Jason Aldean glad he pushes the envelope when it comes to music
BY TRICIA DESPRES July 17, 2013 1:30PM
Country singer Jason Aldean headlines Wrigley Field on July 20. | GETTY IMAGES
KELLY CLARKSON; JAKE OWEN; THOMAS RHETT
♦ 6:30 p.m. July 20
♦ Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison
♦ Tickets, $45-$89
♦ (800) 745-3000;
In April, country music giant Jason Aldean found himself playing the first-ever concert at University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium. At his feet stood 66,000 fans, screaming for the boy from Georgia who had made it to the big time. With his trademark cowboy hat pulled down just far enough to hide any visible signs of emotion, Aldean attacked the first song of his set and began to get comfortable with his new status of stadium headliner.
“Nah, I don’t get emotional during moments like that, but I do remember yelling ‘holy s--- a few times that night,” laughs the 36-year-old during a recent interview, regarding the first of four stadium stops on his current “2013 Night Train Tour.”
“I specifically waited to even go onto the stage that night until show time because I wanted to wait till the last minute to see that vision in front of me. It was an unbelievable scene. I mean, we used to have trouble selling out a 500-seat club. Here we were selling out a stadium of 66,000. It’s pretty cool we are even in this position to do something like that.”
A former Little League player himself, who found a home playing first base as a teenager, Aldean says he can’t quite grasp the fact that he will play Wrigley Field, or the fact that he is one of the biggest stars in country music right now, selling over 8 million albums and charting 11 No. 1 songs including “She’s Country” “Big Green Tractor” and “The Only Way I Know.” Aldean currently finds himself as the headmaster to a tour circus that boasts 19 buses and trucks and more than 100 band and crew members.
“I have always tried to do things in my career that would push myself, and by doing that I have figured out what I could do well and what I couldn’t do well,” says Aldean. “I’m not scared of falling on my face. God knows I have done that plenty of times. I guess it’s just that I never want to get comfortable with what I am doing. Pushing myself to try new things doesn’t scare me at all.”
Claiming to not have asked for advice from former country music performers that have graced the Wrigley Field outfield such as Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley, Aldean says he will approach his Chicago show like any other, albeit with a bit more excitement mixed in.
“I never dreamed we would be doing stadiums at this point,” says Aldean, who will share the Wrigley stage alongside “American Idol” alum Kelly Clarkson, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett. “Just to have gotten to that point in my career to do something like headline a show at Wrigley Field is crazy.”
It’s a life that Aldean says is a “total 360” from the one he leads back in Nashville. “I have a 1,400 acre farm in the middle of nowhere,” he says. “I like to get out there and piddle around. It’s quiet and peaceful. I mean, you can’t even hear a car going by. It’s my escape and it’s the place where I can recharge my batteries for moments like this. At the end of the day, it’s going to be cool to look back on your life and your career and see that you did things that were pretty special.”
While Aldean isn’t planning to walk away from his country music lucky streak anytime soon, he does realize that these moments are never guaranteed.
“It’s just one of those things that you always have in the back of your head,” he says in a tone a bit quieter than before, displaying a hint of that emotion he seldom shows off-stage. “I don’t know if I will ever get a chance to do it again. And even if I do, it will never feel the same as the first time.”
Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.