Last night, Kenny Chesney once again demonstrated why he is the greatest entertainer in country music today. Unfortunately, he needed this performance to help appease a very upset crowd at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Chesney returned to the Bay Area last night with his Sun City Carnival Tour which included supporting acts Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert. I would say Sugarland, but, well…they ONCE AGAIN had to cancel a Bay Area show. To quote a gentleman sitting behind me last night, “maybe they should skip the Bay Area every time, and let the real talent shine.” I won’t go that far, as they are a great band, but why us again?
The crowd was greeted with signs saying that singer Jennifer Nettles has lost her voice in the recording studio. (Thank you to Are You Breathing for the photo…I forgot to take one!)
Huh? Weren’t they playing with Keith Urban just the night before? I don’t get it. For those of you going to the Staples Center tonight, I heard that Lady Antebellum will be replacing Sugarland as well. I was told by others in attendance that Sugarland did a sound check prior to the show and decided that they should not perform due to the strain on Nettles vocal chords. So, why did the signs state that she lost her voice in the recording studio? Just a question. I’m told she was great last night!
Back to the concert. I have to say one thing about AT&T Park: this is NOT a great place to see a concert. The venue is great for baseball and even for the Emerald Bowl in college football. The park has a great selection of food and good people working both the concessions and guest relations, but the acoustics for a concert are lousy. The entire night, it was difficult to hear what the performers were saying and there was a constant echo during the entire show.
Lady Antebellum took the stage first at about 5:50 p.m. (about 20 minutes late) with a fun set that included all of their hits including: I Run To You, Lookin’ For a Good Time and Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. I really enjoyed a new song they played. I think it’s called I Need You Now. It’s slow but I absolutely love the lyrics! Watch for it to be their next radio hit!
They also paired some classic rock songs which was an excellent addition to the set, especially a rendition of AC-DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long. The band currently has the number one song on the Billboard charts and after seeing them perform live for the first time, I see a bright future ahead for them. They have a great stage presence and don’t look like newcomers. They look more like polished professionals! I’ll tell you one thing, by next year, they’ll be headlining shows like this. They have the talent and passion to be HUGE in this business. I predict great things (and numerous CMA/Grammy awards this year). Mark my word. They may have stolen the show!
Next up was Miranda Lambert. A former Nashville Star contestant, Lambert did her best to entertain the crowd, who at times seem disinterested in her set because of a few fights in the crowd (two in our section, section 104) as well as the cold wind that whipped up throughout the event. Say what you will, I thought that her band was entertaining and people may not have enjoyed as much as they should have due to the acoustics at AT&T Park. Loved the band members mohawk by the way!
Her set included: Kerosene, Me and Charlie Talking, Famous in a Small Town and concluded with Gunpowder and Lead. Probably the highlight of her set was the intimate More Like Her which was soft, sincere and very emotionally driven. I feel that Lambert is a good performer and has a lot of talent, but just isn’t quite ready for the stadium shows just yet (just give her a little more time…there is a lot of talent in Lambert and her band!). I really wish Blake Shelton was accompanying her for this show. I think together, they could have rocked the park!
Following Lambert was ANOTHER long, break in between sets, courtesy of Sugarland. I’ll bring this up again, I, as well as many in attendance were VERY upset with another Sugarland cancellation. Like many others, I spent a lot of hard earned money during tough economic times to take my wife to this show. We both love Kenny Chesney, but she came for Sugarland. To not see them perform was a complete downer for the entire evening. I have the latest Sugarland CD, unopened, which I may return to the store today. Sugarland, you broke my wife’s heart last night, for the second time. Once at Shoreline and now once at AT&T Park.
Thank god for Kenny! Chesney’s 90 minute set nearly saved the entire evening for us. Chesney brings such passion to his music, and his concerts, which has brought the reputation as the best performer in country music today. Yes, Carrie Underwood may be the reigning Entertainer of the Year, but I have seen both, and unless I get a date with Carrie afterwards, Chesney is by far the better live performer.
He entered the stadium in style, from a flying chair which floated above the crowd during his opening song Live Those Songs. His set list was, as always, top notch including: Summertime, Beer in Mexico, Keg in the Closet, Out Last Night, Big Star, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems , I Go Back / Anything But Mine, Down the Road, Never Wanted Nothing More, Back Where I Come From, Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, When the Sun Goes Down, Don’t Happen Twice, She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy and Don’t Blink (encore). For the most part, the set was party anthem after party anthem, with just a sprinkling of a few ballads intertwined nicely.
What I love about Chesney is that he loves what he does, and it shows in his concerts. Chesney knows how to work a crowd and the crowd always knows how to respond. I was slightly disappointed that Chesney did not interact with the fans as much as he typically does. The songs were great but they were one after another with hardly any segue in between.
An especially loud cheer came up during “Back Where I Come From” when the video monitors flashed photos of the San Francisco Bay Area and of local San Francisco teams the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. He did this last year as well but it’s always a nice touch :)
The show was good, but not great. I can not compare this year to last year’s concert which included supporting acts Luke Bryan, Gary Allan, LeAnn Rhimes and Brooks and Dunn. Last year’s show also included special guests Steve Miller and Sammy Hagar. Last years show was one of the best concerts I have ever been to in all of my 31 years, so I knew going into this years that it would be hard to live up to.
I love Kenny Chesney, but I wish that something could have been done to compensate concert goers for the lack of Sugarland (again). Yes, the opening acts did longer sets, but (and I mean no disrespect in this statement) I didn’t pay my money to see extra Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert. I would have loved to have seen some of the band from the Beach Ball Free for All, including Trailer Choir and Love and Theft, make an appearance on stage. A short, 3-5 song set by Trailer Choir would have done it for me! The concert organizers had these bands at their disposal. Why wouldn’t you find a way to get them on stage to at least help fill the time caused by the loss of Sugarland?
Overall, a good show, but not worth the price of admission this year. Chesney is amazing, and I know that I’ll probably be back next year, but if the economy continues to remain as it is, I’ll be much more inclined to miss the stadium shows, and concentrate on my favorite intimate gatherings at the Rodeo Club. Looking forward to the next one, KRTY!
If you went to the show, I want to hear your thoughts as well. What did you think? Worth the price you paid? Were you disappointed by a lack of Sugarland?
Be sure to check out the San Jose Mercury News for their review of the show.