|NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Eight-time Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney is ready to take it back to the stadiums! His Chillaxification 2020 tour is designed to bring great music, good vibes and one of his most diverse lineups to some of his favorite cities and a few new places. Joining him for this summer’s adventure are six-time Academy of Country Music/Country Music Association Duo of the Year Florida Georgia Line (“Meant to Be,” “Cruise”), three-time and reigning ACM/CMA Vocal Group of the Year Old Dominion (“Make It Sweet,” “Break Up With Him”) and summer touring sensation Michael Franti & Spearhead (“Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey (I Love You)”).|
Chillaxification 2020 kicks off Saturday, April 18 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas – and culminates Friday, August 28 with his 20th show at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Tickets for all dates will go on sale next Friday, October 4 at 10 a.m. local time
“These stadium shows are the most fun thing I do,” says the high-energy songwriter. “It’s been a year, so when I get out there, I wanna make sure that No Shoes Nation is being rocked, having fun and getting all the music they can out of the day. We always try to do something different, bring someone new – and for anyone who’s never seen Michael Franti and Spearhead, just wait!”
The only country artist on Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years, Chesney’s summer stadium treks have become legend – and gave rise to the iconic No Shoes Nation. Built on a strong commitment to the fans, Chesney’s No Shoes Radio serves as a connector for the man The Los Angeles Times deemed “The People’s Superstar” and The Wall Street Journal hailed “The King of the Road.”
“I love playing for No Shoes Nation any time, anywhere,” says the soft-spoken superstar, “but these stadium shows are always something so powerful, I can’t tell you how much anticipation goes into each one. Not to mention, we’re always wanting to top what’s come before – and I think this lineup might just pack the most fun of them all.”
Recently singled out by Variety as “Country’s only long-term stadium act,” Chillaxification 2020 builds on the enduring rite of summer that Chesney’s stadium shows have become. With the multiple week No. 1 “Get Along” from his deeply personal Songs for the Saints, benefiting the Love for Love City Fund, and the steamy “Tip of My Tongue” hovering just outside the Top 10 at Country radio, there’s a lot of new music, old favorites and surprises on tap for what will be the summer’s biggest tour.
American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Thursday, September 26 at 10 a.m. local time through Thursday, October 3 at 10 p.m. local time. General ticket sales begin at 10 a.m. local time on Friday, October 4.
Having defined the country music stadium experience over the last decade and a half, Chesney spent this year’s Songs for the Saints Tour taking his music to the cities that have been overlooked on his massive million-tickets-a-summer treks. Having played 159 stadium shows – rocking over a million people at Gillette Stadium alone – Chillaxification 2020 promises to be everything No Shoes Nation has come to expect from the man who gave them “American Kids,” “Beer In Mexico,” “Out Last Night,” “Noise,” “When the Sun Goes Down” and more.
Blue Chair Bay Rum returns as tour sponsor. Chesney’s award-winning line of rum will again be the presenting sponsor, with activations throughout the summer.
Kenny Chesney’s Chillaxification 2020 Tour
with Florida Georgia Line, Old Dominion and Michael Franti & Spearhead
April 18 AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas
April 25 Miller Park Milwaukee, Wis.
May 2 U.S. Bank Stadium Minneapolis, Minn.
May 9 Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Fla.
May16 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, Ga.
May 22 Minute Maid Park Houston, Texas
May 23 The Alamodome San Antonio, Texas
May 30 Heinz Field Pittsburgh, Pa.
June 6 Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, Pa.
June 13 Busch Stadium St. Louis, Mo.
June 20 Ohio Stadium Columbus, Ohio
June 27 Nissan Stadium Nashville, Tenn.
July 11 Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City, Mo.
July 18 CenturyLink Field Seattle, Wash.
July 25 Soldier Field Chicago, Ill.
August 1 SoFi Stadium Los Angeles, Calif.
August 8 Empower Field at Mile High Denver, Colo.
August 15 Ford Field Detroit, Mich.
August 22 MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, NJ
August 28 Gillette Stadium Foxboro, Mass.
…and more dates to be announced.
WCTK Virtual Kenny Chesney Concert is Friday August 23
(Providence, RI) August 6, 2019: Hall Communications Cat Country 98.1 (WCTK-FM/Providence) is broadcasting a virtual Kenny Chesney show on Friday night, August 23. The show will feature a mixture of live and studio Chesney cuts. Opening acts will be determined by fan voting – which is going on now on Cat Country’s website www.catcountry.com/kenny.
