“We obviously saved the best for last.”
That’s what Thomas Rhett told the sold-out Chicago crowd on Friday night (Sept. 8) the minute he took the stage for the third and final “Live From the B-Stage” release-day show. He’d been to Boston and Philadelphia earlier that day, then came to Joe’s Live just north of Chicago to wrap up the day of new music.
Although he didn’t just play the new stuff from his new album Life Changes, because he said that as a fan, he would hate that.
“We’re not gonna do that thing. When I saw artists I loved and they didn’t play (their big hit), I’d be so pissed,” Rhett said.
Instead, he played a mix of older hits and new tunes, and because the setting was more like the B-Stage at his arena shows, he was able to share the stories behind so many of his songs.
Before “Die a Happy Man,” the highest-charting single on his 2015 album Tangled Up, Rhett explained how it came from a writing session right before a date on Jason Aldean’s Night Train Tour.
“We were on the bus in Arkansas, opening for Jason Aldean, and the first song we wrote that day was ’Die a Happy Man,'” he said of the song he wrote with Sean Douglas and Joe Spargur. “And it was at a point in the show where I just wanted to change it up. So I was like, ’Well, we wrote this song today, and we’re gonna put it in our set tonight.’ And the writers were like, ’You don’t even know the words.'”
“It doesn’t matter,” he said he told them before taking the stage in Little Rock and playing what he called a very botched version of the song. “I had no idea that song would do what it did.”
He also answered fan questions, one of which was about how nervous he was to release the new album. Rhett admitted he was very nervous, but that hearing the crowd sing all the words to the songs they’d only been hearing for one day — like “Unforgettable,” “Sixteen,” “Grave” and “Drink a Little Beer” — assuaged any anxieties he’d had.
“When you’re making a record, for me, I want it to sound completely different from the last one. All my favorite artists never make records that sound the same,” he said.