Pirate flags were flying throughout the crowd when Kenny Chesney kicked off his 2013 No Shoes Nation Tour in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night in front of 48,000 fans. For more than two hours, Kenny played fan favorites, old songs, brand new songs and a few surprises.
“We’ve been waiting to get back out here, and it felt gooood,” Kenny said. “It was our third time coming to Tampa to kick off the tour, and there’s a reason. It’s Florida… It’s warm… It’s near the ocean… and these fans are just off the chain.”
Fans passed license plates that said “No Shoes” and “Nation,” high school yearbooks and oversized pirate flags to the stage. They sang along to hits like “You & Tequila,” “Everybody Wants To Go Heaven,” “Anything But Mine” and “Out Last Night.” They also got to witness special guest Kacey Musgraves return to the stage to duet with Kenny on “Come Over.”
Several of Kenny’s friends including ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, Philadelphia Phillies pitchers Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels, New York Yankee Kevin Youkils and USC quarterback Matt Barkley were also on hand for the show.
“We brought back some songs we’ve not done in a while, like ‘How Forever Feels,’ stripped things back a bit for ‘You & Tequila’ and even pulled out one no one in the band saw coming with ‘Old Blue Chair’,” Kenny said. “It was as fluid as it’s ever been – and the music really took us places tonight. Trusting the music, and the fans, is a big part of it.”
Before Kenny took the stage, Eric Church turned in a set that brought the crowd to their feet, ensuring they were ready for Kenny’s set. Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves also performed to rave reviews from the crowd.
“I think this is one of the best packages we’ve had,” Kenny said. “It’s very progressive, very music and very much about connecting with the fans. I think it’s going to be an incredible summer.”
Kenny’s latest hit, “Pirate Flag,” is at No. 11 on the country charts. It is the lead single from his upcoming album, Life On A Rock, out April 30. The No Shoes Nation Tour continues this weekend with shows on Albany, New York and a two night stand in Uncasville, Connecticut.