Classics Help Kenny Chesney Rally Late at RodeoHouston

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Kenny Chesney
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
NRG Stadium
March 14, 2016

Twenty-two years into his career, with 20 albums under his belt — 14 of which have been certified gold or higher — Kenny Chesney still knows how to galvanize a crowd.

On Monday night, in front of 70,467 screaming fans, Chesney ripped through 15 songs during his eighth RodeoHouston performance. In between tunes, his immensely talented band members treated the crowd to a number of jam sessions, complete with guitar and drum solos.

His set list frequently transitioned from newer cuts to landmark melodies and back again, and it wasn’t until near the end of the show that the Tennessee native hit his stride.

Songs like "Young," "How Forever Feels" and "Don't Happen Twice" must be so ingrained in Chesney’s mind by now that he could sleepwalk through them and still drive the crowd wild. But these were the songs fans bought tickets to hear, and Chesney complied with enthusiasm during the second half of Monday's performance.

When he sang of clueless, wannabe rebels in “Young,” my own youth came to mind. Fourteen years since the song’s release, its lyrics struck me in a new way as I watch my childhood slip further away from "the other week" to "remember when."

The classics provided Chesney just what he needed, since his vocals on Monday night weren’t quite as advertised on record. For most of the evening, he allowed his backup singers to assist him with melodies and hit the high notes for him. The collective voice of the crowd afforded him plenty of support as well.

Despite rallying during the second half of the show, Chesney chose to end his set with the whimsical dud "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," one of the weakest songs in his repertoire. But the chance to call the crowd sexy just before exiting the venue proved too difficult  to resist.

And perhaps to offset Chesney’s tepid finale, his band remained onstage for another five minutes after his departure, serenading the crowd with one last jam session, which afforded fans a much more interesting and satisfying ending.

Beer in Mexico
Til It's Gone
Pirate Flag
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem
Somewhere With You
I Go Back
Save It for a Rainy Day
Living in Fast Forward
American Kids
How Forever Feels
Don't Happen Twice
She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy

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