“There is a big void left in our summer with no Kenny,” said Bob Walker, Vice President of Programming for Hall Communications and Program Director for WCTK. “Those two nights Kenny usually plays Gillette are magical. We figured our fans might like to move the show to their backyard and this would be a fun way to do it. They shouldn’t have to deal with no Gronk and no Kenny in the same month!”
“Opening for Kenny at Gillette is such a big deal in the industry,” said April Shibley, Promotions Manager for WCTK in Providence and WNBH in New Bedford. “We decided to let our fans choose who should get that honor. The nomination phase is over and now it’s raw voting. The voting has been fast and furious.”“The first acts will play at 8pm with Kenny going on live around 9 all the way until midnight,” added Walker. “Fan response has been overwhelming so we are excited to bring this to New England over the air, via our stream at www.catcountry.com or on any Amazon Alexa smart speaker via the Cat Country skill.”
|NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After the decidedly introspective Songs for the Saints, Kenny Chesney gears up for his first true Blue Chair/Warner Music Nashville project with the release of ‘Tip of My Tongue,’ a decidedly grown up song from the man who Variety called “country music’s only long-term stadium act.” With its sweeping groove and an almost humid melody lift, ‘Tip of My Tongue’ merges desire and connection over a figure of speech in a classic songwriting technique.|
Having spent the first half of the year taking the music to the people, focusing on the markets that have not been part of his massive stadium tours, his Songs for the Saints Tour reconnected him to a whole other segment of his audience. With a short break to recalibrate his focus, the man hailed by The New York Times for music that “gives him heroic, wide-open spaces” and USA Today has cited “its whirl of dizzy romance, of love in its intoxicating inception” is at work with longtime co-producer Buddy Cannon recording what will be his first real album for his new home.
“It’s funny how a figure of speech can lead you to all kinds of places,” Chesney marvels. “You start talking, and words fall out, and anything can happen. When you go in and write on any given day, the chemistry is what it is. When the idea fell out, we all just laughed and went, ‘Well, what can we do with that?’
“I’ve written so much with Ross (Copperman), that’s always easy. He brought Ed (Sheeran) in, and he is such a great writer… The way creativity works in creative people is so different, but it’s always exciting. As a co-write with a new writer, it’s one of the most fun sessions I’ve done in a long time. I get why people love working with him.”
For Chesney, signed to a publishing deal with Acuff Rose before Phil Walden put him on the relaunched Capricorn, songs have always been his strongest currency. Whether ‘The Tin Man,’ an early hit from his very first album, the surging ‘Beer In Mexico,’ ‘Out Last Night’ and ‘Keg In The Closet’ which musically time-stamps moments of pure joy, the explosive protest ‘Noise,’ reflective ‘I Go Back’ or Rascal Flatt’s No. 1 ‘Take Me There,’ as well as the female-empowering ‘Wild Child,’ his writing maintains a standard and presses what a country song can be.
“With all the great songs that have been written in this town, I think you always want to do something a little different,” Chesney explains. “I think there’s this moment when you look at someone and you know they contain everything. You want to know everything, consume everything about them. It’s why we say ‘It’s a long way down,’ because you want to know it all. And the best part: we got a melody that feels like what’s going on lyrically. The music matches the words, and you can just drift in it.”
From a quiet, almost watery open, ‘Tip of My Tongue’ builds to a full-bodied chorus with layered vocals, muted bass, keyboards and a rhythm track that balances the tension of the quiet vocal-forward verses. Like tides rising and falling, a consuming back and forth to the track, which turns on the tumbling profession “It’s a long way down,” before finding the contrasting attraction of “I love you salt and sugar…”
‘Tip of My Tongue’ arrives July 12, 5 a.m. CDT. For a man who’s broken ground with ‘American Kids,’ ‘Setting The World On Fire,’ ‘Noise,’ ‘Save It For A Rainy Day’ and ‘Get Along,’ look for a whole new dimension from the man with a record-setting 30 Billboard Country No. 1s.
It isn’t very often that an artist plays for over 1,000,000 fans at a single venue. It takes a long period of time with huge crowds each time. That is something that only a few artists can probably do. But it is something that Kenny Chesney did last month as he officially played for over 1,000,000 fans during his years playing at Gillette Stadium.
