By Eileen Finan
October 05, 2016 07:57 PM
Nancy Kruh

It was billed as show by an unknown act called Sam & Audrey, but word quickly spread through Nashville that there was serious star power behind those names. So fans were ready when Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (real names: Samuel Timothy and Audrey Faith) took the stage Tuesday night at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium — and the couple left no doubt they were ready to step into the spotlight again.

The two walked onstage singing their 1997 hit “It’s Your Love.” Following a rapturous audience response, the couple seemed positively giddy, with Hill, 49, hopping up and down and McGraw, also 49, pumping his fists. “Hallelujah!” he shouted. And then came the announcement fans were hoping for: “We are going back on the road on tour,” Hill told the cheering crowd. “We are going to go from side to side, south to north and around the globe!”

Over the past week, the two stars (who celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on Thursday) have hinted at the news on social media, and their Soul2Soul World Tour will kick off April 7 in New Orleans, 11 years after the couple’s last Soul2Soul tour together.

Tuesday’s Nashville show was a scaled-down, dress rehearsal, with each singer performing a half dozen hits — Hill’s list included “This Kiss,” “Mississippi Girl” and a favorite cover, Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” while McGraw did “Shotgun Rider,” “Humble and Kind” and “Real Good Man”) — mixed with a handful of duets, including a cover of the 1983 Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton collaboration “We’ve Got Tonight.”

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill tour announcement

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sentimental right now I feel like if I talk I’m going to cry,” Hill confessed in the middle of her set. The night was a comeback of sorts for the singer, who last toured in 2007 and who hasn’t released a studio album of new material since 2005. But as she strutted across the stage in a black micro-mini dress, throwing her arms open to applause, she appeared as confident as ever.

While there was no mention of new music, the crowd — and the couple— seemed content with old favorites, like the night’s encore. In a pose familiar to Soul2Soul veterans, the couple sat face-to-face on stage, McGraw’s legs straddling his wife’s as they traded lines of their 2007 duet “I Need You,” finishing, appropriately, with a long kiss.

Nancy Kruh
Nancy Kruh
Nancy Kruh
Nancy Kruh

To add to the excitement, it was announced that the pair will appear for the first time this month as key advisors on NBC’s singing competition, The Voice.

Ticket pre-sales for the Soul2Soul World Tour begins on Friday, Oct. 7 and tickets for the general public go on sale in waves starting Friday, Oct. 14.