Stuck at home, watching the social networks Thursday night (March 26) during Kenny Chesney’s first big show in Nashville in years, it felt like everyone was at the concert but me. It was an ongoing feed of who was joining him on stage, what they were singing and how they sounded on the stage of the Bridgestone Arena.
The show, the first date of his Big Revival tour, lasted for three hours and included so many surprise guests that, honestly, I don’t know how Chesney fit his own songs into the set list. It went on for so long, he even joked that they should probably order breakfast.
And his guests came from all the parts of his 20-year career in country music.
Arriving onstage to help him sing 2003’s “Big Star,” Taylor Swift was like Garth Brooks in a skirt. She was later seen dancing pretty enthusiastically to another early Chesney tune — 1999’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”- — while her date, Scottish singer-songwriter Calvin Harris stood back and let her do her thing.
David Lee Murphy was there, too, and took the stage for his own big hits from 1995, “Dust on the Bottle” and “Party Crowd.”
Grace Potter joined her frequent collaborator for their two duets, “Wild Child” and “You and Tequila.” (Chesney was wearing a Grace Potter T-shirt during the show, so it would’ve been pretty awkward if he hadn’t invited her to sing with him.)
Even Chesney’s old buddy Uncle Kracker got in on the action, singing with him on “When the Sun Goes Down” and “Drift Away.”
Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh led the sold-out crowd in “Happy Birthday” and stuck around to sing with Chesney on “Life in the Fast Lane” and “All Night Long.”
It sounds like Chesney didn’t talk much between songs, but when he did, he made sure everyone there knew how good it felt to be back.
“There are reasons we are all here, and it’s because you all are here,” Chesney told the crowd at one point during the show, adding, “To say that I missed you guys was an understatement.”