Review by Mike HeinePerhaps the hottest man in country music took center stage as Saturday night's headline act - Kenny Chesney. Hottest in terms of two things - his rise to the top of the charts with his new album No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, and, according to some of my female friends whom I was with watching the show, his stunning good looks.
Photos by Phil Bonyata
All night that's all I and my guy buddies were hearing. "Kenny's so hot," and "Mike, you have got to get good pictures of him." Fortunately, when just after 11 p.m. came around, it was too loud to hear our drooling pals. Chesney came out from center stage with a recently released song off said album, "Young."
And he didn't let up there. One after the other, Chesney's recognizable songs kept coming out and people kept on their feet, straining their best to see and hear this talented young man. Immediately after "Young" came "Don't Happen Twice" and a 1997 hit off of I Will Stand, "She's Got it All."
Chesney came back to his new album with a fairly new tune, "Big Star," and followed it up with the album's title cut. Few ever sat down. Those that were presumably just ran out of gas and had to take a rest. Chesney didn't mind if a few people sat, listened and swayed to the music as he slowed things down a bit toward the middle of his set. A pair of tunes, "Back Where I Come From" and "The Good Stuff" brought out the lighters and those in love let the music carry them away. I think the single girls in the audience were also being carried away the entire night. Next up was a rousing Creedence Clearwater Revival cover of "Proud Mary."
Chesney's ending was a little awkward which was the only drawback of his show. He played the hit song "How Forever Feels" and encored with another smash hit "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," but Chesney continued his encore performance with John Cougar Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane" and a few other cover tunes.
For doing so, I'd have to give Chesney and A-, just because I was expecting a finishing song or two from his own albums. Chesney has potential enough to reach the stardom of a Tim McGraw or an Allan Jackson. He's certainly getting there.
Next year's Country Thunder lineup has yet to be determined. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some of the same performers again, but the show really does need a huge name to drop by. We'll see if it happens.
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