Last week, the rock’n roll legend Eddie Van Halen passed away at the age of 65 following a lengthy battle with cancer. In the wake of this tragic loss, the country music star Kenny Chesney is speaking out to recall the unforgettable experience of getting to perform with Van Halen onstage.

Chesney, 52, recalled to People magazine that he felt “so alive” performing with Van Halen.

“It was one of those moments that every kid who dreams about rock music dreams of,” he said. “It was so alive, so in the moment, and both Van Halen brothers [Eddie and Alex] played like it was their show, their fans.”

To this day, Chesney remembers hearing Van Halen’s music for the first time after football practice one day.

“You never forget the first time you heard it and it sets a bar for life,” he explained.

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During one of Chesney’s concerts in 2006, Eddie Van Halen and his brother Alex Van Halen, 67, performed “Jump” and “You Really Got Me.” This was an experience that the country music star never forgot.

“They just brought it and every single person on stage was losing their mind,” Chesney said. “The audience loved it and so did Eddie and [his older brother] Alex … They were so generous with their time.”

He even remembered the moment that the band’s manager Irving Azoff told him that Eddie Van Halen would be calling him.

“I answered and he sounds just like you’d think but then he falls into talking to you about music, life, road life and all these things,” Chesney recalled. “It’s like you’ve always been friends and he knows your life and he understands.”

After news of Van Halen’s death broke, Chesney paid tribute to him in a touching Instagram post.

“I am devastated at the news of the passing of my friend @eddievanhalen,” Chesney wrote. “He was a friend and a hero to anyone who has ever picked up a guitar and had a dream. Eddie and his brother Alex joined us on stage at one of our stadium shows in Los Angeles and it was one of the highlights of my touring life in all my summers on the road.”

“I will never forget that night and how happy we both were that our musical paths crossed that night on stage,” he added. “Rest In Peace to the best guitar player that ever lived. We will miss you Eddie Van Halen. Your music will live forever!!”

This piece originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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