Country music hitmakers Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney got co-billing at CenturyLink Field Saturday, June 27, but the 40,000-plus fans at the hard-driving show were clearly there for Chesney.
Halfway through Kenny Chesney’s two-hour marathon Saturday (June 27) at CenturyLink Field, one of his fans stumbled into an empty seat next to me and leaned in close.
“Jason [Aldean] and Kenny might be co-headliners, but we all know who the real headliner is,” she said in a conspiratorial whisper, as we soaked in Chesney’s 2005 hit “Living in Fast Forward.” And it was true. Aldean did a fine job in his 90-minute set, but the stadium didn’t fill up and really come alive until Chesney took the stage.
One of country music’s most consistent hit makers the past 20 years, he started with an unexpected flash, soaring over the crowd in a chair suspended by cables as he sang “Drink It Up,” a new hit off 2014’s “Big Revival” album. It was one of the only moments of excess in Chesney’s set, which relied on the musical strength of singles like “Summertime,” “Pirate Flag” and his signature hit “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problems,” to wow the crowd of more than 40,000.
There were some quiet moments — “You and Tequila,” for example — but Chesney soon had his band cranking on the satisfying Americana of “Young” before getting a jubilant mass of fans dancing in the aisles to “We Went Out Last Night.”
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Aldean knows a thing or two about making hits as well, and while his set suffered through a slow middle section overstuffed with ballads, he finished on a strong note.
“When She Says Baby” showed just what a well-oiled machine Aldean’s band is and highlighted how good he is at picking out songs that can fill an arena or stadium. “Take A Little Ride (Night Train)” and his new single “Burning It Down” gave fans a couple more megahits to get crazy over.
Some revelers took it too far. And while it was nothing like the alcohol-fueled scene at Lambeau Field in Green Bay last week, plenty of people were escorted out, some by police.
As Aldean promised in his interview with The Seattle Times, he joined Chesney for an encore that included a couple of covers — “Hurts So Good” and “Summer of ’69.” When the pair changed the lyrics of Bryan Adams’ hit from “Those were the best days of my life” to “It was the best night of my life,” you couldn’t help but think everyone at the Clink was feeling the same way.