Mark Humphrey, AP
"I've been screaming for my Predators (Nashville's professional hockey team, which is currently in the NHL playoffs)," he explained. "I've got my playoff beard going too," he added, rubbing his hand over the stubble on his face. It is hockey tradition to grow a beard when the team makes it to the playoffs. No shaving allowed until the team is eliminated (or wins!).
Vince, who was very chatty during the three-hour concert in Nashville, also admitted to the audience that he has a bad habit when it comes to hockey, one that almost got him into trouble recently. "I always yell stuff at the referees about their calls," he admits. "There is this one referee that is particularly easy to yell at. One night I started yelling at him about some call, and he heard me. The next thing I know, he's looking at me and motioning for me to come down on the ice. So I'm thinking to myself, 'Did you have to piss off one of the baddest referees in the league? And now he wants you to come down on the ice where he is!'
"So I did what anyone would do, I started laughing at him," continues the notoriously humorous star. "Then I'm motioning and telling him I can't come down because I can't skate. At this point I'm thinking, 'Doing something to make this guy mad enough to call me out on the ice might be one of the dumbest things I've ever done'."
Vince told Tuesday's audience that he had hoped wife Amy Grant and their daughter, Corrina, would come down for the show. "I guess the fifth grade is very hard, because she's at home doing homework," he explained of his youngest child, then continuing somewhat ruefully, "The truth is, Corrina is at home eating pizza and watching the Preds play the Red Wings. I've made a hockey freak out of my 11-year-old daughter!"
Apparantly someone in the audience was keeping up with the game, as well, because about an hour later a fan yelled out, "The Preds won!" Vince acknowledged the news with a wide grin and a "thank you."
The country legend invited many of his friends to join him at the concert, which raised money for the Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee, including famed songwriter Don Schlitz, John Anderson, Becca Bramlett, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris and big band drummer Duffy Jackson. The Time Jumpers, the group Vince plays with every Monday at Nashville's Station Inn, also joined for a few songs. "These are some of the best pickers anywhere," Vince said, introducing the group. "The reason I love playing with them is I can be just a musician and I don't have to talk between songs!"
Vince announced that he has a new album coming out this fall with the Time Jumpers.