Chesney works hard for his fans

by Alison Bonaguro
Music Roundup
(The Chicago Tribune, Published August 13, 2007


When 28,000 people descend on Tinley Park wearing cowboy hats and drinking Cruzan Rum, it can only mean two things. It's summer and Kenny Chesney's in town.

Chesney brought his party of a concert to the sold-out First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre on Saturday for a rowdy crowd. Telling them, "We've been looking forward to this. All. Year. Long."

"Beer in Mexico" and "Keg in the Closet," two of Chesney's beer-drinker's anthems brought the crowd to its feet. And most never sat down during Chesney's two-hour set. His 11-man band, including a five-piece horn section, backed him well. At times, a little too well, making it hard to hear Chesney when he was talking between tunes. But on the songs, his vocals came through exactly like they do on his albums:expressive, clear and with just enough Tennessee twang to remind you that Chesney really is the hillbilly rockstar he claims to be.

The brass and the five guitarists all had a turn to shine during "Big Star," and the fiddle work stood out on "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem." And the whole crowd helped on background vocals for Chesney's laundry list of hits they knew by heart. Even on the just-released "Never Wanted Nothing More," he had the mic out and the fans singing. But the one working the hardest all night was Chesney, evidenced by his sweat-soaked Illini Intramurals T-shirt. The payoff for working up such a sweat? A loyal Chicago fan base, already gearing up for your next tour.

-- Alison Bonaguro

ctc-tempo@tribune.com Copyright 2007, Chicago Tribune

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