When it was announced before the shows that the weekend would mark the 1,000,000 fans threshold, rumors began to swirl around of what exactly would happen to celebrate the feat. And when Karen D. from Rhode Island was brought on stage during the Saturday night show of the weekend and celebrated as the 1,000,000th fan, we still didn’t know much.
But we have found out! We reached out to Karen to see if she would be willing to chat with us about the experience and thankfully she did! Karen is a pediatric nurse who is also very passionate about dogs and rescuing dogs. She considers herself as a superfan- as she’s been seeing Kenny at Gillette every year going back to 2005 with some years, going both nights. Check out the transcript below of our chat with Karen!
NECM: When you brought these tickets, did you have any idea what these tickets actually were?
KD: I had no idea. I got an e-mail on Wednesday from Gillette saying I had won a Meet and Greet but I still didn’t know I had the 1,000,000th ticket. I didn’t know until Kenny Chesney and Robert Kraft facetimed me the next day.
NECM: How surprised were you to see Kenny and Robert Kraft on Facetime?
KD: I’ve never even Facetimed before. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to open the call properly because I had never Facetimed before prior to that day. I thought security was calling me as I was told someone from Gillette Stadium would be calling between 2 and 4 to inform me how to get my backstage passes. So when they called the next day, I wasn’t expecting it. I just started screaming and laughing. They let me know I bought the 1 millionth ticket. Mr. Kraft said how much he values first responders and that’s when he said he wanted to gift me season tickets for the Patriots. And then Kenny mentioned that he knew I was involved in the welfare of animals and animal rescue, which is when he said he wanted to give me the trip. They wouldn’t tell me how they knew these things about me, I asked, and they just said that they did their research.
NECM: I saw you got a custom guitar- who gave that to you and what does the message say?
KD: When I was backstage for the Meet and Greet and Kenny came into the room he had the guitar and he handed it to me. It says, “Karen, love you a million times, Kenny 2018.”
NECM: So you got to meet Kenny… What did he say to you? What did you say to him?
KD: It went great. I was really nervous. When we first went backstage, we spent a lot of time with some of the management from Gillette- Lindsay, Jess and Kassie. They just sat with us while we waited for everyone to come together, which was great because they kept me really calm. Initially, Mr. Kraft and Jonathan Kraft came in as well as some other members of the Patriots organization and Mr. Kraft presented me with the season tickets. He asked me if I had picked my trip yet and I told him where. He had never heard of Puppy Island but he actually was looking it up on his phone while I was talking to him. He was very down to earth. And then Kenny came in and presented me with the guitar and thanked me for coming to his concerts and supporting him and being the 1,000,000thticket buyer.
NECM: I saw you up on stage during the show, did you use the million seats at all during the show?
KD: I never went to my seats. When we first arrived there, we were told to meet up with the Gillette contact I had. They took us backstage for the Meet and Greet and we were then told we got upgraded to the Sandbar. We went out to the Sandbar after the Meet and Greet but you couldn’t get close to the stage because at that point, everyone had already gotten in for the opening acts. We also got to watch the show from the staging area above the soundbooth.
NECM: How was it being up on stage in front of all those fans!?
KD: It was overwhelming, I was very nervous backstage waiting to go out. I really couldn’t hear him calling my name to come out. So I think he waved twice to come out and I ran out. I didn’t really notice the people. I was just so focused on Kenny and being there in the moment that I didn’t realize how big the audience was. I glanced out a few times but once I got out there, I was very calm.
NECM: What is your favorite Kenny song?
KD: Now it’s going be ‘Don’t Happen Twice’ – cause something like this is never gonna happen twice. But ‘Boston’ is my favorite Kenny song which is what he sang when I came out.
NECM: Has the shock and awe of this whole experience worn off at all or are you still on cloud nine?
KD: It’s going to be hard to compete with Countryfest when I go next year after this.
NECM: If you could say something to Kenny now, what would you say?
KD: Just thank you. This is really about him. He sold 1,000,000 tickets in 1 stadium alone and for him to celebrate with his fans and be so generous, it is overwhelming and I don’t think I can say thank you enogh.
