Exclusive: Rascal Flatts' Summer Tour Diary
On the road again! Rascal Flatts' road cases arrive for the start of the opening weekend of their 2015 Riot Tour.
"It's always a great feeling to see the semi-trucks rolling in wrapped with the new tour name," says Joe Don Rooney. "It makes what we've been working on the past few months feel real and like we're taking over whatever city we're in that night!"
"Working on the set list is probably the most nerve-racking part of tour preparation," says Jay DeMarcus. "Finding the balance between what songs we know our fans are coming to hear, and fitting in some others that maybe we didn't play on the last tour can lead to a lot of deliberation. A finished set list is a great sense of accomplishment, for sure!"
How many guitars does it take to get through a Rascal Flatts show? At least nine, apparently!
The view from the stage at the Klipsch Music Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, one of the band's weekend stops.
How the guys roll backstage!
"We love getting a chance to meet fans at each show and to hear their stories," says Gary LeVox.
Rooney, LeVox and DeMarcus warm up for the main event with an acoustic pre-show for an intimate group of fans.
"The three of us are all perfectionists," says Rooney. "You'll hear us going through harmonies and tuning up our guitars in the dressing room up until the last minute before the show starts."
"Everybody has pre-show rituals," says LeVox. "For us, it's really important that we all huddle together and pray, we have a lot to be thankful for."
And the crowd goes wild for the guys, who've been together since 1999.
One of the band's tour stops this past weekend was St. Louis, Missouri. Since their first headlining show there in 2006, the group has sold more than 163,000 tickets in the Gateway City alone.
A drummer's-eye view of the packed house during the 2015 Riot Tour opening weekend.
A short power outage during the show led to a special moment with fans lighting up the venue with their cell phones.
"The best part of our job is being up on stage together," says DeMarcus. "We're so fortunate to get to do what we love each night on stage."
And with that, it's on to the next stop.