Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation Tour kicked off over the weekend in Tampa, Florida, but opening night was three months in the making, including building sets and rehearsals. To inspire his band and crew as the first show drew closer, Kenny enlisted Jon Gruden, ESPN Monday Night Football analyst and the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl, to address his team before their last rehearsal at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Thursday night.
“Jon is easily one of the most passionate people I know,” Kenny said. “He knows how to inspire and fire people up… and to have someone like that talk to me and the guys, well, I couldn’t think of any way better to get this year started!”
Kenny’s entire team met on the stage as the sun went down on Thursday to listen to Coach Gruden. The coach stressed the importance of effort, enthusiasm and initiative and also recognized the sacrifice of leaving families and friends for three months to put the tour together and the next six, which will be spent touring. He also added in humor, sharing his own moments of miscommunication and he and Kenny emphasized teamwork.
“This is a pretty amazing thing,” Kenny said. “I’m a kid from a small town in East Tennessee. I wanted to be a baseball player. Nobody trades that dream for thinking, ‘I’ll play music in football stadiums.’ It doesn’t work like that. And to believe you can do something like that, you have to believe there’s a way. This team, all these people out there, made me think we could and that’s more than half of it. When you have people whose drive matches your own, who have skill sets like the folks I get to work with, anything is possible!
“Because I promise when I decided to try doing stadiums, a lot of people thought we were crazy!” Kenny continued. “But not this group. They dug in and went, ‘Let’s do it!’ Now this summer, we’re gonna do it again – and we’re gonna have a lot of fun doing it. That’s the thing above all of it: it’s about having fun while you’re making it come true. Between the band, the crew and the incredible No Shoes Nation, I know we got that covered.”
Kenny’s No Shoes Nation Tour continues this weekend with shows in Albany, New York and a two-night stand in Uncasville, Connecticut. He will release his new album, Life On A Rock, on April 30.