“We have lasers. We’re very excited about that,” Lady Antebellum‘s Charles Kelley proudly says following the band’s rehearsal for the 2014 CMT Music Awards airing live Wednesday (June 4) at 8 p.m. ET.
“We are performing our new single, ‘Bartender,’ so we’re gonna be obviously jumping out of our skin,” bandmate Hillary Scott adds. “We’re just so excited to have new music out. To be outside, outdoors, close to the fans, kicking off CMA Music Fest week, it’s gonna be awesome.”
During an interview at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, Scott joked that Kelley gave away the big surprise about their performance — the lasers.
“It was my only request,” Kelley said. “I said, ‘I don’t care what we do as long as we’ve got lasers.’ There’s something about the song, ‘Bartender.’ It’s talking about being out at a club and has a lot of references to a disco ball, so I wanted there to be a lot of crazy, kind of strobey lights kind of stuff.”
Bandmate Dave Haywood says the awards show is the perfect setting to perform “Bartender.”
“It feels like a much bigger party, I think, than some of the other events,” he said. “Everyone’s having a great time. I think a lot of the performances are geared that way, too, so you get a lot of big, up-tempo party songs. It’s fun for us to have a song like ‘Bartender’ on the CMT Awards. I think it fits really well, and it’s fun to have that kind of energy in this crowd in Nashville.”
Dealing with the energy at a live show can be something of a challenge for singers and musicians.
“You have to turn on the switch and then immediately turn it off again when you walk off the stage,” Kelley said. “It’s like a little tease sometimes. We just do some vocal warmups and get ourselves mentally fired up. I think that’s the key — just trying to get yourself mentally hyped up. You don’t want to hit the stage after taking an hour nap.”