Kenny Chesney & Jason Aldean
By Katie Marker
All because of a tweet, I was able to experience one of the coolest country concerts of the summer. My friend had an extra ticket, and tweeted out, “I can’t believe I haven’t found anyone to go with me to the Kenny Chesney show this Saturday.” To which I immediately replied, “Pick me!” the rest is history, actually, in this review… as you were…
This year Kenny Chesney’s “Big Revival Tour” and Jason Aldean’s “Burn it down” tour collided for a show full of old tunes and new hits sure to rock any crowd that filled the stadium they were playing that night. Also joining the two headliners, were Brantley Gilbert, Cole Swindell, and a new up and coming group, Old Dominion.
This specific concert was night one of a two night stent in Minneapolis, MN at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. I had never been to the newer stadium, so this would not only be a treat for the show, but I’d finally get to see what the stadium was like. It was a hot day in Minnesota, the type of hot that made all fans in the crowd glisten and shine, and smell of … well, never mind. It was what I like to call, “air you can wear” type weather, but at least it wasn’t raining. There was a nice breeze, and that did seem to swirl around the stadium nicely. The stadium staff was also on top of things, by having Gatorade coolers set up throughout the concourse with cups so people could get refreshed without having to pay stadium prices for a bottle of water.
As we entered the stadium the crowd was already starting to gather around the stadium for pre-concert festivities. Some chose to tailgate at their vehicles, and some chose to get their concert game face on by checking out the local bars in the area. There were some beverage stands set up outside the stadium, and there were a few photo ops with a “Big Revival” tour bus, and another bus decked out in décor that would fit on any island Kenny would probably frequent himself.
They were handing out coozies, bottle opener keychains, and bandanas all supporting the sponsors of the tour and Kenny Chesney himself. Two local radio stations presence was also known as they handed out beads with their name on it and a hashtag to promote the event. The other had the infamous cardboard cutouts they have at each concert that fans like to get a shot of when they see them. Minnesota is famous for things “on a stick” at our local state fair. Maybe this is the radio station’s take on that? In either case, they’re a fun prop, and you always know which station is nearby when you see the “headliners on a stick.”
Once we walked around the stadium to get to our gate, it was pretty much time to open the doors. Long lines ensued as people paraded to the gates as if it was general admission and you had to get in first to get the best spot. Some people did, as there was a pit, but most didn’t. I’ve never understood that about shows with reserved seats. Hurry up and get in! That seat might walk away! Although there was a lot of people there, and heightened security including a walk through metal detector, the line went fairly quick. Once inside, that’s when all the normal concert insanity broke out. People trying to find their seats, fans rushing to the merch tents to find their favorite concert memorabilia, those over 21 lining up to get their favorite beverage of choice… Ahhh, yes, now we’re at a concert.
We found our way to the merch table so that my friend could buy some can coozies she wanted. Sometimes, when there are so many choices, I get overwhelmed because I want one of everything! I had to think about it, so we proceeded to our seats as the first band, Old Dominion was already on the stage.
Honestly, I had never heard much from them before, but I had heard their music on the radio. I do subscribe to Sirius XM radio and most of the time it’s tuned on the station, The Highway. I was pretty sure I had heard some of their songs before on there, but I wasn’t certain until they were on the stage. They sang a few songs, some unfamiliar, and a few the crowd recognized for sure, one of them being their new song, Nowhere Fast. They topped off their opening performance another current hit that’s playing on air waves right now, Break up with Him.
The crowd was still trickling in at this point, but those who had already staked their spot out in the pits, and those who were warming their seats in the nosebleeds; cheered as the song started up and sang along as if it was a new favorite tune they had heard often.
