A version of this story appears in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now or available to buy here.
Calling from a recent stop on the road, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill take EW behind the scenes of their electric, 80-date Soul2Soul: The World Tour 2017 — the Nashville King and Queen’s first joint trek in more than a decade and their biggest and boldest outing yet.
It’s been more than a decade since their last tour
The couple’s previous outing, which ran from 2006 to 2007, was the No. 1-selling country tour ever at the time — so of course they’ve been feeling some pressure. “We had to step up the game in a big way,” says Hill, 49. But thanks to their killer 10-piece backing band, they’ve been getting into a rock-solid groove. “There hasn’t been a night on this tour where we haven’t turned back to [them] and just went, ‘Holy s—!'” says McGraw, 50.
The stage production is eye-popping
McGraw and Hill perform in front of LED lights and an 80-foot-wide video wall, which projects personal pictures of their family over the years. “I think people want a certain level of production when they come see our show,” says McGraw. “And it’s fun for us to be out there with the lights and the bells and the whistles. We bring an element of theater to it, and that works well for us.”
Their set list has all the hits
With more than 20 studio albums between them, choosing songs was initially a hurdle. “You’re never going to get to do every song that every person wants,” says McGraw. Still, they’ve come up with a mix that includes Hill’s biggest hits, “This Kiss” and “Breathe,” and McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” — a song he’s admittedly tired of performing and nearly cut from the set list. “I would’ve packed my bags and left if he’d done that!” says Hill.
McGraw is impressed by his wife every night…
The duo have been married for 20 years — and they still dazzle each other on stage. “Faith’s dance moves have been surprising me!” says McGraw. “She’s bringing out the Beyoncé on this tour!”
…and she’s wowed by him
Hill finds the crowd’s awestruck reaction to “Live Like You Were Dying” inspiring. “That song has spoken to a lot of people,” she says, before joking, “It’s an honor to be up on stage with this 50-year-old man!” Adds McGraw: “She’s got my cane ready for me every night!”
They’re psyched to debut new material
The couple are unveiling songs (“Break First,” “Speak to a Girl,” “Telluride”) from their still-untitled duets album, due out later this year. “Any artist will tell you that when they get out and play new stuff, there’s a freshness to it,” says McGraw. “And when the audience hasn’t heard it but they act like they have…that’s a good feeling!”