After only 57 dates, albeit 23 stadiums, Kenny Chesney found himself the only country artist making Billboard’s Top 5 Touring Acts of 2015 – alongside Taylor Swift, One Direction, U2 and the Rolling Stones. Of course as the only country artist on Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years, that shouldn’t be surprising when considering the man who began headlining NFL Stadiums in 2005 – and what makes him always among the Top 5 tours every year is one thing: the fans.
“What people don’t see about these tours,” the 8-time Entertainer of the Year says, “is when they’re coming into the stadium that last month, we’re already thinking about how we’re going to rock the fans, really take them new places next year. Between the lights, the entrance, the stage, the videos, I work with one of the most incredible teams to find ways to really give the No Shoes Nation the kind of night that really makes their summer what they want it to be.”
Beyond the dollars, Chesney’s Big Revival 2015 tour played to the third highest number of fans – 1,335,022 – after list-topper Swift’s 1,982,076 for 71 shows and #2 One Directions’ 2,337,938 for 80 shows. He believes the key to continuing to attract those numbers is really taking in what the fans give him and the band, and always reflecting that back.
“This year, the No Shoes Nation was at a whole new level in terms of the energy they threw at us,” says the songwriter from East Tennessee. “Every night when the screen would drop, when they’d hear the music, they almost knocked us back a few feet. That’s powerful – and we found ourselves talking about it after the shows a lot of nights.
“It spoke pretty loudly to me as we were looking at renderings, thinking about the tricks. Because in the end, it was the music and the moment they were responding to – not the flying, not the lasers, not the videos, but the songs. So when we got to decision-making we all realized: what the No Shoes Nation really wants is… the music.”
Pausing, he continues, “So this year, we are as lean as we’ve ever been! The stage is clean. Nobody’s flying. The sound is building on last year’s incredible system – and the lights are going to be really focused on making the music stand out. I want as little between me and the fans as possible, and I think we’ve managed to achieve that in a really good way. It’s going to be more intense than ever, but it’s going to be about the songs, the band, the moment and the energy we give each other. This is going to be a year to remember… and we’ve not played the first note.”
Hailed as “Two parts Mick Jagger, one part Bruce Springsteen and one part Billy Graham” by The Dallas Morning News, Chesney’s Big Revival broke nine records this summer – including several of his own – including 120,206 over two nights at Gillette Stadium, marking his 12th and 13th shows at the home of the New England Patriots.
With four consecutive No. 1’s from The Big Revival — including the GRAMMY- and CMA-nominated multiple week No. 1 “American Kids,” “Til It’s Gone,” the CMA Vocal Event nominee “Wild Child” with Grace Potter and the three week chart-topper “Save It For A Rainy Day,” it’s obvious music still drives both the artist and his wildly passionate No Shoes Nation. For 2016, the man The Los Angeles Times deemed “The People’s Superstar” focuses on what they want.