After a short intermission and more of the crowd beginning to trickle in, it was time for Cole Swindell to come on the stage. He’s definitely had some songs on the radio, and that was quite obvious to the crowd that was still arriving. He came out donning a Minnesota Twins jersey with the number 12 and his last name “Swindell” plastered on the back of it. If you want to get a crowd to appreciate you and support you, wear the local teams sports attire, and you’re in. Didn’t look bad on him either, but then again, I may be biased. He had a slightly longer set than Old Dominion, but not a huge one. I suspected that the first act would be the shortest, and as the night went on, each act’s performance would get longer. His set contained all the songs that most would know of his, including, Hey Ya’ll, Chillin’ It, Let Me See Ya Girl, and of course, the most current song of his, You Aint Worth the Whiskey.
The next set, Brantley Gilbert’s, I’ll admit… I missed, not because I wanted to, but because I needed a small break from the heat and sun. I also thought this would be the best time to go get a better look at the merchandise table, because all the fans would be in their seats or enjoying the show, right?! WRONG! It was extremely crowded as I waited at a table for what seemed like forever. I looked around at what they had and decided to give up on that table, and move on to the next one. At every table I noticed they had something different that the other tables didn’t have. I found myself making one full circle around the whole stadium during Brantley Gilbert’s performance. While that wasn’t my intent, it was definitely a cool way to see the crowd. Standing almost behind the stage, I just stood there for a bit and watched the crowd’s reaction and how they were taking in the show of the summer.
I could hear the music just fine though throughout the whole interior of the stadium, so no, I couldn’t see him, but I did hear him, and I enjoyed it just fine that way also. Brantley Gilbert’s set was coming to a close as I made my way back to the seats. I decided to grab some food because I knew Jason Aldean was up next, so I had to hurry. I wasn’t about to miss two acts!
Just as I was about to turn around to go to my seats, the LOUDEST bang went off just behind me, and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who was startled in the immediate area. I turned around only to remind myself that I was behind the stage, and that’s where the pyrotechnics were. It should have dawned on me sooner that the BURN IT DOWN tour might just have some fire.
Got back to my seats and the crowd was jumpin’! The place had seriously taken an energetic lift off from when I left my seat before. The crowd was much thicker, the sun starting to set with the temp falling slowly, and the music still the best ever. Jason brought everything he had to that stage and more. He sang the more recent tunes of his, My Kinda Party, Burn it Down, Tattoos on this Town, Tonight Looks Good on You which had just released on radio. He also added in some of his original hits that helped him skyrocket to where he is today. Take a Little Ride, Amarillo Sky, and Crazy Town just to name a few.
I try to pay attention to the band members more and more at each show I go to. Thanks to some friends who have also started doing the same thing, including one friend Bev Miskus who has a site nashvillethreesixty.com subscribe today! Ok, plug over) dedicated to focusing on ALL things music, including those who make a show a show, from point A to point Z. In a recent trip to Nashville, I was lucky enough to get to meet Rich Redmond because of a couple Nashville friends who introduced us. Rich Redmond is not just an insanely talented drummer, but he’s Jason Aldean’s insanely talented drummer. I remember being excited to see him during Jason’s set when I had heard I’d be going to the concert, but my brain was a fog during the show. I was rocking out to the music, making note of the performers on stage, and they kept showing the drummer. I kept thinking, “Man, this drummer puts on a show! … and he seriously looks familiar!” I’m not sure what connected the dots in my head, but when they connected, I laughed at myself and continued to enjoy the show. For some reason, even though I met him very briefly, I have heard so much great things about Rich that it felt like I knew the guy on stage. Most drummers play and keep the beat going, some doing tricks with drum sticks as they can. Rich Redmond puts on a show, and a damn good one at that. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a drummer take his job so seriously by not only keeping tempo for the band, but entertaining those actually taking in every musician. He was truly into the music, and loves what he does. That was blatantly obvious even on the mega screen as I couldn’t see the whole stage. If you get a chance to see Jason Aldean on tour anytime soon, take note of the drummer and prepare to be amazed.
