got request after request from an 80’s song “Colder Than Winter” to his latest single “Threaten Me With Heaven.” He covered songs from 3 decades of his musical career. The party was all about the fans as we basically decided the set list. A fan requested every song Vince played. We heard “Guitar Slinger,” “When I call Your Name,” Look at Us,” I Still Believe In You,” “Nothing Like a Woman,” “Pretty Little Adrianna,” “Key To Life” and so many more. As usual his voice was spot on and his guitar playing darn impressive! Vince also shared some of the stories behind the songs. For example he told us how “Look At Us” was supposed to have a sad ending, but songwriter Max D. Barnes talked him into turning it into a positive song where the couple stays together. When you are a fan of an artist it is really a treat to hear where some of your favorite songs actually come from.
Just like all good things the fan club party did have to come to an end. Vince joked saying he could stay and hang out because Amy wasn’t home and he had no plans. However, the museum was closing and it was time to wrap up the party. I was lucky enough to be able to request “Bread and Water” and he ended the show with that and “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” Vince is known for his generous giving spirit and I can attest this attitude carries over to how he treats his fans. The party lasted 3 hours and then Vince stayed and shook hands and took pictures with everyone who wanted to. I feel so proud to be a Vince Gill fan. He treats people with such respect and kindness. The fan club party was 3 hours of fun that made memories I will NEVER forget. Thanks Vince!!!
CMTT Music Contributor