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Super Bowl visit inspires singer Chesney as tour begins

Barry Wilner

Kenny Chesney knows all about a wall of sound. He creates one at each of his concerts.

So when the country music superstar stood in SoFi Stadium at the Super Bowl in February, he couldn’t help but think ahead to when his Here And Now tour would reach the venue on July 23.

“The Super Bowl is one of the most exciting nights of the year no matter what you’re into,” said Chesney, a rabid football fan as well as one of the best-selling recording artists of this century regardless of genre. “But being a new stadium, LA, those teams, it was a convergence of everything. We had a blast, watching it, being together. Don’t underestimate the power of being together – especially on a big night – and everyone missed that more than they even knew. So, yeah, it was intense in the best way.”

That’s the atmosphere Chesney fully expected when he launched the tour on April 23 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. His concerts draw full houses at NFL stadia, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic it has been three years since most cities have hosted his tour.

The ambitious upcoming tour includes 18 plays at 16 NFL stadiums and two MLB arenas, plus a bunch of smaller venues.

Kenny Chesney performs at the CMT Music Awards. PHOTO: AP

“And I think our crowd is going to be just as intense and dynamic in a different version of that same way,” he noted of the SoFi stop – though he quite possibly could experience that same atmosphere at any of the 39 overall tour locales. “We were supposed to be part of the opening set of shows (in 2021), which is a great thing to be part of. Then the world stopped.

Now we’re going to pick that up, and if I know that Southern California crowd who packed the Rose Bowl, its going to be insane.”

While Chesney hasn’t toured, he’s been ultra busy writing and recording music – always with an eye on returning to the road to share it. Cancelling 2020 and 2021 concerts was painful for all artists, naturally, and Chesney has insisted that this year’s shows will not be limited musically, in their staging and, most importantly, with attendance.

Indeed, in Tampa, organisers opened up more seats several times; that is a show that went on sale 932 days before Chesney will take the stage.