Vince Gill celebrates 25th Opry anniversary

 

 Juli Thanki, jthanki@tennessean.com 10 a.m. CDT August 14, 2016

 

When Vince Gill got his first invitation to play the Grand Ole Opry, he declined because he had another gig that night: playing guitar for his daughter Jenny’s performance at her first grade talent show. Luckily, the Opry called him back.

On Saturday night, Gill celebrated his 25th anniversary as a member of country music’s most beloved institution.

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For his special night, Gill was surrounded by friends and family “who are beyond dear” including musical hero Bill Anderson, Rodney Crowell, Patty Loveless, Andrea Zonn, Amy Grant, Jenny Gill and the Time Jumpers.

Early in the show, Gill mentioned how much it meant to him as a young artist when the singers he admired were kind and welcoming to him: “You can’t imagine the difference it makes,” he told the crowd. Fittingly, also performing with Gill on Saturday were two stellar artists he has taken under his wing: Ashley Monroe — who traded one-liners with Gill during their playful duet “You Ain’t Dolly”—and Charlie Worsham, who contributed solid rhythm guitar and harmony vocals all night, then delivered an exceptional rendition of “The Key to Life.”

Loveless’ stunning performance of “Go Rest High on That Mountain” brought the audience to its feet, and Crowell’s rollicking “Oklahoma Borderline” had them tapping their toes. Throughout, Gill's sweet tenor and self-deprecating humor captivated.

It seemed as though nobody onstage wanted the night to end. As a result, the show ran long by almost an hour, although the fans inside the Opry House didn't mind. For the final song, "Liza Jane," Gill, backed by his Western Swing band The Time Jumpers, invited all of the evening’s performers to help him close the show: as one of country music’s most frequent collaborators, he knows that stages are best when they’re shared.