Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 81° Partly Cloudy
News >  Features

Vince Gill Cranks Out Hits To An Appreciative Audience

Vince Gill Thursday, May 1, Spokane Arena

Vince Gill, making his guitar sing like his own plaintive voice, played a whale of a concert Thursday night at the Arena.

The tall Oklahoman and his talented band never missed a beat, cranking out hit after hit. The powerful and full sound seemed like a recording session, and, indeed, it’d be a shame if Gill and company don’t release a live album one of these days.

When the curtain went up, there was no doubt the crowd was in for a night of big music. There stood 11 musicians - five on various stringed instruments, two on keyboards, one on steel guitar, two on full drum kits plus a backup singer.

And the set behind them looked like a slow spot in the road with its weathered cafe and gas station, telephone poles, gas pump, Route 66 marker and High Lonesome Motel sign. You could almost smell the dust.

Gill even looked the part, in bib overalls with an unbuttoned flannel shirt hanging over them and a couple days of stubble on his face. But his music proved he’s no Goober.

On the heartfelt ballad “Worlds Apart,” Gill showed his mastery of nuance and subtlety on the electric guitar, playing some notes so soft and delicate they seemed like a whisper before building to a shout.

Switching instruments between almost every song, he then grabbed an acoustic guitar and showed the strength of his voice on another slow number, “Tryin’ To Get Over You.”

Gill put the spotlight on one of his veteran band’s top players on yet another big hit, “Look At Us.” John Hughey - who spent 20 years with Conway Twitty, Gill said - made the steel guitar cry in a rousing solo that brought cheers from the crowd. “That’s country,” Gill said.

When Gill launched into “High Lonesome Sound,” the title track of his latest album, the motel sign light went on, and like all his songs, the live performance was stronger than the recorded version.

One of the best Gill solos came on the rocker “Oklahoma Borderline.” He smoothly worked the frets up and down the neck of the guitar while banging out the notes.

Gill, flashing the peace sign in appreciation of the crowd’s cheers, also played rousing versions of “Pretty Little Adriana,” “One More Last Chance,” “Jenny Dreamed of Trains” and “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away.”

As the evening zipped along, Gill played fewer ballads and hit the rockers hard, especially during the encore when he finally got the crowd to its feet. “Down to New Orleans,” “I Still Believe In You” and “Better Think Twice” were just a few of the numbers Gill and band belted out.

On the bluesy “One Dance With You,” Gill apparently forgot the lyrics and laughed before starting over.

As the clock neared 11 and Gill had been on stage for almost 2-1/2 hours (and almost an hour into the encore), he called out his opening act, Bryan White, to help sing “Liza Jane.”

White opened his set with one of his big hits, “So Much For Pretending,” and had some in the crowd screaming as if The Beatles had been reincarnated. The 21-year-old poster guy, bouncing across the stage, had some girls near the stage offering their version of the wave.

Though a bit heavy on the bass, White and his band put out a good set that certainly warmed the crowd for the masterful Gill.

, DataTimes

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.