The first performer of Fan Fair 2003 was a “Big Star.”
“Somebody told me some of you have been waiting here since 2:30 this morning,” Kenny Chesney yelled to the crowd assembled at the Riverfront Park Stage Thursday (June 5). “I love you for it.”
Backstage before his 10 a.m. performance, Chesney said there’s no audience quite like a Fan Fair crowd. “They’re the most unbelievable fans in the world,” he told CMT News. “And nothing these people do surprises me. They’re the reason that I’m in the business and the reason that a lot of my buddies are in this business. I don’t know what I’d do without people like that. That would come out here at 2:30 in the morning to wait to get in to see us sing seven songs at 10 o’clock in the morning.”
Fan Fair is one of the places where Chesney started building the fan base that now allows him the luxury of headlining a Saturday (June 7) concert in Knoxville with Brooks & Dunn, Deana Carter, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts. The show takes place at Neyland Stadium — home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team.
“To not be here to give something back … I just couldn’t do that,” Chesney said. “And I’m glad that we’re here, and they [the fans] are just the reason that country music exists. And that’s the most important reason to be here.”
Chesney only had a 40-minute slot allotted for his Fan Fair concert, but he brought along the beach mood — even though the fans were gathered on the banks of the Cumberland River that runs through Nashville. Still, Chesney used his time efficiently to deliver a mighty punch with hits such as “Young,” “The Good Stuff,” “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,” “How Forever Feels,” “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” “Don’t Happen Twice” and, of course, “Big Star.”
After Chesney left the stage, singer Chad Brock continued the morning concert that also featured his tourmates, Rhett Akins and Daryle Singletary, along with John Conlee and Sherrie Austin.
Eyeing the crowd, Brock said, “I want to thank Kenny Chesney for opening for us this morning.”