Kenny Chesney set a new attendance record at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium on Saturday night, pulling in a crowd of 57,211 for the Here and Now Tour with special guests Carly Pearce, Old Dominion, Dan + Shay and surprise guest, Kelsea Ballerini.
Bringing Ballerini up on stage for “Half Of My Hometown,” having grown up in the same part of Tennessee, Chesney told the audience, “I grew up in East Tennessee and she grew up in East Tennessee. We drove down some of the same roads together. We went to a lot of the same places to eat with our families. We listened to the same radio station, and listened to a lot of people tell us we couldn’t do certain things that have dreamed of all our life…”
Partway through the second verse, Ballerini broke down sobbing – and as Chesney pulled her into a hug, the audience burst into applause.
“Being here in Nashville where so many dreams came true, seeing Kelsea on the verge of making the same kind of mark, it made me realize how strong this connection is. It’s not just fun or hooks or guitar riffs, it’s one massive heart that we all share,” Chesney said after the show. “To have that is the greatest gift, greatest reason for doing this – and tonight really hit me in the soul.”
Back on the road after three years unable to play stadiums, Chesney has found a new gear as an entertainer: bringing passion and recognition of how actual people live into a much more powerful truth. “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” “Don’t Happen Twice,” “Pirate Flag” and “Beer In Mexico” offered an exuberance that rippled through the audience during the two-plus hour set.
Here And Now 2022 Tour is presented by Blue Chair Bay Rum and fuelled by MARATHON.