On March 28th, Phillip Phillips wrapped up his Canadian tour in Vancouver. The American Idol winner turned multi-platinum-selling recording artist embarked on a three week trip across the country to perform hit songs from his debut album, The World from the Side of the Moon, and to promote his new single, “Raging Fire” from his forthcoming sophomore record, Behind the Light.
Thanks to Vancouver’s Shore 104, lucky listeners were treated to an Intimate & Interactive acoustic set/Q&A session with Phillip before his big show at Rogers Arena that night. Accompanied by guitarist Errol Cooney, Phillip performed “Man On The Moon”, “Where We Came From”, “Raging Fire“, and “Gone, Gone, Gone“, and the two masterful musician didn’t hold back from escalating into a full-on jam session in the hotel lobby of the Fairmont Pacific Rim, much to the wonder of the enthralled audience and curious passers-by.
In between songs, Phillip answered questions submitted by the crowd, prompting him to talk about his musical influences (guitar-driven rockers like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton inspired his musicianship, while 90s singer-songwriters drove him to take up writing his own music and lyrics), how his parents’ upbringing has kept him grounded (sharing a funny story about how his dad pushed him to do well in school by threatening to sell his belongings in his family’s pawn shop), what he likes to do in his spare time (watching dark television dramas like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Dexter, and doing activities outdoors – but maybe not playing frisbee as much…), and life-changing experiences in his career thus far (American Idol, touring with John Mayer, and opening for Mayer and Bruce Springsteen at the massive Rock in Rio festival last September). His down-to-earth humour and humbleness certainly made for an intriguing interview.
As well, Phillip also divulged some details about Behind the Light, which will be released on May 19th. This new album, which was put together in seven weeks, will be more mature, more heavy (but not too heavy), more rock influenced, and more technical (with more intricate instrumentation) – overall a true evolution of his musical sound.
Opening for Phillip’s headlining concert was Twin Forks, a charming new Americana-folk band fronted by Chris Carraba (of Dashboard Confessional fame). The group of five’s delightful set featured songs from their self-titled debut LP, including “Kiss Me Darling”, “Cross My Mind”, “Ghost”, and “Back to You”. You can request the band’s free EP by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Phillip hit the stage at Rogers Arena to wild reception, and he encouraged everyone, from the floor to the stands, to dance and have a good time. Throughout the night, I was amazed and impressed by how much he has grown as a performer since I last saw him on the American Idol tour in 2012. Back then, I saw hints of the prowess that Phillip unleashed during his own live show, which showcases his rootsy singer-songwriter vibe with rock-and-roll and jazz influences.
Phillip is supported by a mind-blowingly talented band, and together, they created an authentic and atmospheric vibe with non-stop music, which was incredible to experience. On “Get Up Get Down“, “Drive Me“, “Man On The Moon“, and a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Digging In The Dirt“, the musicians elevated the songs with lots of crazy good jamming and solos from each of the band members. Phillip also kept things fresh by mashing up snippets of popular rock and rap songs into his best known hits, such as mixing in the chorus of “Shake Ya Ass” with his third single, “Where We Came From” (Wait, what? But trust me, it works!). The anthemic first single “Home” was preceded by an jazzy and sensual interlude of “Let’s Get It On”, “I Got A Woman”, and “Sexual Healing. You wouldn’t think these songs would mesh with “Home” at all, but it fascinatingly does! By incorporating this element of surprise to his show, Phillip really shows the versatility of his songs and his creative aptitude. Rounding out his setlist were crowd favourites “Gone, Gone, Gone“, “Raging Fire“, and “Wanted Is Love“, and the encore included my personal favourite song, the deep and moody, “A Fools’ Dance” and an Idol throwback, “Thriller“.
A very cool and unforgettable moment occurred during “Tell Me A Story“, when the audience spontaneously illuminated the room with flashlights from their phones (as captured in this Instagram video). It was breathtaking and beautiful to see the love from all around the arena. Clearly, his phenomenal talent and commanding passion resonated with fans and captured their hearts and loyalty as they visually pledged allegiance to the American artist. Phillip can consider himself an honorary Canadian now, and he is welcome to come back up north anytime!
Get Up Get Down
Where We Came From / Shake Ya Ass
Gone, Gone, Gone
Man On The Moon / Give It Away
Wanted Is Love
Tell Me A Story
Digging In The Dirt (Peter Gabriel)
Let’s Get It On / I Got A Woman / Sexual Healing / Home
A Fool’s Dance