Hits a Million Tickets at Gillette Stadium, While Breaking His Own Record
121,714 Over Two Nights in Foxborough Means 1,090,326 Since 2005; 1.3 Million in 2018
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — With an opening video welcome from the New England Patriots organization that included Robert and Jonathan Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson, offensive linemen Marcus Cannon and David Andrews, plus Patriots Broadcast Analyst Scott Zolak and members of the Massachusetts State Police Mounted United, the greater Boston area was all in for Kenny Chesney’s 18th and 19th shows at Gillette Stadium. With two night attendance of 121,714 – as Chesney’s team worked to make more tickets available this morning – the 8-time Entertainer of the Year not only broke his own attendance record, but he surpassed the million ticket mark by over 90,000.
“This is so much bigger than all of us,” Chesney told Saturday night’s crowd. “It’s like destiny.”
Certainly the man Variety called ‘Country music’s only true long-term stadium act’ and The Wall Street Journal deemed ‘The New England Patriots’ Other Star’ hit the stage both nights intent on rocking the packed stadium with everything he had. By the time guitarist Kenny Greenberg swooped in to a vamp on Bachman Turner Overdrive’s ‘Taking Care of Business’ in the show opening ‘Beer In Mexico,’ the East Tennessee songwriter/superstar was covered in sweat from racing from one side of the 40 foot strut to the other. Throwing himself at the music, the audience cheered – often for 40, 60, 90 seconds between songs – and sang the songs back with a fervor that pushed the energy even higher.
“This entire summer has been a new threshold in terms of how No Shoes Nation has come at these songs, these shows, these moments,” reflected the man who just notched his 30th No. 1 Billboard Country single. “Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, something else would happen… And then we saw a whole new response, whether it was the cheers, the way the audiences sang or the looks on people’s faces. It was incredible.”
Invoking Robert Kraft’s philosophy that sports, music and traditions bring people together, the only country artist on Pollstar’s Mid-Year Top 10 Tours thanked the assembled audience for allowing him to become one of their traditions. Sharing the love of sports and music, Chesney closed both nights with ‘The Boys of Fall,’ his ode to the honor code of high school football players everywhere.
He also played ‘(She Comes from) Boston’ both nights. Saturday, he brought millionth ticket purchaser Karen Duggan on stage, explaining that she represented each and every one of them before performing the song about the island dwelling expat to the capacity crowd.
“The spirit of the people of Boston have been part of this journey since the first year we started playing stadiums. They love life, they work hard, they believe in music – and they understand how much I see their lives in my own life. I’d’ve never believed when I was young that I would play, let alone sell out the stadium where the Patriots play. But when I hear those voices as I hit that stage, I’m sure glad unthinkable dreams come true.”
Over a dozen years, Chesney rocked 1,090,326 people across 19 shows in Boston. Chesney also had another platinum summer. With just under 1.3 million total attendance, he racked up 1,298,088 tickets sold across 19 stadiums and 41 total shows on his Trip Around the Sun Tour.
Photo Credit: Allister Ann
In case you’ve been living under a rock, country music superstar Kenny Chesney is returning to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts this weekend. This is his 12th summer in Foxborough and Friday and Saturday will mark his 18th and 19th shows at Gillette Stadium. The love affair between Kenny and the fans in New England is real. It’s well documented.
19 shows over 12 summers is an awesome stat but that’s not what No Shoes Nation will be celebrating this weekend. This weekend also marks 1,000,000 fans purchasing tickets to see Kenny Chesney at Gillette. ONE MILLION (cue Dr. Evil)! And over these 12 summers playing his countless hits in Foxborough, Kenny has formed great relationships with people in the Patriots organization. So to mark this great feat of 1,000,000 tickets, the Patriots organization put together the touching tribute featuring members of the team and ownership like Tom Brady (aka The Goat), Rob Gronkowski, Donta Hightower, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and more.
Check it out below. We know you’ll get goosebumps watching it, just like we did. And as the great Tom Brady says… LET’S GO!
— Kenny Chesney (@kennychesney) August 23, 2018
New England Country Music 2018 artist to watch Brandon Lay has had a busy spring. He has played several stadiums as part of Kenny Chesney’s 2018 Trip Around the Sun tour which will continue all summer, leading up to the seemingly annual end-of-summer party at Gillette Stadium, and also put out his new single ‘Yada Yada Yada.’ Brandon was kind enough to take some time to talk to us as he geared up to play AT&T Stadium in Dallas this past weekend.
