In 2014, Kenny Chesney took the year off from touring. It’s almost as if summer didn’t happen as he is the embodiment of all that is “Summertime.” That time off though was well spent by the veteran country singer as he focused on making one of his finest albums in years, The Big Revival.
Chesney’s back on the road now with The Big Revival Tour and although it was late May, summer arrived early for those at the legendary Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.
Kenny Chesney opened the show with a rousing version of “Reality” and from that point on, it was a hit parade of songs from his extensive catalog. Chesney definitely had a “theme” going with the next two songs as he played “Beer in Mexico” and “Keg in the Closet” which made me both nostalgic and thirsty.
A quartet of old and new singles followed as he played his recent No. 1 “Til It’s Gone,” “Summertime,” “Pirate Flag,” and the always popular “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems.”
“Big Star,” “Somewhere with You,” and “I Go Back” had the crowd singing along to every word. Come to think of it, you could say that about every song in the set. My voice was certainly hoarse after the show. I’d apologize to those around me, but everyone was doing it.
One thing that I definitely appreciate about going to a Kenny Chesney concert is that he doesn’t ram the new album down your throat. He gives the crowd what they want. Very few artists share this approach. Keith Urban and Brad Paisley both come to mind. But when Chesney played the new songs, he made sure the crowd knew exactly what they were. Besides “Til it’s Gone,” he only played two other songs from The Big Revival, his current single “Wild Child” and the anthemic “American Kids.” In between those two recent hits, he slid in “Livin’ in Fast Forward” and “Young.”
Chesney then pulled out a pair of gems with “Anything But Mine” and a song he said he hasn’t played in seven years, “Who You’d Be Today.”
Closing out the set with “How Forever Feels,” “Never Wanted Nothing More,” “When the Sun Goes Down” and “Out Last Night” Chesney had the crowd swaying and begging for more. Which of course they got.
Chesney kicked off the two-song encore with a fine version of “You and Tequila.” Appropriately, he brought out show openers Chase Rice (who we missed due to traffic/ridiculous parking issues) and Jake Owen (who dutifully played all the songs you know and love from country radio all the while mugging for selfies or high-fiving fans) to end a perfect night with a raucous version of the classic “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.”