Reliving the Interstates & Tailgates Tour with Toby Keith and Friends
This job is cool.
No, for real. It can been frustrating at times, with long hours that seem never ending, always having to be 'on' with perkiness when all you want to do is crawl into bed. Then there are moments like the Interstates and Tailgates tour when all you want to do is find a solo cup and let loose! I was the first of the GNA peeps to get on location and it really was the calm before the storm. (Not to be confused with that ridiculous storm that overtook the Capital Region the night before! That was insane!) When you get to SPAC at 2:30pm on show day, it's pretty quiet but there is still a lot going on.
Walking from the performers entrance down to the backstage area, I've learned, you never know what to expect.
Example: at Miranda Lambert they basically had turned the loading area into a campground. It was super cool.
For Toby Keith, there were a lot of trucks and equipment cases strewn about in preparation.
Matty and I grabbed the GNA wheel for the live broadcast this go around and brought the backstage antics to life on the air. It was so hot outside it was nice to be inside where it was cooler, though that air conditioning unit was getting a little loud at one point so we turned it off - then instantly regretted that decision! (SO HOT!)
Waterloo Rival, who Toby just added to his record labels roster joined us for a bit and chatted about how cool it was to get the phone call from their management that Toby wanted to sign them. They're obviously influenced by so many different artists and it was cool to hear them play Maroon 5's, "Harder to Breathe" during their set.
Eric Paslay also stopped by and was super chill. He talked about touring and what it's like to be a diabetic on the road, which isn't easy. Little known fact, he's wearing a glucose monitor on his left arm that sends out his levels every 5 minutes! That red solo cup that he has on stage with him isn't full of liquor that he's doing shots of. Nah, that's orange juice. Sometimes you can be a country rockstar without the typical country rockstar things.
Something else to look forward to, by the way is when our awkward guy, Nick interviews the unsuspecting artists that come through, like Eric and it gets, well, awkward. Get ready for the video on our YouTube channel soon! All I'll say is, it involves a banana...
Something I always find cool is being able to see the stage from the artists perspective. In the crowd you see lots of seats, beers, fans of a wide variety and the stage seemingly looking ready to go (which sometimes is just looks ready.) From backstage though, it's lots of equipment, wires, hustling bodies, towels, managers, with long periods of waiting, oh and lots of guitars...
One thing I can say about Country fans: you are all died-hards! It's so obvious when you're at a show you're loving every single second of it. Here's some of what I saw on social media that made me smile from the Interstates & Tailgates Tour: