Kenny Chesney believed his first stadium show in 2003 was a ‘one time thing’

Nearly 20 years later, he’s the king of stadiums
Kenny Chesney
Photo credit Getty Images

Kenny Chesney is the king of stadium shows and fans are excited for him to ramp things back up after an unexpected break due to the pandemic.

As Kenny gets ready to hit the road in 2022 with more than 20 stadium shows across the United States, he took some time to reflect on how far he’s come since his very first leap of faith from areas to the big stadiums nearly 20 years ago.

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Chesney played his very first stadium show in his hometown of Knoxville, TN on June 7, 2003 and what he thought was a “one time thing” turned out to be a part of his identity as an artist.

“When you go from an arena, selling like, 12 or 13,000 [tickets] and having to sell 50 to 60,000, not only is there anxiety that comes along with that, but you have to cover a lot more ground," he told Audacy's Katie Neal during the Superstar Power Hour.

He continued, “There was a learning curve for me when I did my first football stadiums. Just being on that massive stage and getting comfortable in that space.” He added, “It was a blind leap of faith, it was crazy, the idea of it. We thought that was just going to be a one time thing, honestly.”

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Not only is Chesney still rocking the stadium shows, but he’s also set the “standard” for a lot of rising artists who hope to master stadium shows as well as Kenny has.

A few of those rising stars are headed out with Kenny on the upcoming stadium run, giving them the opportunity to learn directly from the best. Joining Chesney on tour are Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay and Old Dominion, who have toured a number of times before with Chesney.

“I love those guys, they’ve been out with us a lot,” Kenny said of Old Dominion. “It just seems wrong to go out on the road without them. I love them so much… what their career has done is unbelievable.”

Chesney hopes to build the same type of relationship with the other openers, Pearce and Dan + Shay, who he doesn’t know as well, personally, but is a huge fan of the music they produce.

While the simple fact of touring again is enough to bring a big smile to Kenny’s face, he is most looking forward to playing a number of his recent hits for fans, live, for the very first time.

“There’s going to be a lot of music that we haven’t played live. We haven’t played ‘Here and Now’ live, we haven’t played ‘Tip Of My Tongue’ yet, we haven’t played ‘Happy Does’ yet, so there’s going to be a good 10-15 minutes of music that’s going to be familiar that we haven’t even played live yet!”

Find tickets for Chesney’s 2022 Here and Now Tour here.

“I’ve had people ask me, ’Are there going to be new bells and whistles?’ And we’ve never been a bells and whistles band. We just go up there and try to give the audience raw energy and emotion.

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