Jason Aldean lived out a personal fantasy this summer when his Night Train tour rolled into the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium, home of his beloved Georgia Bulldogs football team.
"Every time I watch a game there now, you think about it and you go, 'Yep, our stage was set up right there,'" he told CMT.com. "I've always been such a fan of that team, and to be forever linked to them in that sort of way, that's a big deal to me."
With Tuesday's (Oct. 15) release of Night Train to Georgia, a 90-minute concert DVD that also includes interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, Aldean and his fans can hold on to that special moment forever.
The show drew a screaming crowd of over 66,000 and was the first time a concert of any kind had been held in the stadium, adding even more meaning for the Macon, Ga., native. Plus, fellow Georgia boys Luke Bryan and Ludacris made special appearances onstage, all of which makes it on to the DVD.
A 30-minute excerpt from the film makes its television premiere on CMT on Saturday (Oct. 19) at 2 p.m. ET/PT, and Aldean sat down to talk about what the experience was like for him.
CMT: I was actually at the Sanford Stadium show, and the fans treated you like a returning hero. Is that what it felt like?
Aldean: It was cool for me to go there because I'm from Georgia. Leaving there to come to Nashville to chase a music dream and to go back after having the success we've had, and all those people to be proud of what you've accomplished, that's a good feeling, man. I feel like I've gone and represented my state and where I'm from pretty well. And the fact that people come out to the shows and are proud of what we've accomplished, that's cool. That's a good feeling.
Can you describe what it was like backstage, waiting to go on?
We were there for a couple of days. So I'm sitting there for a couple of days and trying to wrap my head around what we're about to do ... and we'd been looking at an empty stadium. Once you start to see everybody file in the day of the show and people are out tailgating, it's like a football game. I think, for me, that's when the excitement started to happen.
And obviously before we went onstage, it got crazy. It sounded like a tornado out there. It was just so loud. We were getting ready to go on, and it was one of those, just goose bump feelings backstage.
You got to bring two more Georgia natives onstage. What was it like to hang out with Ludacris and Luke Bryan in that situation?
Luke and I are really close, and when I found out we were going to do that show, he was one of the first phone calls I made because I know he's just as big a Georgia football fan as I am. So it was a no-brainer to have him on the show and get him to come out and perform our song.
Ludacris, though, is from Atlanta, and I just thought, "What a cool thing to do." I tried to make this show more of an event, you know? Have some special moments in it that maybe normally wouldn't happen, but we were there to try to pull out all the stops.
I made a couple of phone calls to some friends and, luckily, Ludacris was in town and he was able to come down for the show. When that happened, man, the place just exploded and went nuts. I think it even took him by surprise, and you can see it on the DVD when he's walking offstage like he couldn't believe what just happened.
Is this the biggest thing you've done in Georgia for hometown fans?
Yeah, by far. I mean, we've done amphitheaters and things like that, but in Georgia, college football and the Georgia Bulldogs are like a religion there. So that's probably one of the most sacred places in the state. To not only go in there and play, but to be the first act to hold a concert there was pretty cool.