Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Event: "The 12 Days of Christmas" Tour 2010
Artists: Vince Gill and Amy Grant (Featuring Jenny Gill)
Date: 12/14/2010
Venue: Durham Performing Arts Center - Durham, NC

Just let me preface this entire review with one word - speechless. That's what I was for the majority of this outstanding show. There, I think that says it all, don't you? No? Well, ok then, let me give the details of the show to make you jealous that you weren't there.

I was expecting a show of Vince and Amy's "greatest hits" and what I got was anything but. When I walked into the auditorium and saw the stage set up with the Christmas trees, sparkling lights, "snow", and nearly a full orchestra of instruments, I knew this was gonna be something out of the ordinary and something I'd remember for a long time. I was almost like a giddy little girl waiting for the show to start. Finally the lights went down, the stage lit up and I was right, this was definitely going to be an extraordinary performance.

Amy Grant took the stage in an elegant blue gown and she looked absolutely stunning. Vince Gill came out just after Amy and looked as handsome as he ever has. I hadn't seen Vince perform since the mid 90's so this was a long time coming for me and just seeing him made the wait more than worth it. Vince, in his usual charming way, started immediately cracking jokes about how his pants were too big and he didn't want this to turn into "another kind of show" if he didn't get a safety pin! He had to keep pulling his pants up the whole show, it was classic Vince.

Amy started the show with her own unique version of "Jingle Bells", not the typical boring carolers version but the jazzed up version that's on her 2007 "Christmas Collection" cd. She also brought along her own collection of "jingle bells" from home and handed them to 3 people in the front row to help her when she needed that extra jingle throughout the night. Amy and Vince took turns singing most of the night and a few songs they performed together. Amy Grant has one of the most beautiful, flawless voices I've ever heard in a live performance. When she sang her first notes, the Christmas spirit really took over the room. She picked up her guitar and Vince picked up his and they did an absolutely breathtaking duet of one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Tennessee Christmas". Vince performed "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and that was the first time a Christmas song had ever come close to bringing me to tears. What an amazing song by one of the best vocalists of all time. Vince doesn't just sing a song, he tells a story. They performed a few more songs including "I'll Be Home for Christmas", "Jingle Bell Rock", "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", "Grown Up Christmas List" and a few others before taking a break during a quick 15 minute intermission.

The second set started and I couldn't wait to see what surprises were in store to wind up the evening. It started out with Vince and the band playing "Linus and Lucy's Theme from the Peanuts". It was awesome! Vince seemed to own the first part of the second set. He brought the entire sold out audience to total silence (and some tears) with his rendition of "A Cradle in Bethlehem". I was afraid I was gonna start crying and wouldn't be able to stop. Vince really knows how to tug at the heart. He and Amy sang "Baby, It's Cold Outside". When they sing, you can really see the honest love between them, whether it be from the way they watch each other perform, the playful banter between them, the way Vince would walk over and kiss her when the lights would dim, how he took her hand and they would dance while the band played, or how he wrapped her up in the fur blanket she brought onstage with her. I think the most obvious sign of love was the song that Vince wrote about Amy called "The Red Words". It hasn't been released yet, but when it is, if it doesn't hit #1 then there's something wrong with the listening public. The song spoke about her as a woman, a friend, a wife and a mother. It compared her importance in his life to the "red words" highlighted in the Bible, the most important parts. It was so nice to see a couple in love like that. Amy did one of my new favorites, "I Need A Silent Night" and then did an emotional version of "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)" and you could almost envision Mary herself as Amy stood singing on the darkened stage beneath the rays of the spotlight.

The last song I heard before leaving (I had to get home earlier than I wanted to) was my favorite song of the night, a duet between Vince and his daughter, Jenny, who was also one of the background vocalists. When Jenny was 11, she sang "Let There Be Peace on Earth" with Vince on his multi-million selling Christmas cd, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". I was lucky enough to see them sing this favorite song of mine together tonight. It was stunning. Jenny has become an amazing vocalist in her own right and to hear those voices blending was wonderful. I think Jenny got a bigger ovation than Vince did!

If this show should happen to come to your area, all I can say is if you're a fan of either Vince, Amy or just want something to make you remember the reason for the season, don't miss this one. Here is the remainder of the tour dates, get your tickets NOW. Our show sold out rather quickly.

Fayetteville NC @ Crown Theatre

Greensboro NC @ War Memorial Auditorium

Concord NC @ Cabarrus Arena

Atlanta GA @ Fox Theatre

Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium

Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium

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