Kenny Chesney is bringing the energy and intensity of his record-breaking stadium tours to arenas and more intimate venues on his “Songs for the Saints 2019” outing that launches April 4 in Louisville, Ky., and so far runs through May 24 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The 19 dates spanning mostly secondary markets like Grand Rapids, Mich., Columbia, Mo., Wichita, Kansas; Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; and Lincoln, Neb., not only gives fans in smaller markets a chance to see the superstar artist, but see him up close and personal in a way that even the best-designed stadium show can’t always achieve.
Among the venues along the road are 15,200-capacity State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill.; Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C. (22,000 cap); Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Fla. (5,500); Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo. (15,061) ; Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. (12,000); and Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb. (15,700). The tour will also make a stop in the nation’s capital with a date at The Anthem in Washington, D.C. (6,000).
This time around Chesney’s going where the fans are to give them a more intimate concert experience with the larger-than-life entertainer.
No Shoes Nation members will get their shot at tickets starting Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. local time by going to Chesney’s website.
They’d better act fast – Chesney is a perennial top-seller, whether in stadiums or arenas. Currently, he’s in the No. 5 slot in 2018 year-to-date box office standings nearly 1.3 million tickets and a gross of $114,495,119. He ended his biggest tour ever breaking records at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., where he sold 121,714 tickets, grossing $11,531,679 as reported to Pollstar for two late-summer shows.
Coming along for the ride is Chesney’s good friend, singer and songwriter David Lee Murphy, with whom he shares a CMA Musical Event of the Year award in 2018 for “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” – Murphy’s first and Chesney’s 29th No. 1 single.
“When I heard ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,’ I knew we had one of those larger-than-life hits,” Chesney recently told Pollstar of the collaboration with Murphy on the smash. “The pocket felt so great, and the sentiment is so much what we need right now. We cut it, and he asked me if I’d like to sing on it, and I was happy to.”
Now they have the chance to bring it to the fans together, in a different environment.
“I wanted to bring the music to the people, knowing how many members of No Shoes Nation travel to see our stadium shows,” Chesney said in a statement. “To me, making the rooms a little smaller, coming to where the fans live, we’re changing the dynamic – and I think it’s going to be pretty cool. It’s a lot of people’s hometowns, and that’s always awesome energy.”
With “Better Boat,” Chesney’s duet with Mindy Smith from the deeply personal Songs for the Saints climbing the charts, Chesney turns his attention back to the fans, the music and the road.
It’s been a cathartic year for Chesney, having experienced the devastation of much of the Caribbean island region from hurricanes last year – including his home of St John in the U.S. Virgin islands – and his longtime goal of giving his fans an escape from everyday troubles seems to be even more a personal mission than ever.
“One thing people who’ve been coming to see us know is that every night, I tell people, ‘Whatever your problems are, I want you to leave them out there … and for one night, I want you to forget about it, and have the time of your life,’” he explains. “It’s not that we don’t have serious songs, or heartbreak songs, but I want people to feel what they need to feel, sing as loud as they can and have the kind of night everybody needs to feel the best part of being alive.”
Chesney’s manager, Clint Higham, told Pollstar the hurricane’s effect on Chesney may mark a new phase in his career.
“The whole thing about the island and the devastation and all, it’s such an organic place and nobody could have predicted what happened there,” Higham told Pollstar. “He wrote a majority of in a very short span of time and he had to get it out. He had to go somewhere with the emotional intent. He’s donated all of his monies to the island from this record. It just happened to get a few songs that were commercial but it fit what he does, fit the timing of the world, and it was just perfect.”
Chesney and his team, which includes HIgham, agent Dale Morris – now part of Paradigm Talent Agency – and promoter Louis Messina of Messina Touring Group told Pollstar earlier in the year that they were switching up touring plans in 2019 and take a break from stadiums. The chance to get even more personal with his fans suits him just fine.
“To me, songs are personal. That is until you play them for others. Now when I hear the audience singing along on ‘Noise,’ or ‘Get Along,’ or ‘American Kids,’ it’s their song every bit as much as it’s mine,” Chesney says of his upcoming tour. “They throw so much light and heart on everything, even a sad one like ‘Anything But Mine,’ the songs shine.
“So for us, getting out there and hearing these songs again just reminds us how powerful they are. And getting to take them to some places we’ve missed, playing some rooms where we can really see all the faces? That’s really awesome, too.”
Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour
April 4 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center
April 5 Champaign, IL State Farm Center
April 6 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
April 12 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
April 13 Jacksonville, FL Daily’s Place
April 16 Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena
April 18 Washington, DC The Anthem
April 25 Charleston, SC Volvo Car Stadium
April 26 Tallahassee, FL Donald L Tucker Civic Center
April 27 Orange Beach, AL The Wharf
May 2 Columbia, MO Mizzou Arena
May 3 Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena
May 4 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena
May 9 Albany, NY Times Union Arena
May 10 Wilkes-Barre, PA Mohegan Sun Arena
May 11 Atlantic City, NJ Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena
May 17 Sioux Falls, SD Denny Sanford Premier Center
May 18 Lincoln, NE Pinnacle Bank Arena
May 24 Tuscaloosa, AL Tuscaloosa Amphitheater