A Parrothead's confession: "Everything's Gonna Be Alright"
I must confess I always considered Kenny Chesney sort of Jimmy Buffett-lite: sounds great but less filling.
Who could blame me? For a guy whose most formative years were in the decade of the ‘70s, Buffett was the king of laid back, booze in the blender, bumming on a beach style of music. Anyone who disagreed with me, well, had obviously never drank from a tin cup chalice.
So, when Chesney arrived on the musical scene with his blend of island and country sound, I dismissed him as a Buffett wanna-be.
But it was evident Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena that for another generation of fans, Chesney is at least Buffett’s equal.
Chesney brought his Songs for the Saints tour to Oklahoma City on Saturday night and his “No Shoes Nation” fleet of fans were out in force. The skull flags were flying, the tropical leis were glowing around necks, and the lines for the frozen rum drinks were longer than the sandy coastlines of the Florida Keys.
When Chesney took the stage after the crowd had been warmed up by Caroline Jones and David Lee Murphy (“Dust on the Bottle” is a tremendous song), he promised the fans a rockin’ good time and he delivered.
Chesney, dressed appropriately in a red tank top and cowboy straw hat, barely paused in a nearly two-hour performance of his old and new songs, energizing an audience which sang nearly every song along with him in unison.
From his opening number of “Beer in Mexico” to his encore performance of “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” the party was on at the Peake.
Chesney told the crowd Saturday night it had been almost 12 years to the day since he last performed in Oklahoma City, and he promised not to wait another 12 before coming to town again.
Chesney does have a fond memory of Oklahoma City because he was in town when one of his album’s was certified gold for the first time. He was presented the plaque on stage that night at “In Cahoots.”
Chesney’s set list on Saturday night included fan favorites such as “How Forever Feels,” “Summertime” and “When the Sun Goes Down” among more than 20 others.
He brought Jones back on stage for a duet of “You and Tequila.” Murphy, who wrote Chesney hits “Live A Little” and “Living in Fast Forward,” joined him to sing “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”
During “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” the giant video screen above stage showed images of Chesney’s “Love for Love City” foundation and its relief efforts in the Virgin Islands, a nice touch. Sales of Chesney’s “Songs for the Saints” album benefits the hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean.
During “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem,” my wife screamed in my ear that she wanted to go to the beach.
After imbibing one of those $13 frozen rum and tequila drinks the Peake was selling, I was already there.
This ole’ Parrothead has to admit that Chesney puts on a pretty good show.