For the best part of the last six years, Phillip Phillips has been on the road. And for the best part of those years, Phillip has toured with his wife Hannah Blackwell by his side. This year, his small touring family was expanded, when Phillip and Hannah decided to bring their beautiful boxer Izzy to join them on the 43-stop Magnetic Tour.
When we go to the movies, we agree to suspend our disbelief and let ourselves be told a story. When we go to a concert, there is a contract between artist and audience to be open, be vulnerable and share in a special, ephemeral moment. In his recent stops in Seattle, WA and Vancouver, Canada Phillip Phillips more than fulfilled his part of this contract, performing a mix of old and new songs with a beautiful combination of masterful skill and passionate abandon, his heart fully open. Though the back to back shows were completely different in energy and mood, both were a reminder of the power of live music to elevate us from the everyday into the joyful and the extraordinary.
Phillip Phillips is in the middle of his Magnetic Tour in support of his third album Collateral. And even though Phillips has toured nearly constantly for the last six years, this tour has special significance. Freed from the legal troubles that weighed on him since early 2015, the tour represents, in a way, a new beginning. While is impossible to say that his shows have ever been anything less than electric, there was in Phillips a new boldness and self-assuredness that was evident not only in his singing and playing, but also in his command of the audience, making us laugh one minute, sing in perfect unison the next, and be in tears a few minutes later at the end of the song.
Accompanying Phillips this tour is a multi-talented, brand new group of musicians, which have given the music its own 2018 flavour: the incredible Jeff Randall on drums, Jared Jackson on bass and trumpet, Elliott Blaufuss on keys and saxophone, and the low-key but powerful Evan Penza on guitar. Phillips’ voice has also never sounded better, pushed to new heights in the soulful “Magnetic,” the magical “I Dare You” and the ever moving “Miles,” which has been bookended by the most delicious jam from the start of the tour. With three albums to choose from at this point, Phillips has been creating rich set lists that even without my favourite “Man On The Moon” (missing both nights) were full of highlights during the shows this past weekend: from a fiery cover of “Thriller” as the opener in Seattle, to a heartbreaking “What Will Become of Us” in Vancouver, and wonderfully fresh and electrifying performances of “Gone Gone Gone” and “Home” in both shows. Special mention must also be made of the incredible light design for this tour, a beautiful display of candy-coulored set pieces that perfectly accompanied each sound and mood.
The Ballroom Thieves, from Boston, MA, opened both shows and were spellbinding in their own right, with songs reminiscent of old mariner’s tunes and country laments at the same time.
As Phillips has been doing for the entire tour, he performed a couple of songs before the shows as part of a VIP Meet & Greet experience. Listen to the audio of the acoustic shows and take a look at some photos from Seattle, below!
Phillip Phillips’ tour continues tonight at The Fillmore, in San Francisco, CA and continues until April 14 with a last show in Chattanooga, TN. Visit Phillips’ official site to get your tickets!
All photos and audio by PhillPhillcom.
There is a reason why Phillip Phillips fans are travelling far and wide to see his shows: they just keep getting better and one is never enough. But this time Vancouver fans didn’t have to go very far as Phillip came back for the second time in just a few months to play the opening show of the PNE’s Summer Night Concerts series.
Casual fair goers and fans started to gather at the PNE’s West Jet Amphitheatre early in the evening to wait for Phillip, who made his way to the stage just after 8:00 pm. There was no opening band, so the fans quickly got what they came to hear, a full 1 hour 40 minutes set that included songs from both his albums and some of his most famous covers.
“Let’s dance and have a good time!” Phillip told the crowd as he unassumingly took the stage, the sun still shining behind him. He then launched into “Searchlight,” the opening track from his new album Behind The Light and then into the energetic “Get Up Get Down,” two of his most upbeats songs. But as the evening turned into night, Phillip took us to a few darker and deeper places as well, and we were just as happy to follow him there too.
It’s a well known fact by now that Phillip has assembled an insanely talented band, and that his shows are as much about beautiful storytelling as they are about pure and simple jamming. That was on full display at the PNE show. To single out any instrument would be almost unfair, but last night both Bobby Sparks on keys and organ and Errol Cooney on guitar really elevated songs to special new places. Particular mention goes to “Trigger,” which was incredibly moving with delicate touches from Cooney and lush dramatic effects from Sparks. The best part was perhaps a new cool and intense jam at the end of the song; this is after all what some fans are coming back for, show after show. The incredible Jason Thomas on drums, JJ Smith on bass and Joel Behrman on trumpet and trombone completed the band, each shining at many different times during the show. Through it all was Phillip with his boundless energy and electricity, which never detracts from his impeccable delivery and authentic emotion. He is a true captivating and magical performer.
