Though Chris Young has done a significant amount of commercial air travel over the years, he’s never really felt any strong urge to sing on a plane.
“I’m really loud,” deadpans Young, standing in the aisle of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737. “I can’t sing softly. I don’t think anybody wants to be in an enclosed plane with me singing at them.”
Yet he did something very close this week when he sang for passengers as part of Southwest’s Live@35 mid-flight performance series. Southwest was also celebrating 30 years of service in Tennessee with its new plane Tennessee One —appropriately decorated with the Tennessee state flag’s tri-star pattern — and Young’s performance took place during the craft’s first flight between Nashville and Memphis.
His imposing frame crammed into the forward attendants’ quarters, Young performed his multi-week Number One song “I’m Comin’ Over” accompanied by two (seated) guitarists and piped through the cabin speakers. He then introduced Cassadee Pope to perform their current duet “Think of You,” which is already inside the Top 20.
“Obviously being able to perform on a plane that’s at 35,000 feet, going through the air is a different set-up than we’re probably ever going to experience again,” says Young.
“Yeah! It’s nice to get a change of pace every once in awhile and we’re just honored to have been thought of to come play,” agrees Pope.
Despite the tight “stage,” Young and Pope harmonized enthusiastically on the ballad and overcame the sound limitations through the strength of their conviction. They’re currently singing it several times a week on Young’s headlining tour, which hits New York on Thursday.
Running counter to Young’s fears about singing on a plane, none of the passengers on Tennessee One seemed to mind one bit.