Not very many country acts sell 40,000+ tickets in New York City, but Kenny Chesney has done just that with his upcoming show at the Meadowland Stadium:
Chesney has already sold more than 44,000 tickets, making it the hottest single paid country show in the New York City-New Jersey area since Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Linda Ronstadt drew more than 51,000 in 1983.
“I don’t know if taking a chance is the right word, but to be honest with you it was a little bit of a risk to play Meadowlands Stadium,” Chesney said. “But my whole touring life has been a risk. … One day I said, ‘You know, I want to be able to say I played the New York-New Jersey area and I did it in a football stadium.’ We almost did it two years ago, and so now I felt like the time was right. I’m glad I was right.”
Playing against the odds is paying off. The greater New York metropolitan area has traditionally been a no-fly zone for country artists. But Chesney is matching artists like Jon Bon Jovi stride for stride in his home state and with other artists like Taylor Swift— who recently played in front of 52,000 fans in four sold-out arena shows in Newark, N.J. — is helping show there’s room for a little twang in the shadow of the Big Apple.
Meadowlands CEO Mark Lamping expects Chesney’s show with Zac Brown Band, Billy Currington and Uncle Kracker to sell out at around 50,000 and notes the show could clear the way for more major country acts to play a market they once wrote off.
“We’ve always believed in the show,” Lamping said. “We were perhaps a little anxious in the beginning because there hasn’t been a big (country) show here in a long time. But we were confident this would be a success and it’s been a success beyond what our original expectations were. It certainly gives us a lot of confidence to bring other shows to this market.”
Kenny Chesney is partnering with ESPN once again, this time composing the theme to a new series entitled “Rise Up.”
ESPN has ordered high school makeover show Rise Up to series and the network has enlisted country music star Kenny Chesney to write the theme song for the franchise.
Hosted by ESPN college football analyst Chris Spielman and DIY television personality Deanne Bell (PBS’ Design Squad), Rise Up gives needy high schools’ athletic facilities a makeover. The franchise bowed with a backdoor pilot last fall at New Orleans’ McMain Secondary High School. ESPN is currently in production on new installments in Boston, Seattle, Chicago and Wellston, Ohio, while executives hope to expand the series to six yearly installments in 2012.
The series kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. with Wellston High School.
Joan Lynch, Rise Up executive producer and ESPN’s vp of content development, describes Chesney’s new song – an acoustic number titled “Rise Up” – as “a call to action.”
It’s the first time Chesney has been asked to compose a song for television, says Lynch. “He said to me, ‘Joan, this is the hardest thing I’ve done.’ And then he watched the [New Orleans episode of Rise Up] and he wrote the song in two hours. I couldn’t believe it when he emailed me the lyrics.”
The one major city that was missing from Kenny Chesney’s tour schedule this year now has a show… Kenny Chesney will perform in Las Vegas this September as part of the iHeartRadio Music Festival.
Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts are three of the many acts set to perform at the MGM Grand for the iHeartRadio music festival this fall.
Their performances will stream live online, on mobile devices and through radio station websites. The event’s sponsors have dubbed it “the biggest live music event in radio history.” The concert will coincide with the release of the new iHeartRadio app which allows users digital/streaming access to radio programming.
Developers boast that the new app will raise the bar for digital radio:
“The New iHeartRadio will offer users a much broader, more integrated and customized digital listening experience than any other service available — and it’s all in one product,” they say in a statement.
The iHeartRadio festival, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, takes place September 23 and 24 in Las Vegas.
Chesney is slated to perform on Saturday, the 24th.
Visit facebook.com/iheartradio to access information about an exclusive ticket pre-sale. Pre-sale ends at 1am ET on Saturday, July 16.
The public ticket on-sale starts at 1p ET on Saturday, July 16, via Ticketmaster.com.
The Boot has a great writeup of an interview that Kenny did with Billboard recently, where he details some of the bumps in the road to the top of country music:
“We all get caught up in the idea of, ‘We want this now,’ and I was no different,” Kenny recalls to Billboard of his anxious early days in the business. “I had a few hit records, and there were other people having hit records and they were getting paid $2500 more than I was getting paid … I remember talking to [my manager] Dale Morris going, ‘Why are we doing this? Why are we doing that? Why isn’t this happening?’ That mentality was one of the reasons that we’re doing what we’re doing today. That taught me patience and that everybody is in this together, and we’re going to take this and make it wonderful and not just live for the moment. Dale called it: ‘We’re betting on what’s to come, not what’s right now.’ And that’s hard. When you’re a kid, you want it all right now.”
Kenny soon channeled his energy into making his live show “something special.” “Whether it worked or whether it didn’t, I was going to do it,” he said. “It wasn’t safe and it wasn’t probably the smartest thing to do, but it was the smartest thing to do for me. I got a taste of the George Strait stadium tours and I was going to do whatever it takes.”
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Here’s how Kenny describes his clothing line:
Everyone has dreams of their favorite places, places where the water was blue, the people were friendly, and the memories unforgettable. Blue Chair Bay is that place, a place with crashing surf, wide sandy beaches, locals laughing about their lives at the local pub, arguing whether tomorrow will be sunny and warm or cloudy and cool. It’s a place where the local business owners know they their clients are their friends as well. It is a place of big hearts, big smiles, big dreams, and small businesses. Where time stands still and the chance to catch the next wave is more important than making a dollar. Tomorrow is far away because today is where we live now. Such is life at our fictional place, the wonderful island in the sun, Blue Chair Bay.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a good review and photo gallery from Saturday night’s show at Heinz Field:
Kenny Chesney brought every ounce of on-stage energy and charisma fans are accustomed to seeing at the nearly perennial summer concert at Heinz Field Saturday night.
The man from Tennessee brought his Goin’ Coastal 2011 tour to the Steelers stadium for his fifth Heinz Field appearance in six years, this time with Zac Brown Band, Uncle Kracker and Billy Currington tagging along.
It had been two years since Chesney fans in Pittsburgh had the opportunity to see him perform in the Steel City. Mr. Chesney opted out of touring in 2010 to focus on his new album, “Hemingway’s Whiskey,” and recharge his batteries, he said.
He seemed to have mustered up all the alkaline he needed and then some Saturday night, when he flew into Heinz Field on a hovering chair over the 50-yard line, donning his notorious cowboy hat and cut-off T-shirt bearing the keystone symbol.