Editor’s note: Kenny Chesney talks more about his accident and recovery in the new episode of CMT Insider premiering Saturday (May 3) at 1 p.m. ET/PT.
“My foot looked like it had a baseball on it,” Kenny Chesney said Thursday (May 1) during an interview with CMT Insider host Katie Cook. “But it’s better now. It’s getting better. It’s black and blue.”
Chesney was referring to the injury he sustained last weekend as he made his entrance to close a daylong concert at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. It wasn’t the first time he had used a hydraulic lift to be elevated to the stage, but he knew he was in major trouble when he couldn’t move his foot because his boot was caught between the lift and the stage. With the loud music and the deafening roar of almost 45,000 fans, members of the stage crew beneath the stage could not hear him pounding for them to move the lift. His foot remained trapped for almost 40 seconds before being freed.
“There was really no place for the lift to go, the stage to go and my foot to go,” Chesney said during the interview prior to Thursday’s show in Austin, Texas. “It was just caught right in the middle.”
The South Carolina concert, the first stadium date of his 2008 Poets & Pirates tour, featured Brooks & Dunn, LeAnn Rimes, Gary Allan and Luke Bryan. For Chesney, it was business as usual until the moment he arrive onstage. His doctors in Nashville said his toes sustained the brunt of the damage, but no bones were broken. They describe the injury as a hematoma from the ankle down.
“I was in shock because I knew that I was hurt,” he said of his recollections of the concert. “I knew I was stuck. Then I realized I was doing this in front of 45,000 people. It was the first song, and they had been out there all day anticipating this moment — and so was I — and this was what was happening.”
It took Chesney three or four songs to recover from the initial shock, but he grasped the potential severity of the situation throughout almost two hours onstage.
“The longer I was out there, the more I felt my foot just swell,” he said. “I was pretty scared. I didn’t really know how bad it was hurt.” Although he thought about stopping the show, he said, “After about an hour, my foot was so numb that it didn’t matter.”
He’s emphasized to his entire production crew that they were not in any way responsible for the accident.
“It was my fault,” he admitted. “I just had my foot too far over.”
Chesney continues his tour with a Friday night (May 2) performance in Oklahoma City. His next stadium show takes place Saturday at Pizza Hut Park in Dallas with Rimes and Brooks & Dunn.