The first time I ever saw Jake Owen play an arena was in 2010 during Keith Urban's Get Closer tour. It was a packed house at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, and the pressure was on for Owen to deliver a killer set.
And, boy did he.
If you were paying attention to Owen's career up until then, you already knew he could deliver one heck of a set. But audiences can be tricky and, well, downright fickle sometimes.
Not this time. I'd never seen an arena so packed to see an opening act. This is the part of the show where people usually hit the restrooms and stock up on artist merchandise and adult beverages. The opening act is often relegated to providing background entertainment before the main attraction.
However, Owen's popularity gave him the boost he needed to fill those seats. And when he began to play, my first thought was, "He's a superstar in the making."
Four years later, Owen finally has the opportunity to become an arena headliner during his Days of Gold tour which launches March 20 in Brookings, S.D. During a recent interview, he told me he couldn't be more thrilled.
"It's gonna be fun to get out there and test the waters on our own tour doing arenas," he said. "I mean, I can't imagine just pulling our trucks up to the back of the arena somewhere and playing places like that -- coming from where I've come from and the places I've played."
From bars in his Florida hometown to clubs, fairs, festivals and everything and everywhere in between, his career has finally truly arrived. And he's not the only one who's soaking in the moment. It's truly a family affair with his band, too.
"I know the guys and I have looked forward to this for a long time -- to be able to go out and do it," he said. "And to now be able to like put it in motion has got us all pretty excited."
Cross another one off the bucket list, boys.
Owen's tour will feature the Eli Young Band, Parmalee, Thomas Rhett and the Cadillac Three on select dates.