January 29, 2011
Venue: Winstar Casino
Review by Larry Robertson
Photo by Marilu White
There's just something about Vince Gill that puts a smile on your face. Maybe it's the way he picks the guitar. Or perhaps it's his beautiful tenor voice. Then again, maybe it 's the way he makes the audience feel like they are a part of his family as he talks to them between songs. Whatever it is, rest assure whenever this Country Hall of Fame member opens his mouth, you're going to end up with a grin on your face.
It has been some five years since this native Oklahoma son released an album. Then again, when your last effort has 43 songs on it covering four discs, you have a good excuse for taking your time on your next project - which for Gill means a new release some time this Spring. On this Friday evening, however, the sold-out crowd at the Winstar Casino didn't care about the future - they wanted Vince to take them on trip through his past. And memory lane is exactly where this top-notch amateur golfer took the audience, even going back to his Pure Prairie League days to sing the classic, "Let Me Love You Tonight." And it was 'love', both from the audience and Gill himself that became the pervasive theme throughout the night.
There are three things you notice about Vince Gill almost immediately. First off he's tall. Second, he never wears a Cowboy hat, and third, he's one hell of a guitar player. His easy banter with the crowd is also reflective on how 'in-tune' and perceptive Gill is of his audience. There's a reason this multi-Grammy Award winning artist hosted the prestigious CMA Award show for 12 consecutive years. His easy and somewhat playful chatter had the crowd laughing throughout the evening. On somber occasions, his reflections could bring the audience to tears. Gill's story about how his brother's death helped him finish the touching "Go Rest High on the Mountain" didn't leave a dry eye in the building.
To say that Gill is a hopeless romantic would be a classic understatement about this gifted musician, who literally made a career out of analyzing the broken heart. Some of the most important songs of his career, "Whenever You Come Around," "I Still Believe in You," "Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away," "The Heart Won't Lie," "One More Last Chance" and "Tryin' to Get Over You," had the same moving affect today as they did when they helped put Vince on the map.
One thing that often gets overlooked about Vince Gill is how brilliant an overall musician he truly is. Without a doubt, the 6'3" picker is one of the finest players in the world. He put his considerable skills on display throughout the night to the delight of those in attendance. I should also mention that comedian Gary Muledeer did an exceptional job warming up the audience before Vince came on to do his thing. All said, this was a great evening of entertainment all the way around.