Kenny Chesney Talks Music, Sport and Filling NFL Stadiums on 'Trip Around The Sun' Tour


The wave of sound builds from the underside of the decrease bowl to the very high of MetLife Stadium. Every seat is stuffed, and the place rocks with power and anticipation.

Indeed, it couldn’t be any louder if the Giants or Jets have been enjoying in a Super Bowl there.

Except there’s no soccer recreation about to kick off. It’s one among 14 NFL and 19 general stadium stops for Kenny Chesney on his five-month, 42-show “Trip Around The Sun” tour earlier this yr. And the musical magic about to be created rivals something the place has ever seen.

For nation music’s largest star — Chesney is the one nation act in Billboard’s Top 10 touring artists of the final quarter-century — and a nominee for a ninth Entertainer of the Year honor at subsequent week’s CMA awards present, the wedding of music and sports activities is a pure.

“When I used to be rising up, I had two passions: sports activities and music,” Chesney says. “They have been issues that made you're feeling much more alive, and so they lifted you up. It was nearly laborious to separate the best way enjoying soccer made you're feeling from how being at a terrific live performance was. Music is such a primal power: it’s inside us, with out considering.  

“I feel enjoying sports activities is similar manner. How you're feeling if you’re on the sector, that quick rush is the final word excessive. When I began enjoying for ideas and burritos at Quarterback’s, it was the identical factor — solely much less intense, as a result of there have been so many variables. But as time went on, as I discovered about writing songs, actually dialing in on life and performing so I do know I’m reaching folks behind the room, that depth of the way it feels when it’s proper turned the identical factor. When the drum kicks, the lights begin and you may hear the group even earlier than the curtain falls, it’s like that first play of the night time. ... It’s on, and there’s nowhere on the earth you’d reasonably be.”

Chesney spends as much as three hours on the stage performing a group of hits just about unequaled amongst contemporaries in any music style. It’s an exhausting journey for nearly everybody: band members, stagehands, crew and, in fact, the viewers. And it’s price each second.

NFL video games typically final about that lengthy and may create the identical aura.

“If we do it proper, hopefully we wring each spec of power out of the followers,” Chesney explains. “Sometimes you possibly can really feel a slight ebb over the past tune. But what’s extra prone to occur, the power feeds itself, so by the tip, they’re hitting an entire different plateau. They might sleep til 2 the subsequent day, however they’re bringing it laborious, and so they’re not quitting.

“Honestly, it’s a part of how the band and I can even construct our power: No Shoes Nation feeds us. We exit to provide them completely the whole lot, however I at all times say, they offer us greater than we give them.”

Robert Kraft would agree. The proprietor of the New England Patriots is a licensed member of No Shoes Nation. He has had a particular relationship with Chesney since 2005, when the primary of 19 concert events at Gillette Stadium befell.

“Kenny’s music is actually one among a form. It has this distinctive and particular high quality to it that takes folks to a spot the place they will neglect the day-to-day worries of life and benefit from the second, whether or not within the automotive listening to the radio or in stadium full of individuals singing alongside. When you see Kenny stay in live performance, his private power and charisma is like nobody else,” Kraft mentioned. “He brings you into the melody and the second, and it takes these emotions to a completely totally different degree. After 14 years and 19 reveals at Gillette Stadium, I proceed to be blown away by the best way Kenny and his music impacts folks. It really is one among my favourite scenes, seeing 60,000 glad, glowing faces taking within the timeless greatness that's Kenny Chesney.”

Chesney is the largest ticket vendor for any musical style at MetLife Stadium, the place Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift have been regulars. The Trip Around The Sun present at MetLife Stadium in August was delayed by a extreme thunderstorm earlier than one of many accompanying bands, Old Dominion, took the stage. That additionally pushed again the set by Thomas Rhett and Chesney, who performed and sang past midnight.

Yet, simply as they might for a giant recreation involving the Giants or Jets, the followers remained, their enthusiasm solely whetted, not wetted down.

“There are two issues,” says Chesney, whose most up-to-date chart-topping album, “Songs For The Saints,” is a tribute to the Virgin Islands that have been devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria final yr. Chesney had a house on St. John. “One, I feel sports activities and music are the 2 issues individuals are really keen about, so there’s at all times going to be similarities within the response. I do know loads of soccer followers are on the market; heck, there’s lots of gamers, the teaching employees, folks affiliated with the groups on the reveals.

“But simply as importantly, there’s that sense of pleasure in what No Shoes Nation stands for. For the followers who're simply music folks, they've the identical connection to how the songs we sing maintain their lives as sports activities followers have about their workforce type of representing the very best of who they're. You know, there’s no thrill larger than highschool soccer, and seeing your workforce rush out on the sector, and I feel that carries over to the NFL for adults, and simply individuals who bear in mind when.”

Those of us have a tendency to recollect after they witnessed a very memorable recreation. They positively recall attending — and being such a big a part of — a Chesney live performance.

“I don’t suppose something surpasses the thrill of seeing your favourite workforce play,” he says, “however I do suppose individuals who come to those stadiums actually convey their most passionate selves. When they arrive to those locations — Levi Stadium, Arrowhead Stadium, Raymond James Stadium — they arrive to throw the whole lot they've at their workforce.

“And I feel they carry that mindset after they stroll within the door for our reveals, too.”

Chesney has not dedicated to a different stadium tour. In 2019, he's planning a extra intimate sequence of concert events. But maybe the unforgettable vibes from the earlier concert events will result in one other Trip Around the Sun.

Regardless, Chesney and No Shoes Nation have confirmed the bond between music and sports activities is unbreakable.

“I really like soccer, and the self-discipline that goes into enjoying it,” he says. “I’ve been fortunate to be mates with Sean Payton, the Manning household, Drew Brees, lots of these guys, to not point out so many individuals an informal fan may not know. I’ve been to apply; I’ve been to video games. I nonetheless get somewhat amazed that I do know each inch of lots of these buildings I see on TV each week, as a result of I ended rising within the ninth grade, and that was the tip of any dream of enjoying sports activities for a residing.

“When I take into consideration that, or once I’m onstage, and looking out all the best way to the highest, it’s a reasonably unbelievable feeling. All these video games, all that power, and we get to be a part of these locations in a manner that’s simply as passionate and intense in an entire different manner. It jogs my memory how highly effective music may be.”