Last night, Kenny Chesney kicked off his “Trip Around the Sun” tour in Tampa, Florida and the show was nothing short of energetic, exciting, and a trip! With the beach style setup of the stadium with the floor seats and VIP area on beautiful white sand, considered the “sandbar,” and tons of beach balls bouncing throughout the stands, the atmosphere already took fans’ imagination on a tropical vacation. The sold out crowd of 55,292 fans were eager and enthusiastic to see Chesney back in Tampa Bay. Chesney has not done a stadium tour, let alone been in Tampa, for five years and apologized to fans numerous times for that last night, saying,
“Five years is way too long to stay away from Tampa Bay, and I apologize for that, and if you let me, my band, and my road family, we’re going to take you by the hand and make love to you all night! And I promise we’ll make up for all five years we did not come here!” With that said, Chesney, along with his tour mates, most definitely made up for it, just as he promised!”
The show kicked off with newer artist, Brandon Lay, known for his hit “Wilder Horses,” initiating the crowd’s engagement. Seats began filling in even more as Old Dominion took the stage, getting the stadium on their feet. Fans loved when Old Dominion sang their hit “Written in the Sand,” but they loved it even more and sang a little bit louder when the band played “Break up with Him.”
Thomas Rhett swooned the crowed opening up with “T-shirt.” Rhett then transitioned into his song “Sixteen,” when he located a fan, Jaden, who was actually celebrating her 16th birthday in the front row, and sang happy birthday to her. After “Sixteen,” the women in crowd sang their hearts out to “Marry Me.” Rhett showed off more of his artistic skills as the stage crew brought out a drum set for him to tear up towards the end of his song “Unforgettable.” Wrapping up his set, Rhett hopped off the stage to interact with the fans, running through, taking photos and giving hugs.
After a calming intermission, came the moment everyone was waiting for, the return of Kenny Chesney to Tampa, Florida! The electrifying visuals had nothing on the energy Chesney ran out on stage with to greet the crowd as he launched his set with “Beer in Mexico”. A fan, Lauren, told me prior to Kenny Chesney’s set, “I’ve been watching him for ten years and he’s still one of the most energetic country artist[s] ever, completely entertaining and just keeps you smiling in awe of him the entire concert!”
She was right about that. Chesney had the crowd in complete awe as he rolled from one hit to the next. There was not one dull moment during the show–it’s like he didn’t even need to stop for air–dancing, singing, loving on the fans, and rocking the night away.
As Chesney introduced the song, “Save it for a Rainy Day”, it turned out that two band mates from Old Dominion actually wrote that song, so Kenny had the two join him on stage to perform it. After that, Chesney had his audience give a heart-warming shout out to his pianist, Wyatt, who had to get surgery just two days prior to the concert and couldn’t play. As the crowd shouted “We love you Wyatt!” Chesney introduced, Thomas Rhett back out on stage to sing “When the Sun Goes Down” with him, which the fans loved every bit of. Roughly the second-to-last song of the night, Chesney performed his former hit, “Out Last Night,” a song which seemed like the whole stadium knew the words to. The singalong echoed throughout the stadium and probably halfway down Dale Mabry Blvd.
It was a night many did not want to end, but as Kenny Chesney promised, he sure did make up for not being in Tampa, Florida for five years and there’s no doubt that fans will be counting down to the next “Trip Around the Sun.”
Kasey Hudson is a contributor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org