Top 10 Hilarious Country Music Tour Antics
Who is the king of pranks in country music? Everyone knows it’s Brad Paisley. And although he has also been the victim of several jokes on his tours, Paisley dishes it out even better than he takes it. Many an artist has been on the receiving end of a Paisley prank — in fact, we could probably fill an entire Top 10 list with only his hilarious antics — but there are lots of other practical jokes worth writing about, too.
From Taylor Swift‘s legendary KISS prank on Paisley to Miranda Lambert‘s scheme to get Dierks Bentley to play her hot pink guitar on stage, to a shirtless and extremely buff Tim McGraw (who wouldn’t like that?), country stars are really darn good at making laugh-out-loud memories for their peers — and especially their fans — at concerts.
Want to know which country artist was put into a real-live cage before taking his place on stage, or whose concert was interrupted by a family of goats and a dancing bird, or which singer returned to her tour bus to find a headless eel (ewwww!) in her bed? Read on for those — and more.
Six Pack Attack
Tim McGraw and some of his similarly buff buddies decided to do a little shirtless cardio workout during the last stop of the country superstar’s 2010 Southern Voice Tour. Their gym of choice? The stage, where tourmates Lady Antebellum were wrapping up their set with their debut hit, “Love Don’t Live Here.” The trio’s Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley had a hard time keeping straight faces, while the women in the audience had a hard time keeping from drooling (and rightfully so).
Baby Got Back
If you’re going to cut a song like “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” you’d better expect to be the butt of a few jokes. When Trace Adkins performed the novelty hit during his 2010 tour stop with Martina McBride, his tourmate and her fiddle player, Jenee Fleenor, surprised Adkins on stage sporting enhanced badonkadonks.
“I went to this theater prop store and bought these fake booties,” explains McBride. “They were huge! We put them on and went out and danced around.”
Rattle Your Cage
Most singers admit to pre-show nerves, and though he’s a touring troubadour, Jack Ingram is no exception. He was taking a few deep breaths, about to go on stage to open for Brad Paisley one night, when he was accosted by his tourmate’s posse.
“Brad had his crew make a cage made out of PVC pipe, and they put me in it,” Ingram tells The Boot. “I had to go in by choice, because he had all of his truck drivers and crew standing around me as he asked if I would like to get in this cage. I said, ‘Why, yes, Brad, I would. You little punk!’
“So I got in, and he rolled me out on stage as the announcer was going, ‘Ladies and gentlemen …'” Ingram adds. “It was right in front of 10,000 people, at the least. I’m going to get you, Brad Paisley, you sorry son of a b—h!”
KISS a Girl
Keith Urban got quite the shock as he started to perform his chart-topping hit, “Kiss a Girl,” at a 2009 show in Kansas City, Mo. Taylor Swift and her band rushed the stage, all dressed as rock icons KISS, complete with painted faces, spandex pants and black wigs. A few backup dancers dressed as Hershey’s Kisses were thrown in as well, to make for one sweet concert prank.
LAW Fights the Law
“All I saw was this giant badge, and my heart stopped,” the songbird tells People. “I swear, I was so scared. I had no idea what was going on.”
But the “law” was her tour manager and a friend in disguise. They dreamed up the idea after Womack was stopped by security earlier that morning as she tried to walk her dogs around the arena. The guards didn’t recognize her and refused to let her near her own tour bus.
Darius Rucker‘s concert setlist usually includes a rousing rendition of a classic country favorite: Hank Williams Jr.‘s “Family Tradition.” But when he performed the song in Columbus, Ga., in early 2010, Rucker’s backup band got a little bigger, as a family of goats paraded the stage’s catwalk, while a guy dressed as a huge bird danced behind the singer. The masterminds of this elaborate prank? Rascal Flatts, who are notorious for humorously hazing their opening acts. Poor Rucker fell victim again later on when Paisley’s crew put stinky cheese all over his microphone … twice.
Dierks Bentley‘s shows are high energy, but when he does the occasional ballad, the lights go down, and his stagehand brings him a different guitar. His 2007 tourmate Miranda Lambert took advantage of the pitch-black stage, hijacking the stagehand’s job and handing Bentley what he thought was his guitar … but once the lights went back up, he saw that it was Lambert’s hot pink axe. He couldn’t even make it through the first verse without cracking up.
But revenge was sweet: “We got a big bucket of ping-pong balls up in the rafters,” he recalls, “and throughout Miranda’s whole first song, we’d let them fall, two by two, on her head.”
Both Lambert and Blake Shelton have felt the wrath of Paisley’s penchant for pranks. Shelton’s tour bus once stunk for two weeks after Paisley hid raw chicken in it, and Lambert got an unexpected stage prop, courtesy of Paisley, while she performed her hit “White Liar” one night while on tour with him: A video screen unexpectedly came down behind Lambert, projecting huge photos of Shelton (then Lambert’s significant other) with other women.
“They were all from his meet and greets,” Paisley explains, “but it was very fitting with the song!”
Faith Hill returned to her tour bus after a 1994 concert with Brooks & Dunn in Canada, only to find a smelly stranger sleeping in her bed: a headless eel, placed there, of course, by her notoriously humorous tourmates. But, oh, did she get them back — in a big way: Hill had the duo detained by immigration officials at the U.S. border and strip searched! Kix Brooks joked that he told the female officer, “Don’t put that rubber glove on if you aren’t going to use it!”
As we mentioned at the beginning, Paisley graces this countdown several times as the prankster, but it’s a time when the tables turned on him that takes our No. 1 spot. The singer’s private plane was met by police officers at the Nashville airport early one morning, and he was promptly handcuffed as soon as his feet hit the tarmac.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me! I’ve never done anything wrong in my life,” a visibly nervous Paisley said to the officers after they told him they had a warrant for his arrest for his involvement in “some serious crimes.” Those “crimes” turned out to be “excessive noodling,” to which guitar virtuoso Paisley admitted his guilt, his fear turning to laughter as he sat in the back of the police car.
The whole thing was rigged by Jewel, who just happens to have some buddies who are retired police officers … and darn good actors.