Following social distancing guidelines, Brad Paisley and his band will be playing a show streaming Friday night at 9 p.m. on Bud Light's YouTube Channel

By Melody Chiu
Updated May 14, 2020 03:35 PM
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Brad Paisley
| Credit: BURBANK, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Brad Paisley performs onstage during iHeartCountry Live presented by Citi MasterPass at iHeartRadio Theater on November 11, 2016 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Brad Paisley and his band should have been performing to a packed stadium this weekend in California, but the musicians are instead reuniting in a Nashville rehearsal hall amid the coronavirus pandemic on Friday for their first live show in two months.

In partnership with Bud Light Seltzer, the country star, 47, is performing with his full band for a show streaming live Friday night at 9 p.m. on Bud Light's YouTube channel. (Lady Antebellum will be the opening act.)

"It's gonna be wild. It's a little gift during this time to be able to play something at all with our toys," Paisley tells PEOPLE exclusively about the show, which will benefit the American Red Cross. "It's one thing to get together, socially distance and play music — which I've [done] across a fence in the backyard — but it's another thing to actually have all your gear."

While planning out the concert, Paisley, his crew and everyone else involved made every effort to follow social distancing guidelines.

"Every time I think of something else that's a typical routine that I'm used to with a concert, it has to be tweaked," says Paisley, who along with his crew wore masks and gloves during rehearsals this week. "It's so weird to not high-five anybody or even fist bump."

During the performance, Paisley will have "the whole center of the stage" to himself, and "none of the camera people can walk in the same area I'm at," he explains. "My guitar tech is bringing my guitars masked and gloved, and is sticking it out far as I reach for the neck. I [told my] monitor guy, 'Don't even check my microphone.'"

Over the last several weeks, Paisley says he's been taking advantage of extra time at home with his family — but not being able to play live shows with musicians he's worked with for years has been difficult.

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"You have no idea what it means to my band and crew to be set up to play this week," says Paisley, who opened a free grocery store in Nashville with his wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley just as the pandemic hit to provide food for the elderly and families facing financial difficulties. "It'll be interesting to see where music goes from here, and where live music goes, because no one knows when we're gonna be able to convene to play music [for a live audience] and how spaced out we'll need to be."

The "No I in Beer" singer says he's also found new gratitude for the parts of his job that weren't so fun before. "I will never take for granted the rehearsal of something again," he says. "I usually dread that: the whole set up and figure out blocking or any of that. I'll never dread it again."

And since this is Paisley's first live show with a full band with social distancing guidelines in place, the star is keeping his fingers crossed that the show goes off without a hitch.

But if not? "I'm gonna have canned applause on my keyboard, like my keyboard player's gonna be able to hit the applause button," he jokes. "I'll tell him to load a 'Boo' too while you're at it just in case I do anything stupid!"

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