Last Saturday, August 15th, was one for the record books. It was the hottest day of summer in Massachusetts so far, but over at Gillette Stadium the blacktop wasn’t the only thing on fire. This year, Kenny Chesney—along with Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Montgomery Gentry and Sugarland—rocked every single seat in the home of the New England Patriots.
Lady Antebellum, on their first major tour, performed like seasoned pros as the initial opening act. With their fast paced singles like “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” and “Love’s Looking Good on You,” they really started the show off right. Usually, only a handful of fans leave the tailgating festivities to watch the first opening act. But, once word came that Lady A was taking the stage, nearly double the usual amount of seats were filled at four o’clock sharp.
Seats continued to fill by the time 2009 Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Miranda Lambert took the stage. Lambert kept her cool while singing her scorching hits like “Kerosene,” “Gunpowder and Lead” and “More Like Her.” She even debuted some new singles from her upcoming album Revolution.
Hot off Lambert’s heels, Montgomery Gentry hit the stage with a bang. Throughout the set, Eddie Montgomery made use of the entire stage, singing his heart out and running from corner to corner, despite the 95-degree heat. Troy Gentry stayed stationary through the songs, but gave his all in the vocals and good looks department. MG is a duo that surprises audiences whenever they perform, shocking everyone by how many radio hits are sung by them. I, as well as my entire section of seats, knew the words to every single song they performed.
Sugarland rocking out!
Sugarland, a staple performer on Kenny’s tour, laid it all on the line with their upbeat performances. By this time, the sun was going down, the seats were practically filled and the audience’s anticipation for Kenny continued to grow. I’ve seen Sugarland perform 3 times already, both in and out of the Kenny tours, and I’m usually a little freaked out by Nettle’s psychedelic dance moves. This time, everything from their vocals to movements to special effects fit together. Not a trace of the voice issues plaguing Jennifer Nettles earlier in the tour were heard; nothing was holding this duo back. One concertgoer next to me even remarked, “The last time I saw them in concert I was less than impressed. But from this performance, I’m shocked they are even the same band!”
Finally, after 5 hours of opening acts and set changes, we heard the opening chords of “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” Shocked that he would open with his usual encore selection, everyone frantically searched the stage for our leading man, Kenny Chesney. Out of nowhere, Kenny appeared in the air, riding onto the stage in a chair suspended above the floor seats. This is certainly the most elaborate opening Kenny has ever done, but the crowd went wild as he began to sing “Livin’ Those Songs,” putting us all at ease knowing “She Thinks…” would be saved for the end of the show. This wasn’t the only fast one Kenny pulled on us fans in Foxborough. Starting with that intricate entrance, he went on to sing some of his
older classics like “You and Me,” and “There Goes My Life,” which haven’t been played at Gillette since his first show in 2004. Usually, Kenny talks to the crowd between songs, connecting each to the audience. This year, it seems Kenny got a bit shy but as tradeoff he added about 4 more songs into his set. Only when “She Comes From Boston” started playing did Kenny tell us that he and his band “wait all year to play this one,” which really made us feel like Gillette is a special stop along his tour . Kenny’s performance lasted about 2 hours, and ended with New England Patriots players Tedy Bruschi and Wes Welker joining Chesney on stage. All 60,000 people in Gillette were on their feet for nearly 120-plus minutes of Chesney’s performance, so it’s a safe to say that Entertainer of the Year award will be back in Kenny’s buff, island-tanned arms at next year’s American Country Music Awards. And if not, we’re sure he won’t mind as long as his record sales and sold out arena shows continue to prove otherwise in the hearts of real country fans.