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"This has definitely been our year to take the tour to the next level for us in our career," Charles tells Billboard. "We've had a lot of success selling records, and that's all been great, but I don't think we truly felt like we had made it as artists until people came out to the shows. I think that's where the rubber hit the road as an artist, putting butts in the seats. It's been a pretty overwhelming year for us in terms of excitement to see the fans filling up these arenas. We didn't know what to expect because we've always been opening for people. It was exciting, and got us thinking about the next record and what songs will translate to a live audience, and making the album a lot more live song driven."
The trek, which traveled all over the United States and covered Europe, in addition to Australia, included one unforgettable show, with Lady A opening for Bruce Springsteen in London.
"I was a nervous wreck," Hillary confesses. "We've had the opportunity to meet a lot of people we look up to and admire and who have influenced us in our careers. There have only been a few times where I have been so nervous, but he has this way of putting you at ease."
As the bandmates reflect on their hugely successful year, there's one event they acknowledge as having sealed their superstar status. "All of the shows were special," Hillary says, "but being able to sell out the Staples Center -- the room where we were honored to take home the Grammys, and to think about what a milestone that is in any artists' career ... then, to take it overseas into Europe. We never dreamed that we would be doing this so early in our career."
The threesome give ample credit to the artists who invited them to open shows for them early on. "We started off opening for Martina McBride and had the chance to open for Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban," Dave recalls. "I feel there are little moments within our show that are inspired by some of those. I remember that Keith Urban's acoustic moments during his show was one of our favorites to watch. We tried to emulate parts of those. When you watch Jason Aldean and how high energy he is, the way he enters his show, he runs straight out. We picked up those things and tried to apply them to our show as well."
Lady Antebellum fans who want to relive the live show will have their chance on Dec. 4, with the release of the group's "Own the Night World Tour" on DVD and Blu-ray. The live concert film includes 90 minutes of performance from the Little Rock, Ark., stop on the tour this past June, and feature tour documentary footage and seven additional bonus cuts.
Also coming soon from the multi-platinum-selling trio is their holiday CD, On This Winter's Night, which will be available Oct. 22.