Brandon has been touring and building a following basically since he moved to Nashville in 2010. Last year he officially put out his debut single ‘Speakers Bleachers and Preachers’. The autobiographical song describes his upbringing. While the writing is specific to his experiences, fans from all walks of life have been drawn to the song and related it to their own lives. As Brandon explains, “I grew up in a small town in West Tennessee, right between Memphis and Nashville, Jackson is my hometown. Life pretty much revolved around playing ball, going to church, and going to school and chasing girls around Jackson. It’s a quite literal approach we took to writing the song. There were some lines in it like the Kroger Parking Lot and the Kenny Chesney line and the Black and Milds that are so specific, but it was cool to see people fill in the blanks. Maybe those weren’t the exact details of their upbringing but its cool to see people relate to it.”
We joked with Brandon that his teachers might be upset they didn’t make the song (he said they aren’t, he caught up with some recently who were very supportive), one person who did make the cut was now tourmate Kenny Chesney, with Lay singing “Any Chesney song gonna make her dance.” The line was not an attempt to butter Kenny up for a spot on his tour, it was just part of Brandon’s life experiences. In fact, the first concert he ever went to was Kenny’s local stop on his first headlining tour. Though at the time we talked, he was only 3 weekends into the Trip Around the Sun tour, Lay says its already been an “electric” experience- “I’ve been really surprised at how many people have actually made into the stadium for our set. We kick off at 5 followed by OD (Old Dominion) and Thomas Rhett and obviously Kenny. The crowds have been great and I’ve learned so much already just from Kenny and his crew. It really is a dream situation so we’re trying to take advantage of it… (it’s) been a life changer already that I’m thankful for.”
One song fans have been hearing at his live shows is his new single ‘Yada Yada Yada’ which to us sounds like a warm breeze feels. It’s the perfect song for summer. Brandon says the song is “the other end of the spectrum” as far as his writing and style from ‘Speakers Bleachers and Preachers.’ “Since SBP was so literal with the way we wrote it, I wanted something that was kinda the opposite of that and a little unexpected. I’ve been in Nashville while writing songs and I’ve gotten to write with a lot of other good writers. Coming out of the gate we wanted something that gives that sense of background and we just decided to follow it up with something that’s just fun and didn’t try to move the world.” The song really hits the spot as a carefree summer song that we know we’ll be whistling along to all summer.
Of course the highlight to any New Englander’s summer is the 2 nights Kenny Chesney brings his tour to Gillette Stadium. Last year Brandon played a pregame party at Toby Keith’s at Patriot Place but was able to check out both nights, something he described as being “unlike any other” and he can’t wait to be a bigger part of it this year.
In addition to 2 nights at Gillette Stadium in August, Brandon will be playing a free show at Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den on June 7th. You can follow Brandon on Twitter and Instagram and be sure to check out brandonlay.com for a full list of tour dates and info on his upcoming debut album due later this year.
“An Album About the Places That Save You”
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — In every artist’s career, certain albums stand out as a significant piece of their soul. For Kenny Chesney, ‘Songs for the Saints’ is that album. Co-produced with Buddy Cannon, the 12 tracks mark a deep dive into “the places that save you.”
“So much has happened since I went off the road in 2016,” Chesney explains. “And all of it, in one way or another, has ended up on this record. It’s special to me because of what it says – to me, and for me – about life, the world around us, how fragile it all can be and about somehow still finding the best parts of you, and moving towards them.”
Due July 27, ‘Songs for the Saints’ marks the 8-time Entertainer of the Year’s first album on Blue Chair/Warner Bros. Nashville. In many ways, this new home for his work mirrors the things that inspired this album.
“Leaving a place where I’d spent my whole career was both scary and exciting,” Chesney concedes. “There’s that rush of not knowing anything about how this company works, and digging in. But there’s also a special thrill of being around people who truly understand what you’re doing and who are excited to be part of this music. It’s inspiring in all new ways when you have people match your own passion for the music.”
Recorded over the last several months, Chesney had a notion about what his record was going to be long before it galvanized into ‘Songs for the Saints.’ “I was at a turning point in my life on so many levels, and then Hurricane Irma hit the Virgin Islands.”
“But this album isn’t about St. John, so much as it’s about what happened to St. John and all those islands you didn’t see on the news,” continues the man called “The People’s Superstar” by The Los Angeles Times. “To just see the devastation and what that does to people is one thing, but then there’s this courage and resilience people find…”
“This is not a literal record,” he cautions, “but it is an album about the refuges we all have, how temporary life is and the way we navigate to better places, dig in and face the destruction. And sometimes, we learn to own our wild hearts in the process.”
