Brad Paisley Will Send You to the Bar to Bring Him a Beer in Las Vegas

Brad Paisley promises "equal parts Paul Simon and Don Rickles" at upcoming Las Vegas concerts

Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley. Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty

Country music fans typically see Brad Paisley on an arena stage, flanked by his band members, an assortment of amplifiers, even more guitars and massive video screens.

Paisley will play Wynn Las Vegas's Encore Theater on March 11 - 12. And unlike many Las Vegas shows that bump up the bells and whistles, he's stripping everything back.

The singer's Acoustic Storyteller concert is just him, his guitar, a stool and a bottle of hand sanitizer. The Wynn's Encore Theater holds less than 1,500 fans, and Paisley, 49, plans to sing his hits and anything else the audience wants to hear. He debuted the intimate program in the theater for two nights last year, and he says they were "the most special shows I've done in at least a decade."

"This isn't something that I phone in," Paisley explains, saying that if he had a full-blown residency, he's worried the first few nights would be meaningful and that he might get tired towards the end. "These shows are sort of rare."

Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley. Kevin Winter/Getty

They also came as a surprise. Wynn executives asked Paisley — who has charted 25 No. 1 hits including "Freedom Was a Highway" with Jimmie Allen, "She's Everything," "Perfect Storm" and "Letter to Me" — to help them re-open the theater last June after its forced COVID-19 closure. He agreed but opted to play the concerts alone.

"I think that's something that you can't see otherwise," Paisley says. "Usually, we're touring everywhere, and people go see me play with my band. What's the difference, you know? This is the something that's kind of a real special thing because I really interact with the audience."

He's not joking. Paisley was two or three songs into one of the performances last year when a fan with front row seats came down the aisle carrying popcorn and a Coke. He stopped mid-song to ask her what she picked up from the snack bar.

"The aisle is steep, and she's trying to squeeze into her seat," he says. "She's like, 'I got popcorn. What do you want?'" he says, imitating her deep Southern accent. "And I'm like, 'Well if you're going back.' She sent her husband back, and he's like, 'What do you want?' I'm like, 'Give me a Stella.'"

The man disappeared up the aisle, came back with Paisley's beer a few minutes later, and set it on stage.

"It was hysterical because it's so easy to do," Paisley says of engaging with fans in the space.

He got into a tough spot with the audience at another point in the show. Paisley was explaining a story behind one of his songs when a man shouted out "Toothbrush," a deep album cut from the singer's 2011 album This Is Country Music. He didn't remember the words.

"I was like, 'Look, sir, if you wanna contact the front desk, they'll get you a toothbrush. But this is not the time or place to tell us what you forgot to pack,'" Paisley says. "He's like, 'No, I want you to sing it.' It's like, 'Well, I don't remember that. I don't even remember ever doing it.' And, he is like, 'Please.'"

Paisley pulled the lyrics up on his cell phone and asked his guitar tech to hold it up so he could read the words from the screen while he played.

"I did the whole song that way," Paisley says. "Those are the moments that make it special. You can't hear anybody say something like that in an arena concert."

Paisley keeps the Acoustic Storyteller experience lighthearted and off-the-cuff. He brings a setlist to remember what to play while he's joking with fans. But the evening is also a personal night full of his biggest hits and the stories behind them accumulated from his last two decades in country music. He also promises some new songs fans haven't heard. The singer tried a few new tunes out the last time he was in the theater and says he's written more as the pandemic wore on.

RELATED VIDEO: Brad Paisley And Kimberly Williams-Paisley on Their 18-Year Marriage: 'We Have Fun'

"I would feel like I've wasted an opportunity if I didn't try something new on an audience like that," he says. "These are people that have spent some money for 90 minutes of a one-on-one experience. Some songs are really even better that way that became big hits like 'I'm Gonna Miss Her.' That song was a crowd-pleaser long before anyone had ever heard it on the radio."

Nothing may set the tone for Paisley's acoustic evening more than the aforementioned humorous hit about choosing fishing over his mate. The West Virginia native used the tongue-in-cheek chart-topper to meet his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, more than 20 years ago when he invited her to appear in the song's music video. While she won't be on stage throwing his belongings around like she was in the memorable clip, Paisley promises there will be plenty of comedy.

"There's equal parts Paul Simon and Don Rickles," he says. "It's like, 'Here's why I wrote this. And here's what this means to me. And here's a new one that maybe you haven't heard.' I'm there to do whatever somebody wants. I want them to feel like they got their money's worth."

Tickets to Paisley's Acoustic Storyteller concerts start at $95 and are available here.

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