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Concert review

Review: Kenny Chesney thrills his fans at Busch Stadium like no time has passed

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Super Bowl visit inspires singer Chesney as tour begins

Kenny Chesney performs "Beer In Mexico" at the CMT Music Awards on Monday, April 11, 2022, at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

When Kenny Chesney bounced onstage before a packed house at Busch Stadium, it didn’t feel like four years had passed since his last St. Louis show.

He looked the same, in faded jeans and trademark soon-to-be sweat-soaked tank top. He sounded the same, rolling out a long string of hits in high-energy style.

The only difference may have been the country superstar making clear on Saturday night how much he appreciated being back on tour “to feel the energy and to feel the love in this place.”

It was a nightlong lovefest from the opening strains of “Beer in Mexico” to “Reality” and “Til it’s Gone,” when Chesney noted the atmospheric conditions.

“I got into town two nights ago and it was cold and rainy. Then I woke up today...” and the crowd roared, whether in appreciation for Chesney or the near-perfect sunny, 70-degree day was a tossup.

Playing in a stadium means plenty of production, and Chesney knows how to give a vast venue a more intimate feel. His massive stage set was a beauty, with a panoramic style narrow screen across the top of the stage and giant screens at left, right and center. Along with introducing his six-member band (and Harmoni Kelley on bass and backup vocals is a standout), Chesney also gave a shoutout to the crew that assembles the stage set all summer long.

Chesney got fans wishing for even warmer weather with “Summertime” and “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem” as he jumped around the stage and had some of the night’s biggest sing-alongs with “I Go Back,” “American Kids” and “Young.” All three of those are nostalgic odes to days gone by, and Chesney knows how to deliver a wistful set of lyrics and song. And while he didn’t do all of his hits (no “She’s Got It All” or “The Good Stuff”), he hit many of the high notes of his 30-plus No. 1 hits.

Chesney brought opener Carly Pearce out to duet with him on “You and Tequila” and did the same with two of the Old Dominion members — Matthew Ramsey and Brad Tursi — for the song they co-wrote, “Save it for a Rainy Day.”

He closed the main set with “How Forever Feels” before returning for the encore “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” and brought the last of his three openers, Dan + Shay, out for that one. And at about five minutes shy of a full two hours on stage, Chesney’s long-delayed but well-received “Here and Now” tour wrapped its St. Louis stop before a crowd that can only be called massive.

Fans filled peanut heaven, the field and everything in between.

Pearce, the reigning Country Music Association female vocalist of the year, opened the night with a 25-minute set including her current hit “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” and could easily have carried an hour.

She was followed by Old Dominion, whose peppy and upbeat presence is always welcome. The five-man band delivered their big hits like “Snapback” and “Song for Another Time” along with the new single “No Hard Feelings.”

Their high-energy show was followed by Dan + Shay, whose ballad-heavy pop sound may not have been the strongest lead-in for Chesney. Plenty of fans would have been fine with seeing Old Dominion in that lead-up spots.

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