Some of the best concert pranks are pulled off by country artists. From the king of practical jokes, Brad Paisley, to the usually mild-mannered Martina McBride, almost everyone gets in on the action.
End-of-tour pranks have become something of a tradition in the country community — whether it’s playing dress up during someone else’s set, hijacking a video feed or turning a stage into a barnyard musical, country artists know how to dish it out. Thankfully, they also know how to take it, because once you pull one over on someone like Paisley, you can expect some payback in your future ...
We’ve rounded up the ten best country concert pranks, ranging from the relatively tame to the surprisingly elaborate. Check them out below!
Martina McBride Shakes Her BadonkadonkMartina McBride, Trace Adkins - 2010
Trace Adkins got a little more Martina McBride than he bargained for on the last night of their Shine All Night tour in 2010. McBride strutted on stage during his performance of "Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk" with a little more junk in the trunk than fans are used to seeing. Adkins was visibly flustered as McBride shook her booty and showed off her sassy side. "Did you see that?" he asked the audience incredulously after she exited stage right. It was a fun departure for fans of McBride.
Jason Aldean and Willie Robertson Bring the Bachelorette Party EntertainmentJason Aldean, Luke Bryan - October 2012
It’s not every day you have one of the Duck Commander boys on stage with you. Jason Aldean took advantage of the opportunity and teamed up with Willie Robertson to make Luke Bryan just a little uncomfortable during his performance of ‘Country Girl’ at the 2012 Concert for the Cure in Dallas. Instead of the usual tradition of bringing up a female fan to dance with Bryan during the song, Aldean declares that Robertson and he have brought along a surprise. Out struts a gaggle of chiseled abs and cowboy hats, the owners of which proceed to do a little choreographed thrusting and hip-shaking. Bryan was a good sport, fist bumping the dancers after they finished and joking, “I gotta start working out."
Tim McGraw Gets Physical at Lady Antebellum ShowTim McGraw, Lady Antebellum - August 2010
The guys and gal of Lady Antebellum were minding their own business, when suddenly an influx of shirtless men overtook the stage and turned the concert into an exercise video. One of which happened to be none other than Tim McGraw clad in nothing but gym shorts and a bandana! The men continued their jumping jacks as the band tried to finish out their performance of "Love Don’t Live Here," until the crew decided they’d gotten their exercise for the day and trotted off stage.
Brad Paisley Gives the Band Perry a Colorful On-Screen MakeoverBrad Paisley, The Band Perry - August 2012
Brad Paisley may be the king of on-stage pranks. Artists who go on tour with the jokester now know to keep an eye out for anything suspicious when they step into the spotlight. One of Paisley’s more memorable pranks took some behind-the-scenes planning, but paid off in a big way. The target? The Band Perry. The prank? During the band’s opening number, instead of the video they’d chosen to display on the giant LED screens behind them, Paisley arranged for the title sequence from a kids’ show, the Doodlebops, to play instead. He even included the band’s names in the video in place of the character names. Kudos to the Band Perry for continuing the set unfazed — but we suspect there may have been some retribution back stage afterward.
Goats Upstage Darius Rucker Thanks to Rascal FlattsRascal Flatts, Darius Rucker - March 2010
Of all the things artists see appear on stage, livestock isn’t usually one of them. Darius Rucker got a little taste of the farm courtesy of tourmates Rascal Flatts and crew during a performance in Columbus, Ga in 2010. The plot was two-tiered. Not only did the team arrange to have live goats let into Darius Rucker’s dressing room to wreak some havoc, but they also had them do a little fashion show on stage. The handlers carried them out one by one and did a little spin on the catwalk while Rucker tried to sing "Family Tradition." The little guys stole the show, of course, and to top it off, Rucker returned to a sign on his dressing room labeled “Darius Rucker Dressing Room and Petting Zoo."
Carrie Underwood Turns Crowd Against Little Big TownCarrie Underwood, Little Big Town - December 2008
If you’re a performer, likely one of your biggest fears is being drenched in a chorus of boos while standing on stage. Unfortunately for Little Big Town, they have had that experience. Carrie Underwood cooked up a little mischief on her Carnival Ride tour in 2008 and arranged for the big screens to display “BOO” when each member introduced themselves. The crowd played along, and for a heart-stopping moment, Kimberly Schlapman thought the audience had turned on her. "That made me sweat!" she exclaimed when the band realized what had happened. It didn’t stop the crowd from boo-ing the rest of the band members, but at least the other three knew it was nothing personal.
Dia Frampton’s Alternate Identity Disturbs Blake SheltonDia Frampton, Blake Shelton - March 2012
Most on-stage pranks tend to be enjoyable for everyone involved — even if they’re a little shocking. But occasionally, the target doesn’t take it so well. When Blake Shelton’s production manager walked on stage in a dress and wig in place of Shelton’s 'The Voice' student, Dia Frampton, he was less than amused. “I hate end of tour pranks,” Shelton declared in dismay as he shooed the manager off stage and begged for Frampton to come out as planned. The duet is a special song to the pair, detailing their experience on the reality vocal competition, and Shelton didn’t want the scarring experience associated with the tune. Understandable, considering that dress did the manager no favors.
Kellie Pickler Adds New Meaning to ‘Chicken Pickin'’Kellie Pickler, Brad Paisley - July 2007
The prank master met his match in country girl Kellie Pickler in 2007 during a stripped down acoustic set in North Carolina, her home state. Brad Paisley was singing "Dixieland Delight" when Pickler strolled out from backstage wearing overalls and fake hillbilly teeth and carrying a live chicken. She simply placed it on stage and walked away. Pickler continued to casually place chickens on the stage one by one, as if nothing was unusual, while Paisley played. Having live poultry sauntering around on stage is certainly distracting — Paisley struggled to finish the song — but the audience didn’t seem to mind.
Carrie Underwood Provides Barnyard Background VocalistCarrie Underwood, Hunter Hayes - May 2013
Hunter Hayes got an unexpected guest vocalist during his last show opening for Carrie Underwood on her Blown Away tour in 2013. No, it wasn’t Underwood herself. The megastar decided to do a little end-of-tour hazing, replacing Hayes' video feed during a chorus of his song "Light Me Up" with a quirky clip from a viral video. The clip was timed perfectly to accompany Hayes’ belting of the word “up,” resulting in a little unsolicited backup singing (or yelling) from a tone-deaf goat. Sadly, Hayes never released a duet version of the song featuring the goat, and the joke lives on as one of the best on-stage pranks in country music thus far.
Taylor Swift Gives Keith Urban a KISSTaylor Swift, Keith Urban - August 2009
Taylor Swift is no stranger to silly antics, but this prank on Keith Urban takes the cake. Swift cut no corners when it came to planning this gaff — she and other band members dressed head-to-toe as the rock band KISS and strutted on stage during Urban’s “Kiss a Girl.” Considering the time it must have taken to apply the makeup alone, it’s obvious Swift and her cohorts had been mulling this one over for a while. ‘KISS’ continued to play along with Urban for the remainder of the song — getting the full value of their costumes, of course — as Urban tried to keep it together. Fans ate it up, and it continues to be one of the most legendary on-stage pranks a country star has played on another.