Kenny Chesney’s name has become synonymous with summertime, so it’s only fitting that his Here And Now Tour made a stop in Nashville on Memorial Day Weekend – the unofficial kickoff to summer.
It’s been nearly four years since the superstar headlined a show in Nashville and it’s safe to say fans were ready for his return. 57,211 descended upon Nissan Stadium for Chesney’s show, setting a new attendance record for Music City’s riverside venue.
Hours before the doors opened, fans flocked to the parking lots and they poured into the stadium early to catch Carly Pearce, Old Dominion and Dan + Shay’s opening sets.
But, the real party began at 8:50 pm when the lights dimmed and the No Shoes Nation kabuki rose and unveiled Chesney’s massive production.
Entering the stage to “Beer In Mexico,” Chesney set the bar for the supercharged evening of hits, including setlist staples like “Summertime,” “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,” and “Living In Fast Forward,” and “We Do,” his ode to No Shoes Nation.
Two-plus hours of non-stop fun ensued as Chesney made his way around every inch of the giant stage.
The eight-time Entertainer of the Year had the crowd of over 57,000 in the palm of his hand and a certain sparkle in his eye hinted that he was having just as much fun as the concertgoers, who could be seen dancing and singing along from the floor to the 300s section.
Being in his adopted hometown of Nashville, Chesney seemed to get a bit emotional as he reflected on his musical journey. Growing up in a small town in East Tennesse – about three hours from Nashville – Chesney moved to Music City to chase his dreams like so many other singer/songwriters. Despite getting doors shut in his face along the way, Chesney never stopped and went on to create one of the most successful careers in country music.
In the middle of the show, a feeling of gratitude appeared to overcome the superstar as he welcomed fellow East Tennesse native Kelsea Ballerini to the stage for a surprise performance of their chart-topping duet, “Half Of My Hometown.”
“I grew up in East Tennessee and she grew up in East Tennessee. We drove down some of the same roads together. We went to a lot of the same places to eat with our families. We listened to the same radio station, and listened to a lot of people tell us we couldn’t do certain things that have dreamed of all our life,” he shared.
Saturday night was proof, for Chesney and Ballerini, that dreams do come true as the pair joined together for a goosebumps-inducing performance of the Country Music Association Vocal Event and Video of the Year Award-winning song.
Ballerini became emotional during the performance, bursting into tears in the midst of the second verse, prompting Chesney to comfort her with a hug.
The inspirational moment was a highlight for Chesney and fans alike.
“Being here in Nashville where so many dreams came true, seeing Kelsea on the verge of making the same kind of mark, it made me realize how strong this connection is. It’s not just fun or hooks or guitar riffs, it’s one massive heart that we all share,” Chesney said after the show. “To have that is the greatest gift, greatest reason for doing this – and tonight really hit me in the soul.”
The Here And Now Tour brought out the who’s who of Nashville with artists like Sara Evans, Brian Kelley, Chase Rice, Colbie Calliat, Shelby Darrall and Alex Hall watching in awe from the sandbar.
Kelley summed up his experience at the show on social media.
“Was thinking about this all day yesterday before the concert. I saw Kenny play 20 years ago in Daytona Beach when I was in 10th grade at the Ocean Center for the first time and was blown away then,” Kelley, who originally rose to fame as one half of the award-winning duo Florida Georgia Line, shared. “Was even more blown away last night in Nashville and proof he’s still at the top of his game and elevating! Inspiring and unreal show @kennychesney 🙏🏻🤙🏼👊🏼💧🔥you put on a masterclass 💯 me and everyone at @nissanstadium needed that last night ⚓️”
That’s the thing about Kenny Chesney. Nearly 30 years into his career, he continues to put on the best live show in country music. Countless artists have come and gone in the past three decades, yet Chesney remains at the top of his game and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Simply put, Kenny Chesney is the greatest country music entertainer of our lifetime and his show in Nashville was proof.