STUDYING for final school exams can be a hard time for any teenager, but when you throw performing in front of packed arenas into the mix, things can get pretty crazy.
The tough balancing act was the world Tamworth's Lane Pittman was living in when he spent the month of August handing in Higher School Certificate (HSC) assessments during the day, and opening for Luke Combs's sold-out tour at night.
Lane told the Leader he was pretty nervous when he found out he would be hitting the road along side Comb's and country music star Cody Johnson for the Australian and New Zealand leg of the tour, but he quickly found his feet on stage.
"I knew the tour had sold out within 10 minutes, and I knew how big the venues were we were playing in," Lane said.
"There were definitely nerves."
He auditioned for the show with an emotional cover of Luke Combs' song 'Even Though I'm Leaving', and a year later he found himself on tour with the American country music singer.
Despite being placed in the top eight of the prime-time TV show, Lane said he didn't expect to receive the response he did while on tour, especially when he played his first opening set in Auckland, New Zealand.
"Being a support act, and being on that early, you can hope for a crowd but you never know what's going to happen," he said.
"But from the second I walked out there, they [audience] were head bopping, and hand waving.
"Everyone was super into it which was really cool to see."
The tour helped boost the Tamworth musician's social media following, and streams, but it also left him with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to working the stage.
Lane said he spent every show watching Luke and Cody perform, where he would pick up tricks of the trade to implement in his own set the next night.
The teenager started throwing out signed drum sticks, set lists, and stubby coolers to improve the show.
"It was just little things to get the crowd popping," he said.
And on the last night of the tour, he sat down with Luke in his dressing room to chat about all things music, the industry and life.
"They were both [Luke and Cody] just such lovely down to earth humans," he said.
But between rocking out on stage, coming up with ways to improve his set, and watching his social media following tick up, Lane was finishing off his final assessments as he prepares for his HSC exams in the coming months.
The teenager, who is in his final year at Oxley High School, said his teachers kept him in the loop of what was going on in class while he was on tour.
"They were just super understanding, and really excited for me as well," Lane said.
Even though the teenager has become accustomed to performing in front of arenas packed with thousands of people, he said he couldn't be more excited about headlining his first show at the 2024 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Lane is set to play at the Tamworth Hotel on Saturday, January 20, as well as alongside Travis Collins at the TRECC on January 26.
"Those stadium vibes are great, but there's something about being in a hot, sweaty, intimate kind of setting," the teenager said.
"A hot, sweaty Saturday night with people packed into a beer garden, there's a vibe about it."
Post-festival, Lane said new music, potential tour dates, and some other "bits and pieces" are on the list for 2024.
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