Country music has always had a flair for the dramatic, and nowhere is that more apparent than on Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul 2 Soul live show at the Venetian in Las Vegas. The couple signed on to do a second year of their show, which was one of the bonafide hits of the strip last year.
Hill and McGraw started a ten-weekend schedule at the Venetian in October that will run through April 11-12. This past weekend was their third to play for fans, and McGraw says the show was specifically planned for that audience.
"The whole show is put together for Las Vegas," he said. "When we put it together last year, it flowed so seamlessly. The toughest thing for us was the selection of the songs, and how to figure out the structure of the show."
Friday's show featured a mixture of hits from both artists, including "Breathe," "Live Like You Were Dying," "One Of Those Nights," and "This Kiss." Though they would typically leave the stage during the other's performance, both added harmonies during "Let's Go To Vegas" and "Something Like That."
Hill said that she loves the vibe of the show, which is very unique. "We wanted to bring the idea of an arena show into an 1,800 seat theater while trying to keep it as intimate as possible. That is the beauty of being able to play a room like this – it is incredibly intimate. You can hear the audience talking, yelling out things to us. It's been really enjoyable. We have an incredible band, and everyone who works on this show are the best at what they do. To have the opportunity to perform in a room that sounds as good as this room sounds, as a singer, to be able to hear that is so rare. When you get into a big room, it's difficult to hear all the nuances that are floating around the music that you're putting out there."
In one of the more intimate parts of the night, the two joined each other on stage and performed some of the songs that influenced them from years gone by. Among McGraw's picks were Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" and Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You." Hill dazzled the audience with classics from Jessi Colter ("I'm Not Lisa"), Tanya Tucker ("Delta Dawn") and Aretha Franklin ("Dr. Feelgood"). It was a sterling reminder that Hill is one of the defining artists of the country format, with her Delta bluesy delivery that hasn't been nearly as appreciated as it should be by the industry. Though Hill has been – and continues to be busy with family life in Nashville, one can only hope she releases some new music soon. She's just too good.
Of course, fans were elated when the couple performed some of their hit collaborations, and they didn't disappoint. From "It's Your Love" to "Like We Never Loved At All," the couple turned up the afore-mentioned emotional drama. The audiences lit up with each and every touch, look, and kiss. The show came to a close with a powerful version of "I Need You," where they re-created the format of the video from 2007, where the two sat in chairs facing each other, singing the lyrics to each other. What makes the musical pairing work so well? Mutual admiration, as ask one about the other, and the respect is evident.
Hill on McGraw: "Being on stage every night with what I consider to be the best entertainer in the world...Anyone can tell you who has stood behind on stage, he has this charisma and this unexplainable presence that exudes from the stage. It's magnetic and it's incredible. It comes from years of doing it, and he's definitely perfected his craft, but more than that, it's God-given. Some things just can't be taught. I feel like an amateur when I'm standing up there...I just run back to the band. He knows how to handle the stage and the audience so well. Every time, he blows me away."
McGraw on Hill: "She walks out, and just opens her mouth, and it just comes out so naturally...and soulfully. That's what keeps me on my toes with her – first off, knowing she's out there singing and people have to listen to me behind that. Secondly, knowing I have to go out there and sing with her. You can't fall down when you're out there singing with her, because she's not going to not bring it when she's singing. I just stay on the side of the stage and watch her sing. It's such a natural talent for her to open her mouth and sing perfectly, soulfully, and beautifully."
SHOW DATES FOR SOUL 2 SOUL
February 28-March 1