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Fans enjoy Vassar's 'slice of life'

Friday the 13th wasn't bad luck for Superior when Phil Vassar played a high energy outdoor concert at Shooter's Saloon. "I was very impressed ... he was a great performer," said Nikki Kapala, 26, Proctor. The night opened with Michael Scott and h...

Friday the 13th wasn't bad luck for Superior when Phil Vassar played a high energy outdoor concert at Shooter's Saloon.

"I was very impressed ... he was a great performer," said Nikki Kapala, 26, Proctor.

The night opened with Michael Scott and his band, Shooter's veterans. They offered country tunes like "Fishing in the Dark" with a sprinkling of old rock, then threw Frisbees into the crowd.

The Menomonie-based D-Boys followed with a mix of popular country and classic rock 'n' roll.

After an equipment change which added a baby grand piano, Vassar entered to the cheers from the audience an hour later than anticipated.

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Wearing jeans and a gray t-shirt, he performed for the crowd of about 1,000 people. The playlist consisted of his greatest hits, including tunes he wrote but were made famous by other singers. "Little Red Rodeo,", for example, was made popular by singer Collin Ray, while JoDe Messina sang "I'm Alright."

"They were entertaining and constantly interesting ... they mixed the old and new songs well," said Jeremy Perret, 24, of Duluth.

A simple moment in his life gave Vassar the words for "Just Another Day in Paradise." The singer overslept, he told the crowd, and woke up to find the washing machine had overflowed.

Crowd members appreciated Vassar's slice-of-life tunes.

"They're not about, my wife left me, my dog bit me and my tractor broke down," said Angela Wuollet. "His songs are about everyday things that everybody can relate to."

Vassar explained his new hit, "This is My Life," was inspired by the high price of gas. The pump jumps made him angry, he said, and he felt it was time to let corporate America know. The audience cheered in agreement.

The weather, Vassar said, was perfect for hot tubbing as the clouds cleared and a light breeze blew.

The crowd packed all the way up to the stage, with one young lady climbing up and getting escorted off by security. The band members seemed amused by the incident.

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Vassar walked to the edge of the stage many times, touching the outstretched hands of the audience. If he noticed someone trying to take his photograph, he stopped and waited for them.

The audience -- a mix of ages -- sang along with Vassar hits such as "Bye Bye," "My Next Thirty Years," "American Child," "In a Real Love," "Six-Pack Summer" and "I'll Take That As A Yes."

In addition, the band performed classics such as "Drift Away", AC/DC's "Shook Me All Night Long" and "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith.

"I loved it," said Tiffany Czeczok, Duluth.

To the delight of the audience, Vassar stayed on the stage an extra 20 minutes, playing a total of almost two hours.

"We were spinning like tops to serve beer," said Alisha Burger, an outdoor beer tent worker.

"All in all, completely worth it," said Perrett.

Andy Saari, owner of Shooter's was pleased with the event and said he would probably schedule others.

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