“And the taste of salt on *Wildwood’s shore… Everytime I hear that song, I go back.”
[I Go Back – Kenny Chesney]
When you think of Kenny Chesney, you think of the beach. You can feel the glow of the sun kissing your face, hear the thundering sound of waves crashing in your ears, and feel that warm white sand surrounding your toasty toes. You think of a vintage acoustic guitar and an ice-dripping cooler of beer. You think Summer. “No shoes, no shirts, no problems…” isn’t that right?
On the first night of Summer, with the Giant Wheel [ferris wheel] to his right, the Great White [roller coaster] on his left, the ocean behind, and the boardwalk in front, hosting the 10th “American Express Unstaged” concert series at Wildwood’s beach, was the epitome of multi-platinum-selling superstar Kenny Chesney.
Directed by Academy Award-winner: “Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia,” Jonathan Demme, the 75 minute free Kenny Chesney concert was livecasted at 8:30pm ET via Vevo (YouTube), sponsored by: American Express, and then broadcasted for 12 hours post-show. Online viewers were also rewarded with digital prizes for social media interaction.
“American Express Unstaged” Kenny Chesney at Wildwood Beach, NJ, on Wednesday, June 20th, was set in promotion of Chesney’s thirteenth album release, “Welcome to the Fishbowl,” which had dropped the day before, on Tuesday, June 19th.
Avid Chesney fans traded in their flip flops for cowboy boots, and baseball caps for cowboy (or as one of the many vendor sign displayed: “cowboy/girl” hats), and began lining up along the boardwalk rails early into the morning hours.
A couple minutes before 6pm, the gates opened and girls and boys of all generations bolted to the front of the four-story stage, settled on the Schellenger beach, between Morey’s Adventure and Mariner’s Landing Pier.
Although previously [publically] warned by Wildwood officials to stay away if ticketless, eager Chesney enthusiasts without tickets were allowed entry to the back of the beach to listen to the show. However, lucky fans with tickets gained access to a select area beyond barricades, which securely separated both parties.
With first chance given to Chesney’s fan club members and Amex cardholders, 20,000 totaled in invited attendance, with an extra estimated 30,000 outside concert grounds. Fan club and Amex cardholders also were gifted the opportunity to download Chesney’s latest single, “Come Over” free from iTunes.
Cameras were up and ready by 8:30pm, as a film-like trailer danced images of Wildwood-cherished locations across the screens, to the tune of Chesney’s “No Shoes, No Shirts, No Problems.” Once the words flashed “WILDWOOD, NJ”, Chesney dominated the stage, kicking the show off with “Beer in Mexico” [The Road and the Radio.]
As the sun began to sink down in the tourist town, and the beer line zigzagged throughout the crowd, impending on an hour wait, Chesney appropriately ditched Mexico for the night, substituting the lyrics to “Wildwood”, as he did for a few other locale lyrics throughout the night.
Doubly charming the audience, especially Wildwood locals, Chesney admitted that he’d never been to the island, but, that, “this is one of the most beautiful settings that I’ve ever played music on.”
While a blow-up shark bobbed among the crowd like a beach ball, as a cool ocean breeze swirled through, every fan would have agreed with the “Summertime” [The Road and the Radio] opening lyrics, that, “summertime is finally here!”
Following was a current high-energy smash, by Chesney and his close (current) tour buddy, Tim McGraw’s, “Feel Like a Rockstar” [Welcome to the Fishbowl.] Chesney and McGraw had just sold-out Lincoln Financial Field, for their Brothers of the Sun Tour, this past Saturday, June 16th.
Chesney also performed a solo-rendition of “You & Tequila” [Welcome to the Fishbowl], a duet between him and current tour-opener Grace Potter, while their music video rolled on the jumbo split-screens behind him.
In between songs, Chesney expressed his candid gratitude to the crowd, saying, “thank you for loving music and wanting to come out on the beach to celebrate it with us. We’ve been looking forward to this night for a while.”
With decades-worth of a collection to choose from, Chesney performed everything from: “Anything But Mine” [When the Sun Goes Down], “Guitar & Tiki Bars” [Lucky Old Sun], and “Old Blue Chair” [When the Sun Goes Down], to “Somewhere With You” [Hemingway’s Whiskey.]
Most distinct crowd favorites were: “Young” [No Shoes, No Shirts, No Problems], “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” [Lucky Old Sun], “When the Sun Goes Down” [title track], and “The Boys of Fall” [Hemingway’s Whiskey.]
With a tip of his crisp, white, cowboy hat, raising his glass, and some love you’s tangled with thank-you’s, Chesney exited the stage. And the telecast was over. But Chesney wasn’t.
Commanding the stage harder than the show’s opening, a bright neon-green hue filled the stage, as strobe lights intensely pounded to the beat of, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” [Everywhere We Go]. The surprise after-party instantaneously continued with “Out Last Night” [Greatest Hits II], turning the once mellow crowd into bewitched two-steppin’ Chesney junkies.
Even though Chesney expressed that he had to be in NYC and at the Today Show the following morning, he wasn’t ready to go to bed just yet. And neither was anyone else.
After adding a guest-vocalist, country turned rock, as they covered Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me”, followed by a smooth, sultry, guitar break down of, “Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
A few more of his own, by request: “I Go Back” [When The Sun Goes Down] and “Never Wanted Nothing More” [Greatest Hits II], were weaved into the mix, before Chesney resumed to covers to close out with, highlighting, Jersey legend Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” and “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band.
The encore of all encores was over by midnight, having run well over two hours, instead of the planned 75 minutes. 20,000 transfixed Chesney fans flooded Wildwood’s beach more than satisfied, having just attended the (as promoted) Jersey Shore’s largest concert and beach party, ever, with Kenny Chesney.
“Baby, that’s something… that just don’t happen twice.”
[Happen Twice – Kenny Chesney]
For more information on sponsor Amex and music, please visit: http://www.americanexpress.com/entertainment.
And, for Kenny Chesney Vevo clips: www.YouTube.com/KennyChesneyVEVO.