Alabama played a back-to-back set of shows at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena over the July 4th weekend, both kicking off a new stretch of shows on their 50th anniversary tour and also celebrating the venue's reopening following COVID-19 shutdowns.

In addition to marking those two important milestones, the group's Saturday night show (July 3) was special for another reason, too: Tim McGraw joined Alabama onstage to sing "Lady Down on Love," the group's hit story-song about the pitfalls and heartache that come along with divorce.

Originally released in 1983, "Lady Down on Love" was Alabama's third and final single from their The Closer You Get... album. Written by frontman Randy Owen, the song was a No. 1 hit for the band both in the U.S. and Canada, and it proved to be as popular as ever during Alabama's Music City show on Saturday, both with an enthusiastic crowd and with the superstar special guest.

To make the moment even more unforgettable McGraw took to social media to share why appearing onstage with the group was particularly meaningful to him. Not only was it his first time as a surprise guest onstage with the group, he explained -- it was his first time ever attending an Alabama show, despite the fact that he's a huge fan.

"It's been 482 days since [there's been] a show at Bridgestone Arena, and it's Alabama. And I'm here," McGraw said. "I've never seen Alabama live. I know every song off of every album. I could probably do the whole show. I'm getting to go onstage with them tonight. This is the first time I've ever seen them in concert and I get to go onstage."

In the caption of his post, McGraw also shed some light on why he chose that particular song for such a momentous occasion. "I remember this song going #1 when I was in high school," he reflected, describing the experience of getting onstage to sing "Lady Down on Love" as a "full circle moment I'll never forget."

According to the Tennesseean, Alabama's shows this weekend were the first arena shows they've played in Nashville in almost two decades. COVID-19 shutdowns halted their planned anniversary tour in 2020, but the group had already been forced to reschedule some dates prior to that, too, due in part to Owen's ongoing health issues.

The band are scheduled to hit the road this summer, though. A run of new 50th anniversary tour dates will run until February 2022; opening acts for various stops include Travis Tritt, Martina McBride and many others.

5 Hottest Country Tours of Summer 2021

There’s a lot to consider when making a list of the hottest tours of summer 2021, including star power, opening acts, venues and set lists. Add to that concerns and cautions as the country begins to emerge from a pandemic and that no one has seen live music in 14 months. It’s quite likely you’re craving live music like a drug that’s just out of reach ... or you’re scared shirtless to surround yourself with 10,000 fans indoors. 

All the emotions about reengaging with the live country music community are valid. While at first it seemed September would be start-up month, several tours on this Hot List begin in July and August at outdoor venues across America. The No. 3 tour and No. 1 tour on our list are mostly indoors, but both are banking on increased safety that comes from a majority of the population having the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Once those lights go down, all of these worries will be carried away by the buzz in the air (and maybe, from your cup). Find five total professionals on this list of Hot Summer Tours, each bringing a total stage show, plus several in-demand opening acts with a proven track record of live entertainment at the highest level. There’s no fat on any of these country tours — if you stick to the tailgate through an opener’s set, you’ll truly be missing something special. 

As always, let us know who you can’t wait to see on tour in 2021 via Twitter or email

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