With an opening video welcome from the New England Patriots organization that included Robert and Jonathan Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson, offensive linemen Marcus Cannon and David Andrews, plus Patriots Broadcast Analyst Scott Zolak and members of the Massachusetts State Police Mounted United, the greater Boston area was all in for Kenny Chesney’s 18th and 19th shows at Gillette Stadium.
With two night attendance of 121,714 – as Chesney’s team worked to make more tickets available this morning – the 8-time Entertainer of the Year not only broke his own attendance record, but he surpassed the million ticket mark by over 90,000.
“This is so much bigger than all of us,” Chesney told Saturday night’s crowd. “It’s like destiny.”
Certainly the man Variety called “Country music’s only true long-term stadium act” and The Wall Street Journal deemed “The New England Patriots’ Other Star” hit the stage both nights intent on rocking the packed stadium with everything he had. By the time guitarist Kenny Greenberg swooped in to a vamp on Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care of Business” in the show opening “Beer In Mexico,” the East Tennessee songwriter/superstar was covered in sweat from racing from one side of the 40 foot strut to the other. Throwing himself at the music, the audience cheered – often for 40, 60, 90 seconds between songs – and sang the songs back with a fervor that pushed the energy even higher.
“This entire summer has been a new threshold in terms of how No Shoes Nation has come at these songs, these shows, these moments,” reflected the man who just notched his 30th No. 1 Billboard Country single. “Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, something else would happen… And then we saw a whole new response, whether it was the cheers, the way the audiences sang or the looks on people’s faces. It was incredible.”
Invoking Robert Kraft’s philosophy that sports, music and traditions bring people together, the only country artist on Pollstar’s Mid-Year Top 10 Tours thanked the assembled audience for allowing him to become one of their traditions. Sharing the love of sports and music, Chesney closed both nights with “The Boys of Fall,” his ode to the honor code of high school football players everywhere.
He also played “(She Comes from) Boston” both nights. Saturday, he brought millionth ticket purchaser Karen Duggan on stage, explaining that she represented each and every one of them before performing the song about the island dwelling expat to the capacity crowd.
“The spirit of the people of Boston have been part of this journey since the first year we started playing stadiums. They love life, they work hard, they believe in music – and they understand how much I see their lives in my own life. I’d’ve never believed when I was young that I would play, let alone sell out the stadium where the Patriots play. But when I hear those voices as I hit that stage, I’m sure glad unthinkable dreams come true.”
Over a dozen years, Chesney rocked 1,090,326 people across 19 shows in Boston. Chesney also had another platinum summer. With just under 1.3 million total attendance, he racked up 1,298,088 tickets sold across 19 stadiums and 41 total shows on his Trip Around the Sun Tour.