OFFSTAGE: Brad Paisley and His 35,000 Classy Fans

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

This is what I like to think of as the Brad Paisley Effect. It’s when you cram 35,000 people into a baseball stadium, give them a steady stream of vodka and lemonades, turn the heat up to 95, and they are still the classiest bunch of people you’ve ever known. I credit Paisley for that. Because I saw it happen Saturday (June 9) when he played Chicago’s Wrigley Field. It was almost as if Paisley’s good-guy demeanor was rubbing off on everyone there. Granted, there may have been a few drunk and disorderly fans there that I didn’t see. But for the most part, the baseball field and the stadium seats were full of friendly, happy, polite, genuine Paisley fans who just seemed thrilled to be there. And it didn’t hurt that Paisley’s openers — Miranda Lambert and the Pistol Annies, Chris Young, The Band Perry and Jerrod Niemann — gave their all for the four hours before he started his own two-hour set. That adds up to about six hours of country music. And when it was over at 11:15 p.m., there was a sense these fans would’ve welcomed six more hours, especially because of the way Paisley paced the show and how he brought Kimberly Perry back onstage to sing with him on “Whiskey Lullaby.” He didn’t play any new music, but he recently told CMT Radio that his new music is almost ready. “As of, like, this week, I’m busting at the seams for people to hear it. I finally am at that point,” he said.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.