When Lady Antebellum kick off their Wheels Up tour today (May 1st) in Lubbock, Texas, the trio will be dealing with a luxury problem: For the first time, they have more hits than can fit into the show’s running length.
“Finally, we have enough songs in our career to play a full show of all radio singles, which has never happened to this band,” Lady Antebellum guitarist Dave Haywood tells Rolling Stone Country. “To even be at the point where you have to eliminate songs, it’s nuts. How in the world did we get here?” he asks, remembering the days when “we’d play our one hit twice in the show and play 10 covers just to fill enough time to play an hour somewhere.”
As Haywood and bandmates Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott put together the playlist for this outing, they had to make some hard decisions. “There’s a couple of songs that were radio singles that we’ve gone back and forth on and I’m like, ‘Man, I never thought we’d be at that point where you’d ever go, ‘Well, we shouldn’t play that song because it only got to Number 10.” To even consider that is just crazy, but all in all, we’re trying to squeeze everything in to make the best show.”
In addition to a plethora of hits by Lady A and their opening acts, Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt, the trek will feature the biggest production the band has ever mounted, complete with a huge oval stage with lasers and spinning lights. The Grammy-winning group previewed the tour for reporters last week, running through a number of songs and revealing the stage set up.
And if, by chance, they leave out your favorite song, Haywood can sympathize. “When we started out, we’d be on the side of the stage watching Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney,” he recalls. “Sometimes they’d skip a song or two and I’d be like, ‘No! How in the world does Tim McGraw not play ‘Don’t Take the Girl’!’ But if you have 20 or 30 Number One songs, you’ve got to get to those.”
Another first? Haywood’s eight-month-old son, Cash, will be along for the ride for opening night and will likely join the tour every other weekend. Scott’s 19-month old daughter, Eisele, “was the only baby out on the road last year,” Haywood says. “I’m excited for her to have another playmate within a year or so of her age.”
Cash has already proven a solid road warrior. “We took him on the bus to the ACMs and he has such a great time. He loved the bunks.”