It’s fairly common for touring artists to make empty statements to please sold out crowds of local fans. But, when Kenny Chesney addressed the crowd last night and said that there was no place else in the world he wanted to be than playing Red Rocks last night, he seemed to mean it.
Chesney’s sincerity was unmistakable. “When you have been on tour as long as we have,” said Chesney “it’s rare that you can say you are doing something for the first time. This is the first time we have ever played Red Rocks!”
He doesn’t look like a country music star. He doesn’t look like a cowboy. He looks more like a beach bum who passed out in the sun too long. Chesney’s music could best be described as Jimmy Buffet without a
beach party. If Jimmy Buffet wrote songs inspired by corn fields, tractors, and small town America, Chesney would be the go-to guy to sing them.
The songs all seem to carry a common theme. Life is short. Forget your problems by drowning them in most simple joys that it can bring. Not a bad message. This theme was carried throughout the night with songs like “Live A Little,” “Reality” and “No Shirt, No shoes, No Problem.”
Mid-way through the concert, Chesney offered the crowd a surprise by inviting legendary country
music songwriters Mac McAnally and Skip Ewing to perform songs that Chesney covers — McAnally on “Back Where I Come From” and Ewing on “The Coast of Colorado.”
The show continued to stay upbeat but got a little silly with covers of Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” and the Violent Femmes’ “Blister In The Sun.” Chesney admittedly said he didn’t even know the third verse of “Blister In The Sun” but attempted the song anyway.
The show came back to center with Chesney returning to his catalog to end the show. The highlight being the much awaited “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” the song that really propelled Chesney’s career in 1998.
Missing from the set was 2004’s “There Goes My Life,” but with a career overlapping three decades, 15 albums, and 30 top 10 singles, Chesney won’t have any trouble filling out the set list for the next two shows at Red Rocks.
Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.
Daniel Petty is a Denver-based photographer and social media editor at The Denver Post.