Tim McGraw doesn't officially kick off his Sundown Heaven Tour until May 8 in Fresno, Calif., in conjunction with the release of his new album. But several hundred Houston fans got a sneak preview when the country superstar performed an intimate 90-minute concert at The Corinthian in downtown Houston Sunday night.
Billed as "Tim McGraw's Secret Show," the concert was filmed for an episode of Live From the Artists Den, which will be shown on PBS in September. Fans learned of the concert through country western radio stations in Houston and around the nation and applied for free tickets through the Artists Den website.
Clad in gray dress Sansabelt slacks that your father might wear, a black shirt and shiny leather cowboy hat, McGraw performed at least 10 songs and repeated several of them more than once for the broadcast. "We have to do this song over again. They didn't like the sound. This is a TV program and we have to do what they say," he explained at one point, according to a CultureMap insider who wrangled a ticket and surreptitiously snapped some photos even though the audience was asked to refrain from using their cell phones. (Yeah, right.)
McGraw told the crowd, "I like it, so I will do it again and now you will know the words and you can dance, run around naked."
The audience, many of whom wore cowboy hats, didn't seem to mind the continual stop-and-start aspect, often getting more into a song the second time around. (They also had access to a buffet feast that included barbecue and chicken sliders, catered by Jackson and Co., and a cash bar, which kept the crowd in high spirits.)
McGraw played several songs from the new album, set to be released on May 6, including "Shotgun Rider," which debuted on the Tonight show last month during Jimmy Fallon's debut week, "Lookin' for That Girl" (the first single that was released in January), and an up-tempo ditty called "Overrated," which also had to be performed a second time. McGraw told the crowd, "I like it, so I will do it again and now you will know the words and you can dance, run around naked."
No one too off their clothes, but the audience did join in for a spirited rendition of the new song.
He also mixed a few of his previous hits and favorites, including "Southern Girl," which the audience seemed to know every word to, "Friend of a Friend" and "Truck Yeah" — all from his 2013 album Two Lanes of Freedom.
McGraw seemed to be having a heck of a time and the fans loved it, although one woman admonished our CultureMap spy for swaying too much to the music.
If you were at the concert, feel free to note your favorite part in the comments section below.
P.S. McGraw tweeted a photo of the set up for the concert earlier on Sunday night.