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Tour Opening Act

2006-2009

Taylor promoted her debut album, Taylor Swift (2006), by performing as an opening act for several major country artists’ concert tours, including Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and Keith Urban.
By 2007, Taylor had quickly established herself as the most remarkable country music breakthrough artist of the decade. This landed her a spot as an opener on almost every big country headlining tour of the late 2000s:

«Something really crazy started to happen. I was opening up for every single country headliner imaginable. I was opening up for Brad Paisley, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw. Like, all these people that I'd always wanted to open up shows for. I was a nervous wreck. I rehearsed non-stop, over and over again. And I loved it. Those were some of my favorite times.»

By now, she knew how to work all the different digital cameras, all the different camera phones. Even back then, she knew exactly how to establish a lasting connection with her fans. Before every show she would load up her wrists with bracelets that she would later toss out to fans during “Tim McGraw”, allowing them to take home a small piece of her. And after she finished singing “Should’ve Said No” about a boy who cheated on her, she would drop to her knees and bend forward, holding her head still as fans in the front rows patted it concernedly. It was a scarily intimate moment but essential to her self-presentation that there was no barrier between her and her songs, and their listeners, the consumers. That insistence informs every aspect of her work, to this day.
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Rascal Flatts: Me and My Gang Tour (2006-2007)

After Rascal Flatts fired their previous opening act on the “Me and My Gang” Tour, Eric Church, for playing too long, Taylor received a phone call on October 17, 2006, saying that she would be hired as Church’s replacement. Church joked with Taylor that he should receive a copy of her first gold album in exchange for helping her become famous; Taylor held up her end of the bargain by sending him her gold album with a note that read, “Thanks for playing too long and too loud on the Flatts tour. I sincerely appreciate it.” In a 2007 interview, she said that she really appreciated the fans on the Rascal Flatts tour:

«Rascal Flatts just had the perfect audience for me. I have so many young girls who are into my music and I was really wondering how it would be translated into a more traditional country audience. And it's just been unbelievable. It's really exciting to see that my music can apply to literally all walks of life.»

Taylor again opened for Rascal Flatts for their “Still Feels Good Tour” in 2008, this time around during a 45-minute set. While Rascal Flatts still enjoyed top billing for the show, it was increasingly hard to tell how much of the crowd was there for them, and how much of it was for teen sensation Taylor.

Taylor also covered their song “What Hurts The Most” multiple times on her own tours. When she received country music’s highest honor, the CMA “Pinnacle Award” in 2013, she mentioned the Rascal Flatts tour by saying: “I remember when I was sixteen and I got the first phone call from Scott Borchetta, my label president. He said, ‘Can you be on the road in two days to open up for Rascal Flatts?’ And I just started screaming, I said ‘This has to be a miracle!’ He said, ‘No, it’s not a miracle, Eric Church got fired for playing too long.'”

George Strait's Tour (2007)

Taylor also opened at all of the dates for the first leg of George Strait’s 2007 tour that promoted his album “It Just Comes Natural”, along with country legend Ronnie Milsap. Just like with the Rascal Flatts tour, Taylor was excited about opening for George Strait, saying that “I couldn’t imagine anything more thrilling than to be on a tour with George Strait […] Just last week, I was at the CMA Awards watching him be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and this week I received word that I would be on the tour with him. This is surreal! I keep pinching myself to make sure this isn’t just a dream.” The announcement came a week after Taylor was finished opening for Rascal Flatts. She told GAC‘s “Shortcuts” in an interview:

«It's crazy to think that a year ago, I was sitting in high school and now I'm on tour with George Strait. Playing for so many people a night, that's such an honor. The stage for his shows is really awesome 'cause there's four sides to it. So I get to work like four crowds every night. It's really, really exciting! When you're singing you can hear the echo of the people in the audience singing every single word with you and that was that big dream that I had for myself. It's happening.»

According to Taylor, George taught her to always play the songs the fans want to hear.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill: Soul2Soul II Tour (2007)

During mid-2007, Taylor performed during select dates of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s “Soul2Soul II Tour.” One of her performances was included on the Target Exclusive deluxe edition of her first album. “Being on their tour is like a present. It’s like Christmas, like four Christmases. It’s a fun life, it’s a good life.”

«Taylor proved that she has what it takes to be a real artist in country music and why her fans love her so. It was a thrill to have her on the 'Soul2Soul Tour.' She was professional, prepared, gracious, and most of all, gifted. The real deal.»

Brad Paisley: Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour (2008)

Immediately after wrapping her “Soul2Soul dates,” Taylor hooked back up with Brad Paisley’s “Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour,” which she joined in May 2008, at Paisley’s specific request: “Taylor Swift was one that I called my manager when I heard her album and said, ‘We have to get her out on tour.’ And for her to have written that record at 16, it’s crazy how good it is. I figured I’d hear it and think, ‘Well, it’s good for 16,’ but it’s just flat-out good for any age.”

On his tour, Taylor performed a 25 minute set with her full band. She told an interviewer in 2007: “I’m going on tour with Brad Paisley in the spring and summer, and I’m so excited about that because he is such a phenomenal songwriter. And it’s just gonna be great to be on tour with someone who’s really just an amazing songwriter and I’ve really always looked up to him. It’s just so cool to be on the same level as these people.” She was one of three opening acts, along with label mate Jack Ingram and Kellie Pickler. She shared a little bit about tour life in an interview:

«Brad treats his opening acts like they're just on the same level as he is. I mean, he bought us presents and he'll come and talk to us. It's very cool to be on tour with somebody who's that down to earth. It's really a blessing to be on tour with somebody who just doesn't think that they're all that and who will just come to your bus and be like, 'Hey, how do you do today?'»

Brad and Taylor also used to prank each other on tour more than once. In 2013, she recalled: “I got a call that I was gonna get to go on the road with Brad Paisley and I toured with him for nine months. And I sat on a speaker by the side of his stage and I watched him every single night. ‘Cause he was funny, and I’ll never be that funny, and it makes me sad.”

Keith Urban: Escape Together World Tour (2009)

In the midst of her own headlining tour, the “Fearless Tour“, Taylor began opening shows in select cities for Keith Urban on his “Escape Together World Tour” in 2009; opening for concerts in Cincinnati, Auburn Hills, Ft. Wayne, Atlanta, Des Moines, Moline, Boston, Philadelphia, Rochester, and Kansas City.

«She was a blast on the road. People have asked me, 'Could you sense that she was going to be who she became?' And I was like, 'I think everybody knew that.' You could see it clearly. She was playing way past where she was. She was way into the future. You could tell.»

Taylor and Keith are friends to this day and have collaborated multiple times. In 2013, they teamed up together with Tim McGraw on his song “Highway Don’t Care,” and in 2021 Keith featured on Taylor’s songs “That’s When” and “We Were Happy” on Fearless (Taylor’s Version).
General Information
Associated Album
Start DateOctober 19, 2006
End Date
Locations
North America
Tours6
Headliners
Rascal Flatts
George Strait
Tim McGraw
Faith Hill
Brad Paisley
Keith Urban
TAYLOR SWIFT CONCERT CHRONOLOGY
Tour Opening Act (2006-2009)Fearless Tour (2009-2010)
Regular Setlist
ENCORE
Tour Rehearsals
Journal Entry
Taylor Swift Era

Taylor Swift Era

Taylor Swift (2006)

Taylor Swift Songs

Taylor Swift: A Place In This World