When Brad Paisley was in Chicago on Saturday night (Feb. 24), about halfway through the extension of his Weekend Warrior tour, I sat down with him to talk about what it's like playing shows nearly every night for nearly 20 years.
One of the first tours he joined after signing his record deal was Alan Jackson's. Then Brooks & Dunn's. Then there were tours with Reba McEntire, Terri Clark and Sara Evans. And then he was the headliner, which is where he's been for more than a decade.
But even with all that road cred, one worry still crosses Paisley's mind.
"The one moment every night that gets to me is the walk to the stage," Paisley told me.
"It feels like I have done that walk a lot. I'm not tired of it at all, it's just that somewhere in the back of my mind, there's always a little bit of the thought, 'Are they going to be tired of me tonight?' Just a little bit. That's on my mind.
"But immediately when we start, I realize that these people aren't tired of me because they haven't heard me for a year or two," he said.
So when he opened the show that night, with "Last Time for Everything," he used his country music to silence any lingering doubts.
"The way that we do our songs now makes them feel new. And even a song that's been around as long as "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishing Song)" never gets old, because it never fails to please the crowd," he said of the 16-year-old hit. "That's crazy to me, in a way, because the song is built to some degree around a punch line. And when I get to the first 'I'm gonna miss her,' they're all raising their beers in the air."
By the end of the show, Paisley's fans still had those beers in the air about 24 songs later when he closed with "Alcohol." So it's safe to say, they are not, in fact, tired of him.