Beyond the euphoric ‘Get Along,’ the banjo and people-positive message tempo track hovering outside the Top 10, Chesney wrote or co-write five tracks. As with any release from the East Tennessee songwriter/superstar, there are songwriters getting their first cuts, surprise collaborations, an obscure jewel and the emotional fabric that makes the No Shoes Nation a place rich with heart, tenacity and the will to embrace life on its terms.
“I feel like I know what this album’s supposed to be, and I know how much it means to me,” he says. “I wanted to get it just right, before we set a release date… and I think we’ve got it. I’m just glad we’ll have it out in time for me to play some of these songs this summer before the Trip Around the Sun Tour is over.”
Old Dominion recently released their latest single, titled ‘Hotel Key,’ to country radio. It is perhaps one of the best songs off their already popular sophomore album, ‘Happy Endings,’ which debuted at Number One on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart. Those who fell in love with Old Dominion’s classics such as ‘No Such Thing As A Broken Heart,’ ‘Written in the Sand,’ and ‘Snapback’ are in for a treat with this one.
It has been a really long cold winter here in New England, and this tune brings with it a hot summer vibe. It may be the shortest song on the album, but it easily packs a punch. The electric guitar riffs and steady drum beat draw us in as we wait for the lyrics to begin. ‘Hotel Key’ is catchy, upbeat, and fun-loving. It describes the memories of a hotel fling: Neither one of us looking for three little words. Unless those three words was do not disturb. The song goes on with: Wondered if anyone’d miss us if we went away. But this isn’t one of those stories that ends up that way. Back in June of last year, Old Dominion told New England Country Music: “We definitely have some heavier subject matter on this album, but there are still the goofy guys in Old Dominion as we’re still us.” Far from a serious tune, we were singing along to the chorus after hearing ‘Hotel Key’ for the very first time. She kept the hotel key. Slipped it in her purse. I guess it makes her think of me. And that night we left our hearts on our sleeves and the clothes all over the floor. We both know we can’t open the door. She kept the hotel key. The key, in this song, serves as a souvenir that holds all the memories of this special night. One has to wonder, when she slips the hotel key into her purse is it as a memory of a single night of magic, or does it join a stack of others? Old Dominion has really created something good with this one. It is definitely a song that we will hear cranked up loud at the beach in a few short months.
‘Hotel Key’ was written by Old Dominion’s band member Trevor Rosen, lead singer Matthew Ramsey, as well as Josh Osborne. The five member band has gained a loyal fan base here in New England after opening for Kenny Chesney three years in a row. They’ll be here again this summer, at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, ME on August 16th and at the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction, Vermont on August 24th.
Favorite Lyrics: We left the lights. We left the crowd. We left the world and locked it out. She left a picture in my head. She left the night I can’t forget, but…
You can purchase ‘Hotel Key’ on iTunes here.
Just a few weeks ago, 140,000 people flooded Kenny Chesney’s website in less than 5 minutes which caused massive errors. People who received tickets were later told that they didn’t have tickets and people who didn’t receive tickets were told that they did. Two words: mass chaos. The original plan was approximately 15,000 fans on the beach in Perdido Key on the Florida-Albama line at the Flora-Bama Beach Bar. But Kenny did not want to disappoint another 15,000 fans so after receiving approval from the local governments in both Florida and Alabama, the confirmation came out that he would honor all fans who were part of the process. On Saturday, over 30,000 fans flooded the enclosed beach area around the stage with a little over 10,000 more in the area. People lined the balconies in the condominium buildings overlooking the stage, as well as each floor in the parking garage. Over 300 boats lined the shore near the stage with thousands of fans taking in the show from the water. What was meant to be a show smaller than most amphitheaters turned out to be a show nearly the size of one of Kenny’s stadium shows that he usually does every year. It was truly an unforgettable day and I bet a day that Kenny will never forget.
I got there just before 5AM and I was not the first person in line. There were about 15 people in line at the entrance I was at, so I knew I would be close to the stage. Being together all morning, we became friends with the people around us and looked out for each other throughout the day (Alex, Courtney, Andrea, Ashley, Karia, John, David, Clare, Kathy, Deanne, Misty, and others- you guys rock!). As the morning went on, the line kept getting longer, and longer to the point where we couldn’t even see the end, and the shuttles that the concert had arranged from different locations hadn’t even started yet.
