Monday, May 29, 2023

Kenny Chesney Tour Wrap


And Then It Was Finished...
Kenny Chesney Wraps “Intimate” I Go Back 2023
2nd Night at The Wharf Saw Audible Calls, Band Covers, KCDC
-- and A Letterman Jacket
Kenny Chesney presented I Go Back 2023 Tour special guest Kelsea Ballerini w/ letterman jacket. | Photo Credit: Allister Ann

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Even before Kenny Chesney hit The Wharf’s stage, it was fixing to be one of those kinds of tour-enders as the East Tennessee songwriter/superstar dropped by the legendary Flora-Bama® Lounge, Package & Oyster Bar to surprise the Blue Chair Bay® Rum pop up event being broadcast on No Shoes Radio. Then he called a final meeting of everyone on the road, from riggers and sound guys to truck drivers and caterers to offer thank yous and praise for the very special, great energy tour they were wrapping up.

“People hear it’s not stadiums and they think it’s smaller,” Chesney said backstage. “But it was intense, intimate, fun, wild, free – and it could change from night-to-night. Plus, with the people who were out this year, it was a blast from start to finish. What an amazing way to start summer!”
From the first liquid notes of “‘Til It’s Gone,” it was obvious everyone had come to wring every moment out of Chesney’s final set of his I Go Back 2023 Tour. Designed to return to those places that were part of the 8-time Entertainer of the Year meteoric rise, the tour has seen Chesney revisit classics including “There Goes My Life,” “The Good Stuff” and “Old Blue Chair.”
For his second night in Orange Beach, local favorite “Flora-Bama” was again sung with the crowd singing along in full voice, as well as the whirling tropical “Guitars and Tiki Bars” and “Coastal.” But even more fun was seeing bass player Harmoni Kelley crush AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie,” guitarist Danny Rader sweeping up Tom Petty’s classic “Listen To Her Heart” and multi-instrumentalist Jon Conley went hard with the Rolling Stones’ blistering “Start Me Up.”
“Beyond going back to the places where it all started, this band is so much fun to play with, I really wanted to share them with the people beyond the stadium cities – and places we play on those tours,” Chesney offered. “They’re so good, so alive up there. For the last night, I wanted to let the band put the pedal down a little bit, so I could show’em off more than just the KC/DC vamp we play at the end of ‘Beer In Mexico.’ We picked some of our favorites, and they took care of the rest.”
In keeping with the places it all got started, Chesney presented special guest Kelsea Ballerini with a gift that brought tears to her eyes. After the pair stomped through “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” two men emerged from the wings. One had Chesney’s Gibbs High letterman’s jacket from when he was in school; the other had a red and black Central High jacket customized for the Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist of the Year nominee.

“Part of why Kelsea drunk texted me to sing ‘half of my hometown’ was because we went to rival high schools, but basically come from the same place,” Chesney laughs. “When it was time to get something to remember the I Go Back Tour by, what better gift? Hard to believe mine still fits, but it did. So, for one night in Orange Beach, the Gibbs Eagles and Central Bobcats represented for a whole lot of people.”
A lot of ground since Charlottesville, Virginia’s kick-off, I Go Back 2023 – presented by Blue Chair Bay® Rum – as he ventured through State College, PA., Greensboro, NC, Grand Rapids, MI, Grand Forks, ND, Sioux Falls, SD, Jacksonville, FL, Fort Wayne, IN, Lexington, KY, the Tortuga Music Festival and Lincoln, NE where the paper opined “Chesney blows the doors off arena in best-ever Lincoln show.”
Stepping in at both June’s Gulf Coast Jam and Carolina Country Music Fest, there are a few more chances to see Chesney this summer. In addition, he will play Endicott, NY’s En-Joie Golf Club June 23 and Newton, IO’s Iowa Speedway July 22.
“What a way to start my summer,” he says with a smile.  “Some really great memories were made.”

Kenny Chesney with special guest Kelsea Ballerini on final night of I Go Back 2023 Tour at The Wharf on May 27, 2023. | Photo Credit: Allister Ann