I was seriously so blown away from Jason Aldean’s set and how awesome they ALL did as a group, that I felt compelled to go buy more merchandise. That’s never happened to me before, but why not. This was the longest break of the night, as we had time to get in line and get some refreshments and then hang out in our seats and chat. *gasp!* Yes, people do still talk now and then…
The last act of the night was about to start. They started playing the video for Kenny Chesney’s introduction on the big screens. People started gathering and filing back into their seats. The crowd began to cheer as the anticipation of his entrance was getting closer and closer… just as the intro video ended, the crowd began to roar, the music began to play, and Kenny Chesney appeared, in the middle of the stadium, on a swing! I don’t think anyone saw that one coming, but you could tell the excitement of the crowd in the floor seats as he floated from corner to corner of the stadium over everyone’s heads, while singing his first song of the night.
It was quite obvious that Chesney and his team both practiced this and had done it multiple times, because as he floated slowly down to the stage on his swing, the exact moment his toe hit the stage, the stadium lights dropped and the stage lights popped on, all at the exact same time the music began playing and he went into his second song of the night. You can only imagine how excited the crowd was as all of this was transpiring. Most people there had tickets since they went on sale, as it was a sellout crowd and there was not an empty seat in that stadium. Those fans waited patiently for that concert, and they were finally getting to enjoy it.
Just about any Kenny Chesney song that you can think of that you enjoy now, and have enjoyed in the past, he sang. He sang Beer in Mexico, to which the stage lights lit up the crowd in a bright red and green, Wild Child which is off his newest album, “The Big Revival”. He sang quite a few from that new album, including American Kids, and Drink it Up, the song he was singing as he came into the stadium. I have heard from a couple people that they were disappointed that he didn’t sing, Save it for a Rainy Day, a song getting more radio play as of recently, from “The Big Revival”. There was so much fantastic music that night, that I honestly couldn’t recall if he had actually sang that song or not, but there was a second night of the same show at the same stadium, and some concert goers from that show, said the same thing. Again, so much great music, one song definitely didn’t dampen the experience for myself one bit!
As I mentioned before, I appreciate the band members and all others included in a tour more than I have in the past, because I have a new understanding. Kenny introduced each and every person in his band and let them have a second or two to do their things on the instrument they play. This is one of my favorite parts of any show, as it highlights the people who also travel the road day in and day out, and dedicate their lives to music because they have to, and they want to. At the end of his set, Chesney brought a lucky fan up on stage and “crowned” her with a Minnesota Twins plastic helmet. Extremely excited as to what just happened to her, she ran back to her boyfriend who was also on stage, gave him a big happy kiss, and they faded back into the mass of people.
Chesney thanked the crowd, the lights went down, and the music slowly faded away. But, if you’ve ever been to a concert before, you know that wasn’t the end. Then, not even a few minutes later, green lights came back on over the crowd, and the fans started cheering louder. Knowing he hadn’t yet sung, She Thinks My Tractors Sexy, I knew they had to be coming back out to do at least that one song.
Thankfully, my assumptions were right and he soon came out and sang one of his most popular tunes. About half way through the song, Aldean came back out on stage and helped him out with the song, and then they did a few covers of their own. They belted, John Mellencamp’s hit, Hurts So Good, and a summer classic, Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69. Somewhere in the mix of all that, Chesney helped Aldean out with one of his songs, 1994. Not sure I was supposed to notice, but they set some large cards out on the stage in the dark before this song, apparently, those cards had the words to the verse that Chesney was going to sing on it. A for effort! It was fantastic and he did alright, even though he didn’t know the words! After that last song for the night, the music continued on after they said their final goodbyes, and they started to sign autographs for fans near the stage. I saw a boot getting signed, some shirts, hats, a… umm… skirt (I hope she brought it with, but I doubt it), and they both even signed a guitar that was given away to a lucky fan near the front. Taking the time to sign autographs and put on the show they do night after night, can be a draining thing, both emotionally and physically, but they’ll never tell you that.
A review this long only comes from a concert so amazing and long in itself that I didn’t want to leave a detail out. If you’ve been lucky enough to catch this tour, what were your favorite parts? What left you wanting more or feeling like you didn’t get what you paid for? Any highlights you’d like to share from your experience? Let us know, as I’m sure each and every show played, created memories that will last each fan a lifetime.