As 10AM grew nearer, which was the time that gates were set to open, the crowd was getting restless. People were scheming how to get as close to the stage as possible. When gates opened, it was a mad dash. Think about the people at Best Buy on WalMart but crazier. As we entered the enclosed area where the stage was, it was awesome. The massive stage was cloaked in ‘No Shoes Nation’ banners with Kenny’s infamous skull and crossbones logo as well as some banners specific to the Flora-Bama Jama. Throughout the sand there were wooden flag poles with ‘No Shoes Nation’ flags as well as flags from the University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, University of Florida, Auburn University, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU, and University of Georgia. A large video screen adorned each side of the stage as well as another large jumbo screen towards the back of the enclosed area where people sitting back there could see watch. There was also a lot of television cameras and equipment as CMT was there filming for a CMT special that will be aired at a later date. The weather was hot, and the sun was strong. But that was expected in Florida, right on the Gulf of Mexico, in mid-August. The Flora-Bama had provided a stand where you could fill up water bottles for free. Also, the local fire department came with their fire hoses and sprayed the crowd down on multiple times. Great American Country’s Storme Warren was unofficially appointed as the safety officer and came on stage multiple times leading up the show encouraging people to drink enough water and stay hydrated, as well as to look out for each other. For the most part, it seemed that the majority of people were doing the right thing but there were definitely some people who needed medical attention. Along the coastline, thousands of fans who did not get wristbands were still able to enjoy the show. Over 300 boats dropped anchor in the area with thousands of people on floats or just bobbing in the ocean. There was even a pirate ship! (You can see it in the main picture near the top right corner.) Kenny called them the ‘No Shoes Navy’ Right at 5:00, Kenny Chesney took the stage in orange shorts, a grey Blue Chair Bay rum cutoff t-shirt, ball cap, and sneakers. The first thirty seconds or so was simply Kenny greeting his fans that he hasn’t seen in almost a year. He was waving to the crowd, blowing kisses, and saying “thank you,” before starting the night with ‘Flora-Bama’ which is a newly released song from his upcoming album. Throughout his two and a half hour performance, he performed songs from his new album, such as ‘Flora Bama’ and ‘American Kids,’ as well as a bunch of classics. Some of the songs he performed from past albums included ‘Reality,’ ‘Summertime,’ ‘Somewhere With You,’ ‘When the Sun Goes Down,’ ‘You and Tequila,’ ‘Pirate Flag,’ ‘Beer in Mexico,’ ‘No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem,’ ‘When I See This Bar,’ and ‘Out Last Night.’ He also brought out special guest and co-writer of ‘Flora-Bama,’ as well as other numerous singles sung by Chesney, David Lee Murphy. Together they performed ‘Dust On the Bottle’ and ‘Party Crowd.’ Kenny ended his night with ‘Boys of Fall,’ and despite being on the beach and not in a football stadium, as he usually is at this time of the year, he still gave away a signed football helmet to a young fan. After walking around the stage showing everyone the black ‘No Shoes Nation’ helmet signed by the singer, and looking for a fan, he chose a young girl and brought her to the stage. He then put the helmet on her before she jumped around the stage ecstatically and he gave her a giant hug and spun her in a circle.
After leaving the stage briefly, Kenny returned for a one-song encore of ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy’ which was a hit with the crowd. As the song concluded, his band members continued to play the instrumental portion of the song while Kenny walked around the stage for several minutes signing autographs for fans. Despite packing in what should have been at least three months of preparation and planning into three weeks, the show was a success. Kenny did his thing, played a great show, and made thousands of fans happy and even more memories for everyone involved. It was definitely apparent that he may not been in ‘tour shape’ as there were multiple times where he was catching his breath. But that’s not surprising as the 46 year old singer took the year off from touring and the conditioning he undergoes during those long stadium tours. Logistically, there is a ton to improve on if this is an annual thing, as I think it will as it has been advertised as the ‘first annual.’ If there are more Flora-Bama Jamas in the future, I highly recommend going. (There are some reports of a five year contract between Kenny and the Flora-Bama.) The weather was nice, Perdido Key was beautiful, the staff were polite, and the music was fantastic.