Luke Bryan is still traumatized by his Super Bowl appearance. Two years ago, the country singer sang the national anthem live, and he admitted the anxiety surrounding the performance almost made the whole thing not worth the headache.
“I sign on to the anthem at the Super Bowl and when I got the call, you’re like, ‘Do you really want to put yourself through this mental torture?'” the country superstar told host Jimmy Fallon on Sunday’s The Tonight Show. “You either get the anthem right or you don’t, first of all.”
And though he got it right, the long days of practice leading up to the show were arduous — and his friends didn’t help. Some of his friends even took bets in Vegas on how long his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” would last. “Man, I got country music buddies calling me, like, ‘Hey, man, you wearing a hat or not?'” he said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t know! I’m singing in front of — leave me alone!'”
In the end, Bryan did great, and he unwound from the stress true to fashion. “I get to the box, after I perform the anthem,” he said. “And I’m just like, ‘Somebody get me a vodka drink right now so I can get my life back on track.'”
Bryan hasn’t quite recovered yet, though. “I mean, you’ve been in those situations where you’re so nervous, your face locks up,” he told Fallon. “It feels like you have rigor mortis setting in.”
Though his beloved Falcons wound up losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots in the end, Bryan missed it. “Somebody had to tell me the next morning that we lost,” he said. After getting through the stress of the performance, he tapped out early. “I was out,” he said. “Then I went and did Jägerbombs,” he quipped.
And after performing in front of 125 million people, as Bryan puts it, we can understand why.