Frisco, TX: Just before 7:30, Kenny Chesney walked down the T that extends from his stage into the crowd, looked at fans at the Pizza Hit Park and asked, “Now where was I?” With little fan fare - and video of the May 3rd wash-out performance running behind him, the 4-consecutivc Academy of Country Music and 4-time and current Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year leaned quietly into “There's Something Sexy About The Rain,” and his return to Dallas/Fort Worth was underway.
“It was still light out - and I can't tell you the last time I went on before dark,” Chesney says of his free return to Dallas, “but I wanted those p eople to know we'd come to play! They'd been so amazing that night in the rain - and this show was for them! It was going to be one of those nights, and we were there to make some music, to let them know how much we appreciated their staying with us.”
Making some music might well be the understatement of the year. From “Rain,” the band kicked into a relentless “She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy” and after two hours of his own songs the biggest North American ticket seller in any genre this century reached deep into his Keg in the Closet repertoire -- playing songs by Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, David Allen Coe, U2, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Violent Femmes, Alabama, the Kinks, George Strait, Van Halen, the Eagles and John Mellencamp. “15 minutes into the songs we loved, I decided to get comfortable,” reports the good ole boy from Luttrell, TN. “We'd just played 'With or Without You,' and I stripped off my boots and went barefoot. I wanted to feel the stage under my feet, just let it all go… and we did! 'You Never Called Me By My Name' and 'Ice Cream Man,' and three hours in, we played 'Take It To The Limit,' and that was that.” Though the reason for returning to Dallas was the same weather front that leveled the Dallas Cowboys' training facility, the good mood permeating the show had been th e defining note of the day. Fans arrived early to tail-gate and stayed late to sing along - and that here-to-have-fun vibe more than filtered backstage, luring the always quick-to-dive-into-the-fans singer/songwriter into the fans' world. “Some people were pulling a hot tub on a trailer,” Chesney marveled. “They were in the parking lot - and when I saw that, I headed to the bus, iced up a case of Corona and took it out… When I got there, they were having such a good time, I grabbed a beer and climbed in the hot tub with em.” Too much fun seemed to be the order of the day. With a special t-shirt commemorating the show they were there to “dry out,” the fan club members ensconced in the Sand Bar and a whole lot of songs in mind, what had grown from a water-logged mess turned into a once-in-a-lifetime experience. By 1 A.M., his fan boards were filled with exultant posts, cheering the show, the songs, the moment and the man who came back to play for free - just because he wanted to finish what he'd started two weeks before! “Technically we'd fulfilled our obligation, but then there's the moment… and the way you feel… and that was something I couldn't forget: all those people in that horrible rain who stayed there with us. They gave us a gift I'll never forget - so, this seems like the least we could do.8 0