“He Wasn’t Even Plugged In” – Peyton Manning “Played Guitar” On Tour With Kenny Chesney The Summer After Rookie Season

Kenny Chesney Peyton Manning

It’s not every day you can say you saw Peyton Manning on tour.

The former Tennessee Volunteer is no stranger to country music. From co-hosting the CMA Awards with Luke Bryan and joining Parker McCollum on stage to sing “Red Dirt Road” to his iconic selfie with Luke Combs, Peyton Manning and country music go hand in hand.

While he has lots of star-studded friends these days, the OG artist who got to spend time with Peyton Manning back in the day was Kenny Chesney. Last month, Chesney went on The Rich Eisen Show and told a hilarious story about how Manning used to go on weekend runs with him and his band.

“I met Peyton when he was still in college at Tennessee. So you know, Peyton and I have been friends a very long time.” 

As that was before the age where social media consumed us all, Peyton Manning would get up to some shenanigans when he wasn’t on the football field. In between his rookie season and sophomore year with the Colts, he spent summers on the road with Chesney and his band, pretending to be a touring musician.

“We would have one extra guy on stage. He would be up there with a guitar. The audience would be looking around, thinking, ‘ That guy looks familiar. ‘ Then I would introduce him as Peyton Manning, and people would go crazy.”

While it was an incredible moment for those in the audience to see Manning on stage, Chesney mentions that he was not the best at selling the part of being a guitar player in the band.

“He wasn’t even plugged in. Like he had a guitar over his shoulder, you know? It was all in good fun, but he wasn’t even plugged in. He wouldn’t even change chords, he couldn’t even fake it. You have to change chords during the song, Peyton would stay in the same spot the whole time. Everybody knew he wasn’t plugged in.”

The whole time Kenny Chesney is detailing this, he is giving hand motions of what Manning looked like on stage, strumming his unplugged guitar. Just even imagining it a fraction of what it probably looked like on stage is comedy gold.

After this story, I’d take a wild guess that he felt more at home on the field than on a stage, but man, how cool it would have been to see Manning on stage with Chesney back in the day.

Just for fun while you’re here, enjoy some footage from 2003 of Manning and Chesney in the studio recording “Whatever It Takes.” It’s no fake guitar playing, but you can see that Manning can walk the walk a little when it comes to his vocal ability.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock