Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sun City Carnival comes to town

The Sprint Center hosted its second sold-out (or close to it) show of the weekend on Saturday night when Kenny Chesney came to town with opening acts Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert.

The crowd seemed dominated by females, with the vast majority wearing sundress-and-cowboy boot outfits. Either these ladies were channeling their inner Taylor Swift or thought Kenny liked that sort of cowgirl look. Those not choosing this outfit seemed to go for the skankier minidress and boot combo. Whatever, it re-confirmed Chesney's appeal to females of all ages.

Lady Antebellum opened the show displaying their tight harmonies which make them one of country's hotter new acts. Miranda Lambert, "just a small-town Texas girl," as she put it, was impressive as well. Lambert is a softer version of Gretchen Wilson but a take-no-prisoners performer better suited for a smaller venue. She mixed in three rock songs and I was taken aback when she launched into "Stay With Me," the 1972 rock classic from The Faces. While her rendition did not equal Carrie Underwood covering Guns N Roses' "Paradise City" at the Sprint Center last year, Lambert's version worked although it blurred the line as to whether she is a country act or someone interested in crossing over into rock.

Chesney entered from the back of the arena via suspended seat, swaying over the crowd and singing "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy." His show built from there with a steady mix of greatest hits, including the tear-jerker "There Goes My Life" and standards like "I Go Back" and "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem." The concert capped off with his new hit, "Don't Blink," with on-screen imagery from the accompanying music video.

Chesney displayed the persona which has firmly positioned him as the best male performer in country--the guy who regularly sells out stadiums and arenas around the country. This show had all the energy of one of Garth Brooks' nine sold-out shows at the Sprint Center (fall 2007) or Bruce Springsteen's stop here last year. Chesney seems to have a universal appeal--a guy who loves to sing of a small-town life revolving around girls, beer, sports, church and the way things used to be. He connects with the audience--female and male--by coming across as a regular guy who cares...and who, when not performing, likes to chill in the islands on his boat. It's an interesting blend of Garth Brooks meets Jimmy Buffett.

The one downer last night was the sound, which was muddy all night. However, during Chesney's performance the entire crowd seemed to be singing along, making it easy to recognize the words even if you couldn't clearly hear Kenny singing them.

1 comment:

  1. I was there with you in spirit my friend.

    "I go back to a two toned short bed Chevy
    Drivin my first love out to the levvy
    Livin life with no sense of time
    And I go back to the feel of a fifty yard line
    A blanket, a girl, some raspberry wine
    Wishin time would stop right in its tracks."