Hed: Gill finds Bulldogs tough opponent, too
By Terri Tabor
The University of Connecticut Huskies weren’t the only ones to lose out to Mississippi State Friday night.
Country music artist Vince Gill played to a less-than-packed house at the Tupelo Coliseum due in part to the March madness involving the Bulldogs.
In November of 1994, Gill headlined a triple country bill including Larry Stewart and Trisha Yearwood in front of a sold-out crowd of 9,200.
But on his second trip to the coliseum, the two-time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year was welcomed back by a 6,713-member audience.
Although Tupelo Coliseum Marketing Director Betty Baxter said “second-time-a-round” concerts usually don’t sell as well, she credited the Mississippi State-U. Conn. basketball game as a prime reason for the lower turnout. “Even (Gill’s) crew is watching the ballgame,” she said.
While the Bulldogs were fighting off the Huskies at Lexington, Ky.’s Rupp Arena, Gill made himself at home in a garage-set stage in the arena of the Tupelo Coliseum.
Dressed down in a flannel plaid shirt and blue jeans, the eight-time Grammy winner received a warm welcome as he strummed out “The South Side of Dixie.” In his unmistakable tenor voice he continued with his own rendition of “When Will I Be Loved.”
Gill then gave the audience what they wanted to hear.
“Y’all beat the University of Connecticut tonight. Y’all beat them bad,” he announced. After moments of “dawg” chants, Gill shifted to a more serious mode with the tender ballad, “Tryin’ To Get Over You.”
Things have also changed for Gill since his last Tupelo stint. The country entertainer has increased his album and award collection with two Song of the Year Grammys and Best Country Vocal Performance for “Go Rest High On That Mountain,” and his recent “Souvenirs … 15 Greatest Hits.”
Gill’s song set included a collection of those souvenirs and others, including “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away,” “Which Bridge To Cross,” “What the Cowgirls Do” and “I Still Believe In You.”
With his pure, romantic voice and his guitar-loving hands, Gill delivered music that appealed to everyone.
Vince was joined in his garage by longtime friend and singing companion Patty Loveless, who has backed him up on “When Love Finds You” and “Go Rest High On That Mountain.”
Sporting a pastel blue satin jacket and black pants, Loveless took the stage singing her rhythmic “Tear-Stained Letter.”
With her squinted beam and welcoming small talk Loveless charmed the audience from the start. She got the audience clapping on a Appalachian bluegrass number from her childhood church singing days in Pineville, Ky.
Making her first coliseum appearance, Loveless’ song set included hits from the past, present and future, showing a playful side on hits like “I Try to Think About Elvis,” “You Can Feel Bad,”and “Lyin’ Cheatin’ Heart,” and a more serious side on dramatic numbers including “Here I Am,” “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am.”
The concert wouldn’t have been complete without Gill and Loveless together. The two teamed up on a couple of numbers, including “When I Call Your Name,” which won Gill a 1991 Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and “Song of the Year” by the Country Music Association.