“Music and songs are the most powerful thing we have,” country music superstar Kenny Chesney told the record-breaking crowd of 55,182 fans (besting One Direction’s 2014 Nissan Stadium record of 54,249) that packed Nashville’s Nissan Stadium on Saturday (Aug. 11), the setting for the 16th stop on his Trip Around The Sun Tour. “This is beautiful.”
This Hillbilly Rockstar was in full control of his stadium-sized legion of fans as he offered a 20+ song set, filled with hits from a career that has spanned more than two decades.
“I haven’t played this stadium in six years and I apologize for it,” Chesney told the crowd.
All was clearly forgiven, as the audience stood at attention throughout a set that ranged from 1998’s “How Forever Feels” to his latest chart-topper “Get Along.”
Throughout the energetic two-hour performance, Chesney worked every part of the massive stage, dancing, grinning, running and generally staying as close as possible to his No Shoes Nation. He led the audience in hit after hit, including “Livin’ In Fast Forward,” “Beer In Mexico,” “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,” and more.
Though temperatures in Nashville hovered in the 80s well into the evening, Chesney never left the stage. Before he reached the second half of the set, Chesney’s signature tank and jeans were clearly soaked with sweat, both from the heat and from a concert that is essentially a rigorous two-hour cardio workout for the superstar.
Two large video screens followed his every move, in addition to a video screen that flashed scenes from various music videos. During “Young,” the screens showcased photos from Chesney’s own childhood, including his early performances and sports games.
The moody “Somewhere With You” offered the first slow burn of the concert, strategically placed nearly 10 songs into the show. The placement of the show’s scarce quiet moments heightened the pure emotional connection between fans and superstar. Midway through “Anything But Mine,” Chesney allowed the audience to take over the chorus, while he ended the song with only his warm baritone left convey the song’s nostalgia.
Chesney showcased members of his ace band throughout the evening, highlighted by his collaboration of “Setting The World On Fire’ with bassist and vocalist Harmoni Kelley. With her powerful, edgy voice, she more than held her own center stage, while Chesney offered his vocals from the catwalk, shaking hands with fans.
He also welcomed the evening’s openers, Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion, and Brandon Lay back to the stage at various points. Thomas Rhett collaborated on “When The Sun Goes Down,” while Lay sang on “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” During “Save It For A Rainy Day,” Chesney traded lines with Old Dominion’s Brad Tursi and Matt Ramsey, who co-wrote the 2015 Chesney hit with the late Andrew Dorff.
As he has done for several shows on his Trip Around The Sun Tour, Chesney welcomed David Lee Murphy to perform two of his signature ‘90s hits, “Dust On The Bottle” and “Party Crowd.” The two also offered their recent chart-topping collaboration, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” Chesney and Murphy were in Nashville earlier this week to celebrate the No. 1 single with industry members, but Saturday evening they shared the song’s uplifting message, and their longstanding friendship, with the fans.
Saturday night’s stadium show reached a pinnacle with the duet, which served as a swirling anthem of hope.
“Let us help you forget whatever it is, and just live in this music, this moment.” Tennessee native Chesney urged the crowd, with the sincerity of a southern preacher, using music to spread his musical message of love, hope, sunshine, and good times.
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