Country music superstars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw hope to bring a little sunshine to a rain-soaked Raymond James Stadium when their "Brothers of the Sun" tour kicks off today.
The pair also said the tour captures their decades-old friendship.
"He's a brother I never had," said Chesney about his relationship with co-headliner, McGraw, during a news conference Friday afternoon at RayJay, where roadies were still setting up the monster stage. "We played our music under the sun and experienced an incredible fan base; there's a real authenticity to the title."
The country crooners appeared together in the video for their recent duet, "Feel Like a Rock Star," but haven't toured together in more than a decade.
Opener Jake Owen of Florida also was on hand for the news conference. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals also are on the bill.
"We chose this stadium (to kick off the tour) because, first, it has an actual pirate ship," added Chesney with a laugh. "And it's a really great venue for performances."
The two Southern boys, who have won multiple awards for their music, videos and albums, have enough hits to keep fans singing for hours.
Tonight the pair will play separate hit-filled sets and close the show with an encore, which will feature the performers trading songs, delivering covers, and, trying to outdo each other, which they say is par for the course.
"We're as competitive on the stage as we are off the stage," said McGraw, clad in pink polo shirt, ripped jeans, boots and his signature black cowboy hat. "You did this, now I'm going to do this. It's good for fans to see us swing the bats at the fences every night."
During tonight's show, McGraw will meet the soldier and his family that will receive a new home as part of his HomeFront program that benefits wounded vets in need.
The performers say fans at tonight's show can expect the real deal when they hit the stage.
"When we get up there it's not smoke and mirrors, it's a real friendship and it works," said Chesney.
"It's got to work now," added McGraw with laugh.
IF YOU GO
Brothers of the Sun Tour
With Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw
When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa
Tickets: $45, $55, $80, $85, $110, $145, $170, $195, $215, $240 and $285; (813) 287-8844; www.ticketmaster.com