Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and a horse. Remember that?
It was June 2000 in Buffalo, N.Y., during the George Strait Country Music Festival. Chesney ran off on a deputy’s horse and was pursued by police, McGraw jumped into the fray, and both were arrested after the scuffle that ensued.
It gave the pair a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid kind of aura in those days when mainstream country was becoming the rage. They had a history before that, going back to Nashville, Tenn., where they met at a bar on their way up.
“We remember, over 20 years ago, living in apartment complexes that were pretty close to each other and hanging out at each other’s apartments on the patio, playing music and singing songs,” McGraw said. “And we were dreaming about careers and dreaming about what we wanted and not knowing if we’d get the chance.”
Now, with more than 60 million album sales and more than 50 No. 1 country singles between them, you could say the two country stars have done all right for themselves.
On June 30, they will bring their Brothers of the Sun Tour to Heinz Field, their first pairing since 2001, when they toured together with Chesney as the opener.
“He was doing really great work and really building an audience up to that point,” McGraw said, “but that was a tour that really solidified both of our careers in a lot of ways. It was a tour that really drew a lot of fans.”
The reunion tour started with the idea of McGraw doing one show on the Chesney tour, and then expanded into a full 19 stadium dates that will have the stars on stage together for the climax.
“We’ve wanted to do it for a while, but the timing didn’t work out right,” McGraw said. “Now it seems like the right time.”
Last week, Chesney released his 15th studio album, “Welcome to the Fishbowl,” complete with a Chesney-McGraw duet on the country-rocker “Feel Like a Rock Star.” He also does a live version of the sexy ballad “You and Tequila” with country-blues belter Grace Potter, who opens with her band, the Nocturnals.
In January, McGraw issued his long-delayed 11th album, “Emotional Traffic,” led by his latest No. 1 single, “Felt Good on My Lips.”
The “Brothers of the Sun Tour” with Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Jake Owen, will be at 4:30 p.m. June 30 at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh. Visit www.livenation.com for more information.