How Tim McGraw spent his summer vacation.
by Alison Bonaguro
(as seen in Country Music Today, September 2004)


You could see Tim McGraw in concert seven nights a week and never get tired of him. Why? Because McGraw's Outloud tour is exactly what live music is all about: You never know what's gonna happen next.

McGraw and his 8-piece band, the DanceHall Doctors, put on a show that's enough to keep things interesting, even for the loyal fans who follow him from city to city.

Whether he's belting out the wistful "Watch the Wind Blow By" on his knees, staring into the adoring eyes of one woman, or inviting a whole bunch of fans to join him on stage, it's all about spontaneity. Even his set list isn't set in stone. McGraw seemed willing to take requests, though he couldn't always fill them. When a fan in Milwaukee asked him to sing "One of These Days", he had to ask the audience if they remembered the words because he didn't.

And you never know who McGraw's guests might be. One night it was Faith. One night his sister Tracy. One night his little girls. And one night, he pulled a soldier from the audience and together they sang "Don't Take the Girl." After saluting him, McGraw encouraged the crowd to vote. "I don't care which side you're on, you've got to vote," he said with conviction.

Some parts of the Outloud show never varied, though. Like McGraw's stories. He shared one about Army chaplain Danny Knight, a good friend whose pictures from Iraq made a touching background for McGraw's new song "My Old Friend." Then there was his story about summering in Connecticut while his wife was busy making a movie. Only a guy like Tim can make being an out-of-his-element redneck drinking too many Bud Lights sound charming.

And the roughly 20,000 fans he sang to every night? They're always the same. They stand, they sing, they bring gifts, they hold up signs. And when McGraw does his new songs, this crowd cheers like they've known 'em for years. If that's any indication of how his new CD "Live Like You Were Dying" will do, it's bound to be his best one yet.

OutLoud Set List:

How Bad Do You Want It*
Where the Green Grass Grows
Watch the Wind Blow By
Down on the Farm
Red Rag Top
She's My Kind of Rain
A Little While
My Old Friend*
Don't Take the Girl
Just to See You Smile
Blank Sheet of Paper*
Live Like You Were Dying*
I Like it, I Love It
Indian Outlaw
Drugs or Jesus*
Something Like That
Cowboy in Me
Real Good Man
The Ride

* From McGraw's new CD "Live Like You Were Dying"

What could be better than seeing Tim Outloud? Seeing him up close. About 40 fan club members, radio winners and guests were able to join Tim for a pre-party before each concert. Tim sang one song, accompanied by The Warren Brothers, then took the time to shake hands with everyone there. Even though Tim only spent about 10 minutes in that V.I.P. tent, it was 10 minutes those fans will remember forever.

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