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I Got To Play Piano for Phil Vassar at the Taste Of Country Barbeque Nationals [VIDEO]

I guess that sums it up.  That’s the end of my blog.  Nothing more to say.  (Actually, there’s alot more, but I am still tongue tied and in total shock at what went down!  I will try to give you the quick backstory though)

I attended the first ever BBQ Nationals Event at the Saratoga Gaming and Raceway yesterday  with Dorrie and our good friends the Dickies and the Shulmans.  I was told up front by the big bossman, Jake Thomas, that I would have introduction duties with the rest of the morning show to bring on the great singer/songwriter  Phil Vassar (right after James Wesley performed – he did an awesome job,  by the way).

So we went backstage and said our quick hello’s to Phil right after the fan meet and

phil vassar from side stage
photo by Richie Phillips

greet.  He was his typical friendly self, spending alot of time with the crowd and with us.  Then we got to go onstage and intro him.   That’s always a thrill, and I was totally content with that.

At the conclusion of the intros, I stood on the side of the stage, took a quick picture, and then went back to the tent to sit down with my “peeps”

Fast forward here to the end of Phil’s show, which was DYNAMITE as usual.  I get phone call from our very own Marketing Director ,Selena Dutcher.  I couldn’t make out one thing she was saying, so I requested that she text me.  The text said “get backstage quick for Piano Man with Phil”.    Say WHAT????  I dropped my chicken sandwich and BOLTED.  I’m not sure a Kenyan marathon runner could have gotten there faster!

I run up the stairs to the stage from the side, and who is meeting me there?  Phil!  He just finished his last song and was coming off to get ready for the inevitable encore (how could you NOT bring him back on?).   I yell to him, amongst the cheering, “I’ll play, you sing – OK?”  I WAS TOTALLY  KIDDING, BY THE WAY! I wasn’t expecting to play the piano FOR him!  But he answered “GREAT”.  The next thing I know, I’m out there with Sean, Casey, and  Scotty the Love Train Blaine as I sat behind this cool piano complete with drawings of John Lennon and Elton John etched into the casing.

Phil Vassar, Casey, Scott Blaine, Sean, Richie BBQ Nationals
photo by Tamilynn Wilson

What can I tell you about this experience?  It was just the coolest thing ever. I could literally feel how supportive everyone on stage and in the crowd was for me,  and I can’t thank you all enough for that.

My two hands held up fine, but my left leg was shaking uncontrollably for some reason!



Thanks very much to Tamilynn Wilson for this photo.  And also, do to the quick thinking of good friend Ruthi Shulman, we do have what just MIGHT be the only video clip of this event.  I like a total doofus left my camera in the car, so I’m eternally grateful for anything I could get.

So there you go.  I hope I didn’t bore you with the sordid details, but that’s how it unfolded.

One more thought- There aren’t many artists who would take a chance and disrupt their tightly produced routines to let an unknown just get up there and play.  It’s a testament to HIM, folks, not me.  Phil has been so nice to us from the first time he ever visited the Capital Region.  I’m sure he’s like this no matter where he goes, and I sincerely hope it comes back to him in spades throughout his career.   Being up there was like a “Day in Paradise“.  Here’s to your “Next 30 Years, buddy!”

Check out his newest releases and more information on the Phil Vassar website.



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