Lately, Tim McGraw has discovered a novel way of warming up for his concerts while giving fans a peek into his private world at the same time: He’s been recording informal jam sessions of choice cover songs before hitting the stage.
In the hours before his Chicago show on Saturday, August 8th, McGraw and his band picked a fitting tribute to the Windy City by turning to Chicago — the soft-rock band formerly fronted by Peter Cetera — and working up a down-home version of the group’s early-Eighties hit, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.”
In the behind-the-scenes video featured above, McGraw and the band are backstage at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, dressed down in T-shirts and gym shorts. McGraw’s vocals, however, are fit for a black-tie event. At first, he holds back a little, but soon his voice is warmed up and he belts out the apologetic tune, summoning romantic anguish from someplace far behind his easy-going smile. Even with some of his bandmates plugged in — like the keyboard player, lead guitarist and bass player — McGraw sings over the group without over-straining, a risky move just before the start of a massive concert.
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“Hello, Chicago,” he says to the camera after finishing up the tune’s last lines. With thousands of fans waiting outside, he comes off like the country version of James Bond.
This isn’t the first time McGraw has turned a concrete dressing room into a private concert hall. Just before his recent Cleveland concert — and a few days after the passing of country legend Lynn Anderson — he paid his respects to the Sixties and Seventies hitmaker with a cover of her biggest single, “Rose Garden.” With Shotgun Rider Tour stops coming up in big cities like Tampa, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Denver and more, McGraw may very well have more tributes in store.