When Kenny Chesney made the announcement he would take 2014 off the road to focus on making his new record, The Big Revival, did you honestly think the hardest-working man in country music would completely step offstage for an entire year?
Not Chesney. No way, no how! His Saturday (Aug. 16) appearance at the famed Flora-Bama Lounge in Orange Beach, Alabama, proves it. Break or no break, Chesney always enjoys performing for his loyal fans.
In this case, more than 40,000 of them packed onto the white sands, waiting with rapt attention for the superstar to hit the stage. And he did in a most humble fashion, sporting orange cargo shorts, a gray shirt and a baseball cap. Fans danced in the sand, floated in boats off the shore, did anything they had to do to get the best seat. But let’s face it: Is there a bad seat when the concert is taking place on the beach?
Chesney rocked a 32-song set that, much like his massive tours, included a mix of new and old favorites. Fans at the Flora-Bama were treated to everything from “How Forever Feels” to “Don’t Happen Twice” while the star also took moments to strip back his sound for more of an acoustic vibe with songs like “Old Blue Chair” and “You and Tequila.”
One of the many delights of the evening was the surprise appearance from country star David Lee Murphy. Murphy and Chesney co-wrote Chesney’s tune “Flora-Bama.” For Chesney, being able to share that song with fans that night was a moving moment.
“Man, when those people kicked in and started singing ‘Flora-Bama’ back to me, that just hit me in the heart,” Chesney said.
Of course, having Murphy there to be a part of it all was equally thrilling, so it was no surprise when the crowd sang along with Chesney to every word of Murphy’s hits “Dust on the Bottle” and “Party Crowd.”
I know. It’s sad to think about missing a moment like this. But the good news is you really haven’t completely missed it yet. Chesney’s buddy and frequent collaborator, director Shaun Silva, filmed the show for a TV special this fall.
And CMT also captured the action from the beach. You can catch the coverage when CMT Hot 20 Countdown airs Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 23-24) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.