Phillip played the hits (“Raging Fire,” “Gone Gone Gone”) as well as his new “official” single “Unpack Your Heart” (“whatever that means” he told us with a laugh), the incendiary “Fly,” and my all-time favourite “Man On The Moon.” In between songs, new quiet and atmospheric intros or outros kept us guessing and falling deeper into the night’s spell. And in a repeat of last time’s most magical moment, the Vancouver crowd once again lit up with hundreds of lights to accompany the beautiful lyrics of “Tell Me A Story,” which Phillip made even more special by adding some lines from “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
As if all of this wasn’t enough, Phillip closed his set with his “Lollipop” mash up, a virtuoso blending of covers by Lil’ Wayne, Led Zeppelin, Eminem and DJ Khaled that drove fans into a true frenzy of pure musical bliss. By the time he came back for his encore with the haunting “A Fool’s Dance,” there is no doubt that Phillip had the crowd on the palm of his hand. Of course, he closed the show with “Home” and led us to sing along with him for one last time. We wished we could have kept singing all night long.
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Check out some photos and videos from the show, as well as some pics of Phillip’s cool Meet & Greet earlier that day.
Get Up Get Down
Man On The Moon
Gone Gone Gone
Unpack Your Heart
Tell Me A Story
Where We Came From
A Fool’s Dance
Thank you Claudia, Janet, Melissa and Linda.
Featured photo by Joanne.
After three weeks of heavy touring across the country, Phillip Phillips finally made his way to Vancouver, BC last Friday to play the last show of his first ever Canadian tour. But before his highly anticipated show at Rogers Arena, Phillip took the time to do a very special Intimate and Interactive show, sponsored by Shore 104.3 FM. Only 50 fans were allowed to attend the event, and you had to win your way in. I’m happy to say, I was one of those winners!
The event took place at the beautiful lounge inside the lobby of the Pacific Rim Hotel in downtown Vancouver. There was a small lineup to enter and everybody was assigned a numbered wristband. Despite not being the first in line, I could not believe it when we got seated right in front of the chairs were Phillip and his guitarist Errol Cooney would play!
At 1:30 pm sharp Phillip and Errol came out to big cheers from the contest winners. They wasted no time, and after a brief intro jumped right into “Man On The Moon.” If you have ever seen video of these acoustic performances, you know what an unbelievable treat it was to see Errol and Phillip just jam out on that intense extended ending and then do it all over again on “Where We Came From.”
The 50-minute event was a combination performance and Q&A, and the audience was able to submit the questions they wanted to ask. Despite Phillip’s famous nerves, it was great to see that he has become a relaxed and natural storyteller, and he made us laugh more than once with his stories. He told us a funny one about the time his dad was concerned about his grades. He told him he needed to get better or he would sell all Phillip’s belongings at the family’s pawn shop. Sure enough, next semester when Phillip’s grades didn’t improve, he came home to find out that everything in his room was gone. “Did he sell the stuff?” “No, he didn’t sell it, but he scared me!”
Phillip also talked about the new album, Behind The Light, whose May 19 release date and title were announced only hours before Friday’s event. He joked saying that he hopes people will like it, but still if they don’t, that he hopes people will just “buy it, and buy it again!” He also said that the album will be “more mature,” musically “more technical” and “heavier overall,” and that he hopes it’s “cooler than the first one.”
Throughout the Q&A, it was clear that despite not taking himself very seriously (he is very humble and funny), Phillip takes the music and the creative process very seriously, talking about how much he has learned through the recording of his two albums and about how he wants his music to truly represent him always. Amazingly, my question was picked during the Q&A, but I was so excited they had chosen it, that I think I failed to capture his whole answer. I asked about what other influences he has besides other musicians, such as stories from movies or TV shows and books. He said that he does get inspired by movies and shows (and talked about his favorite TV shows The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad) which may result in some darker or stranger music that may not necessarily make it to the album, but that he may play live.
Phillip’s singing was as intense and soulful as I had imagined it would be, his playing incredibly skillful and graceful at the same time. And Errol Cooney is just an unbelievable guitar player, providing the perfect support and solos to Phillip’s ambitious arrangements and ideas.
It was, without question, the most perfect, incredible performance and event. Not many people get the chance to see a musician they admire in an intimate setting like this, so I’m thankful to Shore 104.3 FM for putting together this very special event and for Phillip for taking the time to do it. It’s a beautiful memory that I will cherish forever.
Check out the set list and exclusive video and photos from the event below!
Man On The Moon
Where We Came From
Gone Gone Gone
Photos/Video by Sebastian Lavigna
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