Darius Rucker / Lady Antebellum / On Tour

Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum Kick-Off Summer Plays on Tour with a Behind-the-Scenes Look

Photo Credit: Slater Goodson

After years of friendship and months of preparation, three-time GRAMMY award-winner Darius Rucker and seven-time GRAMMY award-winning trio Lady Antebellum launched their co-headlining SUMMER PLAYS ON TOUR this past weekend to a defeaning welcome in Toronto, ON (7/19) and Cuyahoga Falls, OH (7/20). “With one of the biggest mainstream country pairings of the summer” (The Plain Dealer) it was “hard to imagine whose having more fun at the show – the fans or the acts on stage” (Cleveland Country Magazine) with a playlist-worthy set spanning over 20 No. One hits between the two. Today, PEOPLE.com shares an exclusive behind the scenes photo gallery highlighting Rucker and Lady A’s opening weekend as the run continues thrilling audiences across the U.S. all summer long.

“Charles, Hillary and Dave have been such good friends to me over the years – we even toured together once before during the summer of 2012,” explained Rucker. “It’s always exciting to be out on the road with our fans, but I knew it would be even more special with Lady Antebellum being part of the tour too. If the rest of the shows are as much fun as this past weekend, we’re in for a great summer!”

“We’ve been itching to get back on the road with Darius for a while now and we couldn’t have asked for a better opening run,” said Lady A’s Dave Haywood. “You could just feel the energy between all the bands, crews and fans. The crowds made a lasting impression on us and we can already tell there are a lot of memories to be made this year.”

For a behind-the-scenes look at the launch of the SUMMER PLAYS ON TOUR exclusively through PEOPLE.com, click here.

Rucker took the stage first, bringing fans to their feet with chart-toppers such as “Alright” and recent No. One “For The First Time” before Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum joined him for their collaborative “Straight To Hell,” the current single off Rucker’s latest album, When Was The Last Time. Lady Antebellum continued the musical celebration with hits of their own, including 6x PLATINUM hit “Need You Now” and current Top 15-and-climbing single “Heart Break,” with both acts uniting for a group encore that included a lively singalong of Rucker’s Hootie & the Blowfish classic “Hold My Hand.”

In addition to the critically acclaimed co-headliners, Triple Tigers Records newcomer Russell Dickerson opened the show with a punch of energy, treating fans to a dynamic set which included his chart-topping power ballad “Yours.” After wrapping the first weekend of the SUMMER PLAYS ON TOUR, Rucker and Lady A parted ways as the trio headlined the Darien Lake Amphitheater in Darien Center, NY (7/21) and from “the lawn to the front row, a crowd jammed into the venue” (Buffalo News). Rucker reunited with his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmates for a one-night only performance in Atlanta, Ga. The tour continues Thursday (7/26) in Bethel, N.Y. at the site of the famed Woodstock festival, with 29 additional dates through October.

After wrapping the first two nights of the Summer Plays On Tour, Rucker and Lady A temporarily parted ways as the trio headlined the Darien Lake Amphitheater in Darien Center, N.Y. (7/21) where the Buffalo News noted that from “the lawn to the front row, a crowd jammed into the venue.” Meanwhile, Rucker reunited with his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmates for a one-night only performance in Atlanta, Ga. The tour continues Thursday, July 26 in Bethel, N.Y. at the site of the famed Woodstock festival, with 29 additional dates through October.

Remaining stops on the Summer Plays On Tour:
Thursday, July 26, Bethel, N.Y. – Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Friday, July 27, Gilford, N.H. – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
Saturday, July 28, Hartford, Conn. – XFINITY Theatre
Thursday, August 2, Columbia, Md. – Merriweather Post Pavilion
Friday, August 3, Holmdel, N.J. – PNC Bank Arts Center
Saturday, August 4, Wantagh, N.Y. – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Thursday, August 16, Mountain View, Calif. – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Friday, August 17, Sacramento, Calif. – Toyota Amphitheatre
Sunday, August 19, Auburn, Wash. – White River Amphitheatre
Thursday, August 23, Phoenix, Ariz. – Ak-Chin Pavilion
Friday, August 24, Irvine, Calif. – FivePoint Amphitheatre
Saturday, August 25, San Diego, Calif. – Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
Friday, August 31, Welch, Minn. – Treasure Island Resort & Casino
Saturday, September 1, Milwaukee, Wis. – American Family Insurance Amphitheatre
Sunday, September 2, Mount Pleasant, Mich. – Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
Thursday, September 6, Cincinnati, Ohio – Riverbend Music Center
Friday, September 7, Clarkston, Mich. – DTE Energy Music Theatre
Saturday, September 8, Pittsburgh, Pa. – KeyBank Pavilion
Thursday, September 13, Saint Louis, Mo. – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Friday, September 14, Indianapolis, Ind. – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
Saturday, September 15, Tinley Park, Ill. – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Thursday, September 20, Virginia Beach, Va. – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach
Friday, September 21, Camden, N.J. – BB&T Pavilion
Saturday, September 22, Mansfield, Mass. – Xfinity Center
Thursday, September 27, Alpharetta, Ga. – Verizon Amphitheatre*
Friday, September 28, Tampa, Fla. – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Saturday, September 29, West Palm Beach, Fla. – Coral Sky Amphitheatre
Thursday, October 4, Raleigh, N.C. – Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
Friday, October 5, Charlotte, N.C. – PNC Music Pavilion
Saturday, October 6, Bristow, Va. – Jiffy Lube Live
* denotes the show is Lady Antebellum only

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