Kenny Chesney hit Manhattan hard – with a bring on the sun “Good Morning America” Summer Concert Series performance in Central Park Friday morning, followed by a sold out show for 53,461 shrieking country fans at Met-Life Stadium on Saturday night. With two appearances on People.com and a photo session with iconic rock photographer Danny Clinch, Chesney made the most of his time in New York.
“There is so much history here, in terms of the music,” Chesney said of his 100th stadium show in less than eight years. “This is my third time playing the Meadowlands, and every time I hit that stage, I think of all the people who’ve played there – and I listen to that crowd all day, getting fired up and you have no idea the way those fans inspire us! You just wanna get out there – and give them everything you’ve got. To me, that’s what it’s all about.”
Taking the stage at just after 8:30, it was an almost two hour set that included old favorites, songs from his #1 Billboard all-genre Top 200 Albums debut Life On A Rock and a intimate man-and-his-guitar rendition of the Grammy nominated “You & Tequila” that found the crowd singing the chorus unaccompanied back to the 8-time Entertainer of the Year. Eric Church joined him for a particularly heartfelt “When I See This Bar,” a song that celebrates the people we are and the places we come of age.
In addition to giving a youngster in the crowd a signed acoustic guitar, Chesney paid homage to the two NFL teams that play in Met Life Stadium – bestowing a team helmet for the Giants, and another for the Jets to two more eager fans. Equally eager was the female fan who climbed on stage towards set’s end and danced with the sweat-soaked singer for almost an entire song.
“The fans are unbelievable,” Chesney said after. “They come early, they rock hard and they throw down a gauntlet. You need to measure up, and it’s awesome when you hurl everything at them, and you feel even more energy coming back at you”
Though rain plagued the soundcheck for Chesney’s 4-song mini-set for “Good Morning America,” the weather cleared for the nearly 5000 who showed up. In addition to performing, the show featured Chesney’s Spread the Love Fund, established to help the amputee victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. With heart-shaped signs sprinkled through the crowd, many wearing Spread the Love shirts (http://images-staging.musictoday.com/Stores/kennychesney050913.asp), it was the single greatest visibility hit the charity has had since its inception.
“What people don’t realize,” Chesney says of his commitment to the fund named for his Wailers’ collaboration, “is that just because the tragedy isn’t in the news, it’s not over for the people who lost limbs – or their families. They need physical therapy, more equipment as time goes on, new limbs and continued care, and that won’t change because other bad things happen… I want to try, and appreciate ‘Good Morning America’ for their help, to not let these people be forgotten: not in terms of the help they might need, or the love and support.”
Chesney heads into Detroit’s Ford Field this weekend, then wrap up his No Shoes Nation tour with two nights at Foxboro, MA’s Gillette Stadium August 23-24.