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
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune