Phillip Phillips much awaited summer tour got underway last Friday, July 14th at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. Phillip will be touring the entire summer in support of the Goo Goo Dolls Long Way Home Summer Tour 2017.
As it does for most of the dates on the tour, the ticket for the Shoreline show included an option for a VIP Meet & Greet experience. The whole event was superbly organized. After signing in at the VIP sign in area, people who had tickets for the meet and greet were taken to an area backstage where a tent and a small stage had been set up. As we made our way backstage, we could hear Phillip and the band doing the sound check, which only added to everybody’s excitement. Thankfully, we only had to wait a few minutes before Phillip and Dave Eggar, cellist and musician extraordinaire, made their way to the stage and sat in the two chairs that had been placed for them there. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was no official radio sponsor and that Phillip and Dave were basically in charge of how the show and Q&A would unfold.
A piece of paper had been taped on the floor in front of Phillip’s chair with a selection of questions from fans – we had been asked to submit them prior to the event online. But Phillip ignored the sheet and simply told us if we had any questions and people just went for it asking whatever came to their mind. In true Phillip fashion he soon had us laughing with his funny answers. He also asked us what we wanted them to play to which someone yelled “Man on the Moon” but he couldn’t play it because he didn’t have his capo. After another suggestion which he also couldn’t play – the capo again, I yelled “Miles,” a new unreleased song that I’m in love with, and that’s what they played finally!
Phillip and Dave Eggar have been playing together for the best part of the last five years and doing these type of acoustic shows must be like second nature for them. The whole event was very informal, relaxed and cool as a result. After playing “Gone Gone Gone,” Phillip answered a few more questions and then took the time to take pictures with everybody. I highly recommend getting these tickets if you can afford them, it was a wonderful experience.
Anybody who has attended a live music event knows that there is no sweeter moment than the second before a show starts, and with the sun shining right on the stage, the warm summer air on our skin and the notes of “Man on the Moon” making their way through the air, that moment on Friday felt like a wonderful dream. It’s no secret that Phillip has faced some difficult times recently and to see him right there on the stage doing what he does best was a beautiful sight for my eyes. As always, it took no time for Phillip and his band to mesmerize us with their energy and musicianship as they did when they launched into the extended outro for “Man on the Moon.”
By now Phillip has enough songs, in addition to an entire catalogue of brilliant covers, to easily put on a two hour plus show. However, being in the opening slot meant that Phillip had to compress his set list to fit 40 minutes, not an easy task for a band that is used to jamming on almost every song. Still, Phillip did a great job mixing many of the hits like “Home,” “Gone Gone Gone” and “Raging Fire,” with his new songs. Of the eight songs he played that night, three were new unreleased ones. All three were also highlights. I don’t know how else to explain it but maybe it’s just that Phillip is feeling these new songs. “Magnetic” was extra sexy, with Phillip taking his time with the lyrics and stretching his vocal range to places we have not heard him go before. New guitarist Jonathan Asperil was really great on it as well, taking over from where the amazing Nate Mercereau left with the song’s guitar solo.
I have already mentioned “Miles” as a new favourite and on Friday I had the pleasure of hearing it twice, once acoustically and once full band. On this tour, both Dave Eggar, and trumpet player Joel Behrman are filling in on keyboard. On “Miles,” the addition of these keys was beautiful and made its yearning tone all the more heartbreaking. I am obsessed.
Other amazing moments of the night were a new jam on “Lead On,” lead, appropriately, by bassist Court Leonard, back with Phillip on this tour, and the show closer “Don’t Tell Me.” Debuted by Phillip last summer, “Don’t Tell Me” is a funky number that helped to display Phillip’s great writing ability – it’s a perfect sing along song – as well as his and his band musical talent. I loved the horns by Joel Behrman at the end and just the overall grooviness of the whole song. Finally, I have to mention that Jeff Randall on drums was great, with a clean style that just gave the right touch to each of the songs.
I would dare to say that this is one of the best, most cohesive shows I have heard from Phillip and band: there was just an overall mellower sound, but really intense, sensuous feeling to the entire set. Though I’m sad to see that regular band members were absent this time, this new configuration sounded wonderful.
They say time flies when you are having fun, and it certainly did last Friday. As I clapped along to “Raging Fire” and “Gone Gone Gone” I looked around and saw the many fans that came expressly to see Phillip — a cute mom and daughter duo, a really nice lady sitting next to me who sang along the whole show, a 92 year-old fan whose bucket list wish is for Phillip to release his new album — and I thought, it’s OK, he will be back and we will be back too. As long as Phillip keeps touring and playing music, we will be there, we will keep coming back — for the magic and for the music.
Phillip’s tour continues on Thursday, July 20th in Fargo, ND. Click here to see all the upcoming dates! And check out some videos from the Shoreline show as well as the full show audio below!
Featured Photo: Rockin Ryan.
YouTube videos by Priscilla MacRae and Vanessa Sutter, Steve Leigh and PhillPhillcom.