Hunter Hayes was like a kid in a candy store during Monday's (Oct. 7) industry preview for his first-ever headlining tour.
And he should have been. With a packed house at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, a stage filled with guitars and other instruments and state-of-the art production, it was the moment the 22-year-old Louisiana native has waited for his entire life.
Hayes is hitting the road for CMT on Tour: Hunter Hayes Let's Be Crazy, a series of dates that begin Thursday (Oct. 10) in Knoxville, Tenn.
It's the first time in his career where he can no longer rely on seasoned pros like Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift to carry a big tour and simply allow him to warm up the crowd. As the headliner, it will be his job to keep things hot for the crowd for a more extended concert set.
During the tour rehearsal, Hayes proved he's more than ready to take on this challenge.
He rocked familiar favorites like his big debut "Storm Warning," along with "Wanted," "I Want Crazy" and a revamped version of "Somebody's Heartbreak." He also broke out several standout album tracks, including my personal favorite, "Rainy Season."
Throughout the concert, Hayes takes his time as he leads the audience on a journey while savoring each moment for himself, too. After all, his dream is becoming a reality -- literally.
Before the rehearsal performance, Warner Music Nashville president John Esposito said much of the technology employed in the show's production is from the imagination of a 9-year-old Hayes, who knew what he wanted his future show to look and feel like even before the technology -- or his career -- even existed.
Ashley Monroe is the special guest on the tour. Following the Knoxville date, their roadwork continues Friday in Savannah, Ga., and Saturday in Columbia, S.C.