Updated April 27 at 1 a.m. ET.
The show went on, but Kenny Chesney was in obvious pain Saturday night (April 26) after bones in his foot were crushed during an equipment malfunction as his performance began in Columbia, S.C.
The sold-out concert before a crowd of 44,424 at Williams-Brice Stadium was the first stadium date of his current Poets & Pirates tour. Luke Bryan, Gary Allan, LeAnn Rimes and Brooks & Dunn had already performed before Chesney closed the show.
Chesney’s stage for the stadium shows extends into the audience. As he’s done in the past, Saturday’s performance was to begin with him emerging via a lift that elevates him onto a section of stage in the middle of the crowd.
With the band playing the opening riffs of “Live Those Songs,” Chesney’s foot apparently became stuck between the lift and the stage. It took approximately 30 seconds for him to pry himself loose as he squatted down on the stage while the band continued to play an extended introduction of the song. When Chesney finally freed himself, he stood up and kept holding his hand on his knee as he began to sing.
Chesney did not acknowledge the problem during the early part of his performance which was scheduled to end around 11 p.m. Saturday. However, he was visibly limping and seemed to rest near a drum riser while leaning over and holding his knee during the instrumental breaks of his hits.
A team physician from the University of South Carolina waited nearby while Chesney completed his performance. Upon leaving the stage, Chesney’s boot was cut off, and the doctor treated the injury to minimize damage.
“I took one look at those fans, and there was no way I wasn’t going on,” Chesney said in a written statement issued following the concert. “Sometimes the energy and the adrenalin pull you through. They had come to rock, and there was no way I was sending them home with anything less than the best of what me and my guys came to do — put it all out there and give them back at least as good as they gave us. … Honestly, through the pain, through all of it, Columbia, S.C., totally got me through.”