If your idea of ”country” is a sandy beach and a tequila-infused drink, then Kenny Chesney is your guy.
From nightfall on Thursday evening at Historic Crew Stadiumwith a few drops of rain on the guests in a relatively full room, the high-spirited singer-songwriter blasted through a solid 90-minute set of many of his hits from the past decades, stopping only one minute or two to let his competent support group members shine briefly.
Dressed in faded jeans, an increasingly clammy tank top and his signature cowboy hat, Chesney seemed determined to smash his way through as many rhythmic songs as possible in the given time. Conversation with the audience was limited to several reminders of how many years have passed since the singer’s last appearance in Columbus (four).
Audience members, seemingly satisfied but somewhat dumb, sometimes raised their arms or swayed slightly from side to side on songs such as the opener “Beer in Mexico”, “Here and Now”, “Summertime “, “All the Pretty Girls” and many more. , including, of course, the show’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” ending.
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Cheney’s voice ranged from pleasantly hoarse to downright hoarse. It was backed most of the time by backing vocals from the musicians. Although he occasionally strummed a guitar, his main focus was on vocals and twists on the push stage.
The show, aside from a few frenetic video clips of marines, boats and young women in bikinis — and some strobe light effects — mostly focused on its star, with the other musicians well removed from the action.
Although the vocalist could be heard most of the time, the acoustics of the old football stadium tended to favor bass sounds, and much of the more subtle instrumentation was blurry.
One of the show’s briefest moments was when Chesney was joined by Carly Pearce for one number, the sweet melancholy “You and Tequila.” The subtle and touching collaboration revealed how adept Chesney is at working with another singer, instead of keeping the limelight to himself.
As a singer and songwriter, he’s an innocuous presence with what seems like a deliberate refusal to take sides or advocate anything more controversial than “get along,” have fun, and participate in activities where ” no shoes, no shirt” presents “no”. problem.” (It should be noted that he wore shoes during the concert.)
The chorus of his hit “We Do”, which was inscribed on the curtain that hid the stage before his entrance, embodies what one could conceive of as his philosophy: “Who can live like us? We do.” It might take a few drinks for those lyrics to sound more zen than meaningless.
Chesney was preceded by a long set from friendly pop-country duo Dan + Shay.
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(Pearce also performed briefly in the early evening, but I missed the performance due to a combination of traffic, parking issues and call issues.)
Dan + Shay, best known for “10,000 Hours”, their collaboration with Justin Bieber, and for an inoffensive pop-country sound emphasizing romance, did their best to enthuse the crowd with frequent urges to sing along. , raise your arms and swing your cell phone lights (not exactly effective with the sun still shining.) Their close harmonies proved effective, however.
A footnote to the gig: parking is $40 cash, which I was lucky enough to have with me.