Country star Phil Vassar performed from the Northern Lights Casino Events Center on Saturday night, Feb. 22 which happened to be the same weekend as the town of Walker Minnesota’s internationally known Eelpout festival; a festival now in its thirty-fifth year about a highly decorated slimy fish from the waters of Leech Lake. Whether it was the festival or Vassar that drew them out, people came out in droves to see the country singer who seemed just as excited as they were as he took the stage. One group even drove over four hours to see Vassar said they have been to every show. Vassar told the crowd he didn’t have a set list but rather took requests for a majority of the night.
Vassar performed several selections from his greatest hits record, and the crowd loved every minute of it. Vassar, who is also a phenomenal pianist, had some amazing interludes that he played as he talked between songs. It was refreshing to see an artist engage an audience the way that he does. A lucky fan was allowed on stage to perform with Vassar during a performance; however, this same fan decided to return later on in the show unannounced and join Vassar on the stage. Tour personnel had to gently remove him, and Vassar didn’t miss a beat.
Vassar performed a little over an hour and twenty minutes. He performed a few covers from Tim McGraw, “My Next Thirty Years,” “ Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors,” and talked about “getting neckid” (naked) in a hot tub as it was a rather chilly Minnesota night. Vassar followed that up with “I'll Take That as a Yes” (Hot Tub Song). He also performed some of his biggest hits like “Just Another Day in Paradise,” “That’s When I Love You” and “In a Real Love.”
Vassar was the perfect combination for fellow eelpouters to come out to the events center and enjoy some great music and maybe even warm up a little before heading back out on the ice to resume festivities.