After playing 15 shows in 21 days and charming his way through Canada, Phillip Phillips closed his Canadian Tour with an spectacular show in Vancouver, BC. Along the way, he proved he is an extraordinary musician and performer able to sell out shows and draw loving crowds wherever he goes. On Friday, he gave us his irresistible mix of strong songwriting, passionate playing and incredible musicianship that had the crowd on its feet from the first notes of the night.
Before performing at Rogers Arena, Phillip did an intimate performance and Q&A for a few fans in downtown Vancouver (I was one of the lucky contest winners!), but he was more than ready to rock with his full band when he took the stage later that day.
We made our way to the venue just before 7:00 pm, and as soon as we came in into Rogers Arena, I was impressed by the number of people outside and by the range in ages in the crowd, from teen girls wearing Phillip Phillips shirts, to twenty somethings, to middle age (and older) couples, to parents with young children. But once we came into the venue itself, it was only half empty. The theatre bowl arrangement of the arena seemed a little odd when I first saw it (and was deceiving on the venue’s map online; I really thought I would be much closer to the stage), but later I realized it was the perfect size for the show.
Seven thirty came fast and opener Twin Forks made it to the stage right on time. Their style is really a foot stomping, clap-along type of folk and by the end of their set they had the crowd energized, on their feet and clapping along to their songs. The sound in the venue was great, so my anticipation of Phillip’ set just grew that much more.
We did not realize it, but by the time Phillip walked calmly to take the stage the venue had completely filled out and the cheers that welcomed him were loud and amazing. He said hello and immediately launched into “Get Up Get Down,” the perfect high-energy song to start the show. It did not take long for Phillip and the band to go crazy and jam out so hard that we could not believe what we were hearing or seeing, and this was only the first song! But these guys came to rock out and that they did, with an incredible extended organ solo by Bobby Sparks on “Wanted Is Love,” a new extended jam after “Where We Came From” and “Shake Ya Ass,” and a perfect cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Digging In The Dirt” seguing into “Drive Me.”
People were ecstatic, with screams of “Phillip” and “I love you” every time there was a break in the songs. Phillip was incredible for beginning to end, with his crazy dance moves and furious guitar playing, there was no shortage of electricity the whole night. But Phillip did slow down in one of the most beautiful moments of the night: as he played the magical “Tell Me A Story,” the crowd spontaneously lit up with thousands of bright lights. With their phones held high, the lights in the crowd became the stars to the sun and moon of the song. It was incredible and moving and Phillip felt it too. And this is what I think I love the most about Phillip: his ability to go from an intricate and funky jam session with his band, to a quiet, introspective moment the next. The feeling and the emotion is always genuine.
Phillip closed his set with “Home,” but not before he teased us with his super sexy, super slow version of “Let’s Get It On,” throwing in some lines of Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” for good measure. The whole time, Phillip let each member of his band shine, with soulful solos by Errol Cooney, funky organ solos by Bobby Sparks, amazing bass by JJ Smith, sweet trumpet arrangements by Philip Dizack and insane drumming by Jason Thomas.
Many thoughts came to me as we waited and cheered for him to come back: how his show was not only about playing some incredible songs and music but also about celebrating the making of music-this is Phillip’s dream and we just get to be taken along for the wonderful ride. And despite Phillip being such a new artist, the amount of love and support the crowd was ready to give him was palpable; it was moving and exciting to see.
For his encore, Phillip did a powerful, chills-inducing rendition of “A Fool’s Dance,” the beautiful lyrics becoming alive as if we were seeing the show in a much more intimate venue. He finally closed the show with his famous “Thriller” cover. Although he did not talk too much during the night, Phillip did talk about food (what he had for lunch) and praise the crowd, telling us at one point that we were making him “want to come back.” I hope he does, soon. And that he felt our love too, it was really all around.
Check out the set list, and our and other fans’ videos and photos from the night!
Get Up Get Down
Where We Came From
Gone Gone Gone
Man On The Moon
Wanted Is Love
Tell Me A Story
Digging In The Dirt (Peter Gabriel cover)
Let’s Get It On
A Fool’s Dance
Photos/Videos by Sebastian Lavigna for PhillPhill.com