REHEARSAL DAY FOR “THE LAST RODEO”

So for the past two days, I’ve been hanging out in the MGM Grand Garden’s Studio 2, watching the cream of country music rehearse for “ACM Presents Brooks & Dunn: The Last Rodeo.” There’s nothing like being in a small room and hearing great singers like Faith Hill and Rascal Flatt’s Gary LeVox wailing away just a few steps away from where you’re seated. And while I can’t reveal who’s performing what Brooks & Dunn song on the show, I will say that I was walking around singing some of B&D’s lesser known hits after hearing them done in powerhouse rehearsal performances.

Of course, I got some face time with the stars. Kenny Chesney was first on the schedule, and while Kenny joked he was suffering from a wild night, he still sounded great and was nice enough to sign a CD cover from his live album for me. I got a laugh from him when I said that while I hoped he would finally get that vacation he keeps announcing he’s going to take, I was glad he was making a new album first. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill came in together and you can tell they’re still romantic with each other, kissing a few times during their rehearsal. I got a chance to tell Faith how much I love her song “Paris” off her “Fireflies” album, even though I’ve never quite understood what it’s about. She thanked me and said she didn’t understand it either!

While most of the acts are backed up by Brooks & Dunn’s touring band, a few of the performers were playing in a more stripped down way. Sugarland for instance have a very dramatic performance planned. Their take on a Brooks & Dunn classic reminded me a bit of Bruce Springsteen, with some beautiful piano and harmonica playing. They’re doing one of my favorite B&D songs, and I also got to hear the original version by Kix and Ronnie, as they rehearsed a few of their classics on the main stage. For the ACMA’s, the fans are voting on which song Brooks & Dunn will do in their final ACMA performance together, so they have to be ready with a few of them. And yes, while they know all their own songs, they still have to rehearse so the director and cameramen know how to shoot each performance.

As always, the sheer niceness of the country artists was on display. Brad Paisley clapped me on the back as he walked by, and when Taylor Swift came in for the last rehearsal of the day, she started off by giving a hug to everyone in the band and just about everyone else standing around the room. And of course, it’s always fun watching great singers work on a song. Every artist took just two tries to get things exactly the way they wanted it. And you’ll see what that is when “The Last Rodeo” hits the air in May.

Tomorrow, it’s the ACMA’s!

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2 Responses to “REHEARSAL DAY FOR “THE LAST RODEO””

  1. Sylvia C. Says:

    Was wondering if you got to see George Strait rehearsing Boot Scootin’ Boogie?? I saw a photo of him with a blue plaid shirt that was supposed to be from that day. I recently saw an interview with him on GAC done after his performance and he made a joke that he had “trouble” with parts of that song. Funny!!

  2. briguyx Says:

    Actually I didn’t get to see George rehearse. While most of the artists on “The Last Rodeo” rehearsed with the Brooks & Dunn band in a neighboring rehearsal room after running through their Academy of Country Music Awards performance in the arena on the weekend leading up to the shows, George flew into Las Vegas just to appear on “The Last Rodeo.” He only rehearsed on the day of the show and was the first artist scheduled onstage to rehearse on Monday morning. I think I was in the production office at the time. But I did see his performance at the show itself, and it was excellent. “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” was of course the perfect song for him to cover. I hope you enjoy the show!

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