“Is this how it’s going to be all night,” singer-guitarist Kenny Chesney enthusiastically asked at the start of his nearly two-hour concert that took place last night at Quicken Loans Arena. Wearing a faded cut-off (the better to show off his burly biceps) gray Browns T-shirt, Chesney quickly endeared himself to the capacity crowd as he encouraged the party hearty behavior and had fans on their feet for the entire set. In his decade-plus long career, the 47-year-old Chesney has produced a slew of hits; last year he released his fifteenth studio album, The Big Revival
, and it charted at the top of the country charts per usual. His concert came off as one big celebration of all things summer. You can see photos from the show here
The concert got off to a good start as the band warmed up quickly and concluded “Beer in Mexico” with a fierce jam that sounded like the climax of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.” Throughout the night, Chesney would let his six-piece band loose, and they were definitely up for it. The heavy drums were mixed so that they had that a deafening, Def Leppard-like quality to them and dueling guitar sequences lit up a song like “Summertime.” The twangy, mandolin-driven “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” had an easy-going, Jack Johnson vibe to it and Chesney practically rapped his way through the engaging “I Go Back.” He started off “You and Tequila” without the accompaniment of the band and his voice sounded particularly sharp as he slipped into a baritone for the tender ballad, one of the few slower songs he played in the set.
The concert had all the trappings of an arena rock concert (a stellar light show, over-the-top guitar solos, stacks of Marshall amps) and that association came across loud and clear as Chesney and co. launched into a cover of AC/DC’s “A Whole Lotta Rosie.” Chesney stepped aside to let his bassist handle lead vocals but he clearly enjoyed the moment as he walked up and down the stage’s long catwalk that extended onto the arena floor.
For the one-song encore, Chesney delivered his monster hit “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” with some help from opening acts Jake Owen and Chase Rice and turned it into a vigorous jam that enabled him to sign anything and everything members of the audience hoisted his way. He even gave an acoustic guitar to one lucky patron. No wonder country music fans love this guy.