Make us your home page
Instagram

Eric Church gives annual Chesney bash some edge

No offense to Tim McGraw and the Zac Brown Band, previous opening acts on Kenny Chesney's annual stadium swing, but when Mr. No Shirt No Shoes No Problems picked Eric Church as his 2013 touring pal, the year's biggest concert extravaganza finally became interesting.

The likable, if artistically straight-forward, Chesney has had roughneck touring partners before; in 2005, he hit the road with Gretchen Wilson and Uncle Kracker, not exactly Bonnie and Clyde but not saints either. But there's never been anyone quite like Church to get Kenny to indulge his inner bad boy.

Plus when the strange bedfellows kick things off Saturday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa — tailgating starts at 10 a.m., the show at 4 p.m. (wow, what could possibly go wrong there) — Chesney's suburban good-time fans and Church's rural hardcore faithful should make things as intriguing in the stands as they are on the stage.

Maybe Kenny, 44, needed a little boost, something to inspire him. The guy has a superheroic work ethic, and genuine charisma, but even he admits the shows are a slog sometime. It's why he takes summers off every now and then, never mind the millions and millions in profit.

But this year, he certainly has a sparkplug in Church. The 35-year-old comes off like Kid Rock's country cousin, a North Carolina eccentric who blends genuine outlaw edge (Smoke a Little Smoke, Drink in My Hand) with slick Music Row hooks (Springsteen) — and processes life, and stardom, on his own terms. Church has built a loyal, rabid grassroots fanbase that trumpets his refusal to play by the rules.

Toss in the throngs supporting the touring bill's other two acts — singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves and the Rascal Flatts-y Eli Young Band — and that's a tough show to predict right there, which is rarely the case when Kenny comes to town.

Something to watch for: The attendance for last year's show (when McGraw was co-headliners) was 48,443. With Church, whose 2011 album Chief was a multiplatinum critical and commercial success, Chesney & Co. could draw even bigger crowds this year. As a critic and a fan, it'll sure be fun watching — and listening to — this ragtag assortment of troubadours try.

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@tampabay.com. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

If You Go

Kenny Chesney, with opening acts Eric Church, the Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves, performs at 4 p.m. Saturday at Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $25-$250. 800-745-3000.

Eric Church gives annual Chesney bash some edge 03/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Colors and culture in Cuba overwhelm first-time visitor

    Travel

    I landed in Havana with many questions about what we would witness in our brief visit. There was so much rich history and culture I wanted to experience, but the stories I had heard from Cuban refugees rang in my brain. After the death of Fidel Castro, some Cuban immigrants danced in the streets of Tampa and told …

    Havana is a photographer's dream. Bright colors abound, from the walls to the classic cars to the streets filled with tourists, musicians and locals. All of these elements are a part of photographs that were so rare for Americans to capture until very recently. I loved photographing this scene in front of this perfect yellow wall.
  2. Plan your weekend July 28-30: Comic Con, Lady Antebellum, Margarita Wars, Tampa's Fourth Friday

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Geek out

    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The fan convention returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura), Khary Payton (Ezekiel in The Walking Dead) and the …

    Ibri Day poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. Ticket window: Bucs, Michael Carbonaro, The Zombies

    Music & Concerts

    Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:

  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 27

    Events

    Clearwater Threshers: Kids 5 and older get their choice of red or blue fidget spinner. 7 p.m., Spectrum Field (formerly Bright House Field), 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. $6-$10. (727) 467-4457; threshersbaseball.com.

    A boy plays with a fidget spinner. (Associated Press)
  5. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 22: A rejuvenating visit to The House of the Gods (a.k.a. Pilgrim Paradise)

    Travel

    Day 22: Hospital de Orbigo to Murias de Rechivaldo: 22.3 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-22 = 520 km (323 miles)