While Kenny Chesney takes a little time before starting the follow-up to his 7th Billboard all-genre Top 200 Albums debut Life On A Rock, his 2013 No Shoes Nation Tour continues making news. Having topped the Boxscores for the first three weeks of August, his August 23-24 shows at Foxboro, MA’s Gillette stadium turned out to be the highest grossing shows in the world – besting Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, EarlWolf featuring Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt at Paris’ Stade de France August 22.
“It’s hard to think in those terms,” Chesney says. “You know, I can only talk about the passion of my fans… and the way they come out there every year, and they sing so loud, they cheer so hard and they inspire me and the guys in ways they don’t even know! But the idea our 10th and 11th shows at Gillette Stadium were the biggest shows in the world? Well, that’s a tribute to the No Shoes Nation as much as anything.”
Gillette Stadium was where the No Shoes Nation was christened in 2012. To mark the event, the Kraft family, who own Patriots, have hung a banner that replicates the Super Bowl flags, from one of the top sections near the end zone that can be seen from the stage.
“Over the years, people have done some incredible things for me… Working out with the different teams, amazing gifts, donations to my charities, but I’ve never had anyone do anything like the Super Bowl banner marking the birthplace of the No Shoes Nation. And Robert Kraft tells me it’s not coming down, either.”
The No Shoes Nation has been out in full force this year. With only 42 shows on the books, albeit 19 stadiums, the NSN Tour hit its million ticket mark in May – less than two months after kicking off at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium – and has played to over 1.25 million fans this summer alone. To that end, Chesney topped Billboard’s cumulative Box Score for the first three weeks of August with three stadium and three amphitheater shows in Atlanta, E. Rutherford, N.J., Detroit and Charlotte, NC, Toronto and Bangor, Maine
and again Sept. 6th for his final three shows of the tour in Canandaigua, N.Y. and Boston.
“You don’t think about the numbers, you think about the faces… the smiles… the cheers… I think about all the kids I’ve given a guitar and a football helmet to every night…,” Chesney says. “To me, that’s what these summers, these tours are all about: the fans, and how they mark our life out here.”
The way faces and places mark your life has been a touchstone of Chesney’s music. So much so that a special live version of “When I See This Bar,” sung with Eric Church on the final night in Boston, has been sent to country radio. “If there’s anyone who understands what this song is about, it’s Eric! He’s spent his share of time in bars, and he knows the way those people, those friends, those moments make all of us who we are, and it was a pleasure to sing a song that special to me with an artist I respect as much as I do Eric.
“It was a great summer having Kacey Musgraves, the Eli Young guys and Eric out there with us. To see people so passionate about music, well, that’s what it’s all about.”