By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — When country music superstar Vince Gill was with the pop band Pure Prairie League in the early 1980s, one of his big hits was “Let Me Love You Tonight.”
Tuesday night at the Elkhart County Fair, that love was returned to Gill by a large crowd that came out on a cooler-than-usual fair summer night to hear Gill perform.
Gill opened his set Tuesday night with one of his biggest hits, “One More Last Chance.” He followed that up with “Take Your memory With You When You Go.”
Gill’s third song of the night got a special introduction from the artist. Gill told the adoring crowd it was one of his first hits as a solo artist. “I’d made records for years, but I couldn’t prove it because nobody had them,” he joked.
Gill and his band then segued into “When I Call Your Name,” the title track of his 1989 album.
Gill’s songs had a special meaning for at least two of his fans.
Mark and Norma Bond of Elkhart have been married for 20 years. Tuesday night, their trip to the fair included their first time getting to see Gill in concert.
“Look at Us,” from Gill’s 1991 album, “Pocket Full of Gold,” was the Bond’s wedding song.
The Bonds were especially looking forward to possibly hearing their song Tuesday night.
Both Bonds have been Gill fans since his early days, Norma Bond said as she and her husband perused a stand with Gill merchandise on the track.
“It’s very special for us to get to see him at the fair,” Norma Bond said.
Melody Eash, also of Elkhart, had seen Gill peform live twice before: once at the Morris in South Bend; and another time at the Honeywell in Wabash.
But as a big Gill fan, she didn’t mind seeing him again Tuesday night at the fair, and even paid extra for the track seating.
Eash said she can’t really pick out one favorite Gill tune.
“They’re all good,” she said with a smile.
Gill has sold more than 26 million albums. He’s earned 18 Country Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year in 1993 and 1994.
Gill is tied with George Strait for winning the most CMA Male Vocalist Awards (five). Gill is second only to Brooks and Dunn for garnering the most CMA awards in that group’s history.
In 2007, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.