Dallas For an evening of philanthropy, Vince Gill is a logical choice for a headliner.
Apart from his prowess as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, the Oklahoma native is also one of country music's most tireless humanitarians, a generous soul who gives freely of his time and energy.
But Tuesday night, the gifts were strictly for those fortunate to be in attendance. The Meyerson Symphony Center played host to the 12th annual benefit for the Dallas-based LaunchAbility (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year).
Billed as "A Special Evening with ...," the event was hosted by Alliance Data and emceed by former DFW sportscaster Scott Murray. After a few awards were doled out and promotional videos screened, Gill and his seven-piece band took the stage for a wide-ranging, 80-minute set.
Gill, who recently canceled a few shows owing to ill health and a brief hospitalization (the first time he's done so in almost 40 years, he said Tuesday), seemed raring to go from the opening moments, as he lit into the classic single One More Last Chance. The mood would occasionally turn sober -- "There's not nearly enough cheating songs in country anymore; everybody's happy," Gill drolly observed prior to the mournful Pocket Full of Gold -- but the 55-year-old singer-songwriter never let the shadows linger too long.
Apart from his effortless, achingly pure tenor, Gill showcased his formidable skill with six strings, knocking out a pair of sizzling solos (near the conclusion of Pretty Little Adriana and again near the end of his signature Oklahoma Borderline) that raised the temperature inside the stately Meyerson a few degrees.
His backing band, complete with two more guitars and pedal steel, was faultless throughout, ably blending with Gill's voice and creating a tasteful wall of sound behind him.
From gospel to "good ol' cheatin' songs" to gnarly guitar riffs, the masterful Vince Gill brought it all to Dallas, leaving an evening built around good vibes fairly floating on air.