Kenny Chesney’s “No Shoes Nation” Tour Finale, Concert Review

Admittedly, Kenny Chesney is not my favorite country artist, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have one of the most kick ass concerts of the year! Kenny Chesney finally brought his talents up to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA [home to the New England Patriots and New England Revolution] and with the help of Eric Church, he succeeded in closing out his “No Shoes Nation” tour in grand fashion. With the Eli Young Band warming up the crowd with their hit “Keep On Dreamin’ Even If It Breaks Your Heart”, Eric Church stunning the crowd with a charismatic set, and Kenny himself playing for a nearly impressive two hours, Northeast country fans certainly could get their fix and then some.

As the sun was still shining over the home of New England’s beloved football team, the Eli Young Band emerged from backstage. While not a majority of ticket holders were in attendance for their set, the Eli Young Band didn’t hold back, giving an early energetic performance to get the crowd in the country spirit. Performing their hits such as “Drunk Last Night” and “Keep on Dreamin’ Even If It Breaks Your Heart” got the audience [and definitely myself] into the show very quickly. Eli Young Band tends to stick with their country-alternative style which can be very appealing to have fun with. I do, however, think that the band does have their best years in front of them, and I look forward to seeing more from them in the future. Once they left the stage, the crowd had been growing ecstatic in anticipation of the show’s second headliner, Eric Church.

Eric Church captivated the audience instantly as he entered with his classic ballcap and aviator look, and took control of the audience in a heartbeat. Church, one of the most popular names in modern country music, made the crowd roar as he played a mix of his rock-style country with his softer, more alternative hits. From “She loves me like Jesus Does” to “Drink In My Hand”, Church seemed to have a fantastic time with the audience and his crew as he rocked out hit after hit.

Church kept a steady and well-planned pace of performing, as he made [approximately] an hour feel like about half an hour. As Church rolled on through his set, the sun got lower, and the fans got drunk[er?]. Church certainly had a surprise or two for the audience as well, with the most notable being a stunt with a beer. As Church got thirsty for some good ole Mexican brew, he cracked open a cold tallboy and preceded to pour it down his mouth rapidly, but he must have figured why should he have all the fun, and he then began to pour the beverage into an excited fan’s mouth from atop the stage, resulting in the audience going bonkers for the antics of the country bad boy. The show was not over yet, as Church’s entire crew then ran out onto the stage with several cans of beer and absolutely drenched the country artist in [presumably gallons] of brew. Church and the audience went bananas[B-A-N-A-N-A-S] over the gag as Church’s act came to an end, the sun was set, and the crowd grew eager to see Mr. Chesney appear onstage.

What followed Eric Church was a short but seemingly eternal break in-between acts [most likely for Church to dry off and Chesney to drink up]. Before the audience started to even lose their buzz, the lights dimmed, music began to play, and Kenny jumped onstage. This began what would be a nearly 2 hour riot, as the audience loved every second of Mr. Chesney’s time onstage. Personally, this was one of the most impressive sets I have seen live, as Kenny Chesney did not seem to neglect a single song throughout his career of 15 years [or so]. Chesney rocked the house with every hit of his you could think of, treating the crowd fairly early with his definitive hit, “Summertime”. Name a song by Kenny, he didn’t miss it.  He also shared a song with the dry version of Eric Church as they partnered up to sing “When I See This Bar”. He blended his ideal southern summer-style country with his nostalgic personality to make for a night people will never forget [or want to].

The best part of his performance in my opinion, however, was how much Kenny seemed to enjoy the time he was having with the audience. This surely was a tiring tour for the 45-year-old star, and to finally close it out to go on an extended break must have been relieving and exciting, and what better place than Foxboro to do it? I’ll take it with a grain of salt, but Chesney did imply that Foxboro was his favorite place to play, saying the crowds were the loudest, and the shows were the most special. The show certainly was special, and once you thought the show was over, Kenny killed it with another jam. Chesney closed his act by thanking the fans and the New England Patriot Organization, and he preceded to give a signed New England Patriots helmet to a little girl who was a member of the audience. As the lights dimmed and the show seemed to be over, Kenny ran out one last time to encore with his ever-so famous “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” as the audience stood and danced for a final few minutes. Chesney can surely rest happily now, knowing that he finished his tiring tour, and that he finished it in superb fashion. Cheers, Mr. Chesney!

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