In this interview with CMT Hot 20 Countdown at a Nashville rehearsal, Bentley talks about preparing for the big show, grabbing his fans’ attention and staying up late … or maybe not.
CMT: You and Miranda are joining forces for the second time. How did this come to be?
Bentley: Miranda and I both like having a good time. I saw her out at the ACM in Vegas, and there’s a bar there everyone kind of hangs out in at Mandalay Bay. She just walked up to me and says, “We gotta do another tour again.” We’d been on a tour in 2006 called Locked & Loaded, and she’s like, “Let’s redo it and call it ’Locked & Reloaded.'”
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m easy, she’s easy, our bands get along great, and I’ve been her biggest champion from day one. I’ve always loved her music, loved her spirit. I took her on the road when she was just starting off and didn’t have a lot of radio success because I just knew she was awesome and she’s cool. And it’s tough being a girl out there in the world. I really respect what she’s been able to accomplish and how hard she’s fought for it and how down to earth and cool she stays.
So it was a no-brainer and just been fun planning the tour. I think musically it really works out well, and I think fanwise, it’s going to be a great show.
When you’re on the road with someone you respect musically and as a person, does that make you feel the need to push yourself to up the game?
Yeah, when I’m headlining shows, I want the opener to go out there and try to kick my ass — because that’s great for the show. I want them to have access to all our lights and staging. I want them to go out there, and the more they can fire that crowd up, the better it’s going to be.
For us on this tour, I want to go out there and just rock the place as hard as we possibly can and do some elements they aren’t expecting. Make our part of the show as awesome as it can be, so when Miranda comes out there, the crowd’s rocking. …
She and I were talking yesterday about how lucky we are to do this, how grateful we are to do this, how all these people come out every night and spend their money to come. This might be the one concert they go to all year long. … It’s like we have to make this the best tour these folks see. Country music’s hot right now. There are so many great bands going out. There are so many great tours out there. We definitely want to go out there and crush it. So that’s my job and that’s her job and Lee Brice and Randy Houser . It’s gonna be great.
What were you hoping to smooth out today during rehearsal?
I’ve been doing this a long time and playing a lot of music, but this is our first time with the new set. It’s like having a new jungle gym as a kid. … And certainly adding a video element to the show is really cool because I’ve never, ever had live video, ever. So this is awesome, and it really helps tell the story of some songs — and the transitions between songs made things flow. I want to grab every fan by the throat. I want their attention the entire time, and I think that’s what we’ve worked on. We’ve really worked on making this show our best show yet.
Do you tip a few back after a show? I’m pretty sure Miranda does. Who holds their liquor better? Can she drink you under the table?
Miranda and I, we go back. We’ve had some tours way back in the day, and Jagermeister used to be very prevalent on those tours. … It was crazy back then. Randy Rogers Band was out there with us. Cross Canadian Ragweed . It was wild, fun times. But I think I’ll see what happens. I don’t know. It’s a long night for me. My meet-and-greet starts about 7. The show starts at 8. I get done around 9. Go back out there to do some stuff with Miranda. By the time the show’s done, it’s 11:30. I mean, yikes! We’ll see what happens. That last song with Miranda onstage might be a little rough. We’ll see.