Jo Dee Messina Finally Gets Her Own

Popular singer launches first headlining tour on Thursday.

NASHVILLE — Jo Dee Messina's first headlining tour may prove as fiery as the singer's hair, judging by an electrifying preview she offered here on Monday, February 5.

The tour launches on Thursday, February 8 in South Bend, Indiana, and runs through April 21 for its first leg. Rascal Flatts will be the tour opener.

During a "rehearsal" and tour announcement on Monday, February 5, before a crowd of fans and music industry types, an admittedly exhausted Messina nevertheless attacked a high-energy set list that included such lively hits as "That's The Way" (RealAudio excerpt), "Lesson In Leavin'," "I'm Alright," and "Downtime" (RealAudio excerpt).

In fact, Messina took very little downtime of her own during the show, moving from one full-throttle song to the next, and charming the jaded industry crowd along the way.

"I started planning this tour six to seven months ago with my fiancé," Messina said in a pre-show interview. "Everything — what the stage looks like, how it's lit, all the special effects we're gonna have, which is not a whole lot, but a few surprises we have for the audience, the songs we will perform, the set list — we started that months ago. Now that it's all having to fit into an hour and a half time slot, I think last night is when I truly did get brain-fried, to where I couldn't even think about what was coming out of my mouth. People would talk to me and I just couldn't even understand what they were saying. It's been minimal sleep and a lot of activity!"

In addition to the work that launching a tour of this magnitude entails, Messina also admitted to a healthy amount of stress that comes with being a headliner. "The first day, my guitar player Tony came up to me and said, 'Man, there sure are a lot of new people!'" said Messina. "And I said, 'Yeah, and every one of them makes a salary!'"

Still for Messina, whose "That's The Way" spent four weeks at number one and whose current hit, "Burn," is fast approaching that slot, it was now or never. Messina's tour resume reads like an opening act's who's who: Among her high-profile gigs are slots on the George Strait Country Music Festival and last summer's Judds' Reunion Tour.

But when it came time to plan for 2001, Messina said she was ready to break out on her own. "I've been an opening act for five years, and I think when we were looking at all the opening slots it was like, 'You know what? If I don't do it now, I won't know what it's like."

Here's the itinerary for the Jo Dee Messina tour, as reported by Pollstar:

2/8 - South Bend, IN @ Morris Performing Arts Center

2/9 - Merrillville, IN @ Star Plaza Theatre

2/10 - Minneapolis, MN @ Orpheum Theatre

2/16 - Rochester, NY @ Auditorium Center

2/17 - Johnstown, PA @ Cambria County War Memorial

2/18 - Poughkeepsie, NY @ Mid-Hudson Civic Center

2/23 - Mashantucket, CT @ Foxwoods Casino

2/24 - Fairfax, VA @ Patriot Center

2/25 - Sewell, NJ @ Washington Township P.A.C.

3/9 - Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Centre

3/10 - Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre

3/16 - Burlington, IA @ Memorial Auditorium

3/17 - Toledo, OH @ Stranahan Theatre

3/18 - Cleveland, OH @ Palace Theatre

3/30 - Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theatre

3/31 - Charleston, SC @ North Charleston Performing Arts Center

4/19 - Greenville, SC @ Peace Center

4/21 - Sunrise, FL @ Sunrise Musical Theatre