Phil Vassar is quite a talent on the piano. With hits like ‘Carlene’, ‘Just Another Day In Paradise’ and ‘A Real Love’ he’s shown us what he can do with the ivories and his voice. That’s nothing compared to seeing him in person. Vassar put on an impressive show at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Va. when he came there December 5, 2012.
The Birchemere is a semi-intimate performance space with dinner. The audience is seated in an area that’s about a third-of-a-warehouse-sized which is crammed full with tables. Some of these tables are communal; eight seats apiece allowing for larger groups, or fans to form new friendships over their shared admiration of the performer. Vassar used this dinner bar atmosphere to the advantage.
Vassar hopped up on stage and, after remarking how Christmassy it was, told the audience that he didn’t have a set list. He’d just play what we wanted, so, “What’d you like to hear.” Folks started shouting out tunes of his and Vassar remarked, “You guys are shouting out my songs. Great. Always a good thing when that happens.” That set the humorous tone for the evening.
Vassar was very easygoing in his concert. He showed the audience that he is not only a great songwriter, singer and talent on the piano, but also a very funny guy as well. He related stories of fans. Most frequently, he said, they often confuse the title ‘Carlene’ with Charlene – “’Yeah, I love that Charlene song, man.’” He also related the story of the man who gave him a dollar to play the “Pair of Dice” song for his wife who was celebrating her birthday. “Pair of Dice? I’m not sure I know that one.” Vassar replied to the guy. “Well, you wrote it.” Vassar asked the guy for a little more info on the song; something that may help ring a bell. “You know, the one with the kids yelling and barking dog.” “’Oh’” Vassar told the crowd, “Just Another Day in Paradise. I kept his dollar for that.”
Vassar played these hits and more. I didn’t even know that he wrote Jo Dee Messina’s hit ‘I’m Alright’; one that brings back some early days of my learning to two-step. Vassar added to the Christmas theme by singing some standards and finished the night off with ‘Piano Man.’ It was a very entertaining show by country music’s own piano man.
If you’re looking for a good night of entertainment and good music, I suggest you see if Phil Vassar is coming to a venue near you.