Since kicking off their Wheels Up Tour in mid-February, Lady Antebellum have been playing more than 20 songs per show, weaving a handful of covers into a set that focuses on heavy-hitting singles and newer material.
They played the Guess Who’s “American Woman” in Europe, ending most of those overseas shows with a mash-up of the Carter Family’s “When I’m Gone” — resurrected by the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect under a new name, “Cups” — and Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” Now, one month into the tour’s American leg, they’ve swapped those songs with a different encore: an all-hands-on-deck version of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” performed with opening acts Sam Hunt and Hunter Hayes.
“We’re really going to try to find some cool moments in the show to bring [Hayes and Hunt] back up,” Charles Kelley told Rolling Stone Country in early April, during the band’s Skyville Live webcast with Jason Isbell and Kris Kristofferson. “We’ve always said it, the night is not just about us. . . it’s a whole thing.”
Performed with Hayes on lead guitar and Hunt joining his tour bosses on vocals, “Walk This Way” has become one of the unexpected highlights of Lady Antebellum’s show. In the video above, the song helps wrap up a show in Wantagh, New York, with Hunt censoring himself during the first verse — he skips the final word in “down on a muffin” and describes a cheerleader as “real young” instead of “a real young bleeder” — and Hunt also trading bursts of classic rock riffage with one of Lady Antebellum’s touring guitarists. Steven Tyler, who recently kickstarted a solo career in country music with the single “Love is Your Name,” would be proud.
The Wheels Up Tour hits Bangor, Maine, tomorrow night, continuing a 50-plus run of summertime shows that stretch all the way to mid-September.