Thomas Rhett has already proven he can headline his own shows and sell out large venues, but when the opportunity came for him to return to opening act status, joining Kenny Chesney on Chesney's Trip Around the Sun Tour, the 28-year-old gladly accepted.
"First of all, opening for Kenny at a stadium I think is every artist's bucket list because he's made such a spectacle out of – that's what he does," Rhett reflects. "He's a stadium act. I love Kenny Chesney but I don't want to go see him in an arena. I want to go see him at a stadium because that's what I grew up seeing at CMA Fest or at all these NFL stadiums across the country.
"And so," he continues, "to get up there and open for a legend and a hero – one day when he's not touring anymore, I can say that I got to be a direct support for Chesney on a stadium day."
Rhett hopes to someday follow in the footsteps of his current tour boss, who the Georgia native says is doing everything right.
"When you can build your career to where you don't do anything but play stadiums because you physically can't fit that many people in an arena, that's the goal," says Rhett. "And Kenny has just done such a great job at just not only cutting great songs but just being a good person, and being such a smart businessman, the way that he markets himself.
"I think what Kenny has done the best is he's created such an atmosphere for people that even if you've never even heard of Kenny Chesney you know what you're going to experience at a Kenny Chesney concert, so you go," he adds. "And I think it's amazing when you can learn how to create an atmosphere rather than just put on a show."
Aside from the time on stage, Rhett, who opened for Chesney last year for his two Gillette Stadium dates, says what the country music icon does off stage is as important as what he does on stage.
"He sets up this gigantic space next to his bus where he has a Tiki bar and food trucks and music playing," Rhett reveals. "Literally, before the show and after the show, I could have walked up to Kenny and said, 'Hey dude, I have 30 family members here, can [they come in]? Is that cool?' Yeah, come on. He treats everybody like your their family, and I think that's what creates such a unique and fun atmosphere with Kenny backstage, and that's why so many people want to tour with him.
"Just from the camaraderie you get from that tour," Rhett remarks, "and then you also get to learn how to watch somebody play two hours of nothing but the most gigantic songs in the history of Country music. So, it's pretty awesome."
Rhett will continue headlining his own Life Changes Tour after he wraps up his run with Chesney. Dates for all shows can be found at ThomasRhett.com.
Photo Credit: Instagram/thomasrhettakins