Music » Livewire

Kenny Chesney

With Carrie Underwood and Dierks Bentley. Thursday, August 24, at Quicken Loans Arena.

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Even fans of opener Dierks Bentley tend to forget the Phoenix-born country star's name about 20 seconds before the house lights go down on Kenny Chesney's headlining set. Before Chesney takes the stage, 10 minutes of promotional video bring the beer-line crowd back to its seats in V-line fashion, fans raising their plastic cups and singing along to videos they could have seen on CMT back at the house.

But grins get bigger when, moments before the stage curtain drops, the whole crowd turns in unison toward the soundboard as the rumor starts to circulate: Chesney will emerge for the set from an elevating platform below the soundboard. And he does, ripping into one of his several dozen hits before running 100 yards to the stage, as his seven-member band -- four (!) guitars, bass, drums, keys -- saddles the crowd, a polished mechanical bull shaking its surroundings. This is the most grandiose and overwhelming country-music tour since Garth Brooks took Sevens on the road in 1997: To that end, it's an exuberant, to-the-brim spectacle from the genre's biggest star.

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