Kenny Chesney strode to the mic to kick off his 2013 tour in the home of the Buccaneers. For the next two-plus hours, Chesney played old songs, his brand new song and some real surprises.
"We've been waiting to get
back out here, and it felt gooood," Chesney said. "It was our third time
coming to Tampa to kick off the tour, and there's a reason. It's
Florida... It's warm... It's near the ocean... and these fans are just
off the chain."
They passed license plates that said
"No Shoes" and "Nation," high school yearbooks and oversized pirate
flags to the stage. They sang along to "You & Tequila," "Everybody
Wants To Go Heaven," "Anything But Mine" and "Out Last Night." They got
to see Kacey Musgraves duet with Chesney on the #1 "Come Over." They
were thrilled to hear No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem's "On The Coast of
Somewhere Beautiful" and an all-alone moment for the intimate "Old Blue
With spring training underway, ESPN analyst
Jon Gruden, Philadelphia Phillies pitchers Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels,
as well as Yankee Kevin Youkils and USC 4 year quarterback Matt
Barkley, whose awaiting the NFL draft, joined 47,492 members of the No
Shoes Nation for the start of another season on the road for the man
who's sold over a million tickets each of his past 10 tours.
"We brought back some songs we've not done in a while, like 'How
Forever Feels,' stripped things back a bit for 'You & Tequila' and
even pulled out one no one in the band saw coming with 'Old Blue
Chair'," he said of the tour's first show. "It was as fluid as it's ever
been - and the music really took us places tonight. Trusting the music,
and the fans, is a big part of it."
for the first night was CMA Album of the Year winner Eric Church, who
turned in a set that was as intense as it was crowd-rallying. Texas'
Academy of Country Music award winners the Eli Young Band and acclaimed
newcomer Kacey Musgraves also did sets that drew out the crowd.
"I think this is one of the best packages we've had. It's very
progressive, very music and very much about connecting with the fans. I
think it's going to be an incredible summer."