Kenny Chesney with Brooks & Dunn and Sugarland at Gillette Stadium on July 28

A review of Kenny Chesney with Brooks & Dunn and Sugarland at Gillette Stadium on July 28, 2007

, Editor-in-Chief

In what has become one of the most highly anticipated annual concerts in New England, country superstar Kenny Chesney came and once again, conquered Gillette Stadium. The now perennial summertime gig is much more than a concert. It’s an event that brings tailgating experiences that rival Jimmy Buffet’s Parrotheads. But make no mistakes about it the music is what makes this the largest single-day festival in the region. Just as he done in prior years, Kenny Chesney and friends delivered a show that even Nashville would be jealous of.& &

Chesney kick started the show in great form with “Beer In Mexico.” Flowing straight in crowd favorites “Keg In The Closet” and “Summertime,” he quickly soared to the highest point of the show with songs that probably would have been better suited for the encore.

The country superstar’s love affair with Boston runs deep and his true affection for the city was visible. Clad in a Boston cut off t-shirt, he screamed, “Home, sweet home.” As the show progressed (and that t-shirt was a prefect barometer based on the amount of sweat it was drenched in), Chesney name-dropped Patriots’ linebacker Teddy Bruschi in “Big Star,” delivered a video montage of the city’s hotspots during “Back Where I Come From,” and continually praised the adoring crowd. For both the star and the fans, nothing shined brighter than “Boston.” A deep track off Be As You Are (Songs From an Old Blue Chair), it’s a song that Chesney rarely performs but aptly fit in for Saturday night. Not surprisingly, the song that only really matters to fans here was met with a response only Bostonians could bring: a passionate and faithful sing-along.

Of course, that was hardly the only sing-along. “Young,” “Living In Fast Forward,” “I Go Back,” and “Live Those Songs Again” were all crowd favorites. All the while, Chesney worked the crowd and scampered across the massive endzone stage with frantic energy. He slowed it down for a heartfelt rendition of “Old Blue Chair” before Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles joined him for “When The Sun Goes Down.” Surprisingly, he only debuted one song, “Never Wanted Nothing More,” off his forthcoming album, Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates, which hits stores on September 11.

Chesney capped of his near two-hour set with his smash hit, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” It was one of the all too rare moments that his backing band was allowed to boasts its talent with an extended jam at the end. However, it unfortunately came too late as many attendees started to hit the exits in hopes of beating the traffic.

The lone problem with Chesney’s set was that the top of the order was packed with too many of his up-temp hits, which seemingly left the second half lagging behind such height points. Additionally, the show was almost a repeat of the year prior. Chesney clearly has a formula, and while it works to perfection, a few changes would be welcome for next year.

Not much has changed in Brooks and Dunn show either since the duo’s last Boston show, but they were still thoroughly entertaining throughout their 70-minute set. From then opening rendition of “Hillbilly Deluxe,” the legendary pair and their backing band delighted the crowd. Fan favorites including “You Can\’t Take The Honky Tonk Out Of The Girl,” “My Maria,” and even the more recent single, “Play Something Country” all evoked fun sing-alongs. Dunn’s vocals shined through “Neon Moon” while Brooks plucked a girl out of the crowd to dance with during “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” The band closed their main set with “Brand New Man,” before returning for a two-song encore. “Only In America,” finished the show as the band welcomed four US Servicemen in full uniform. They walked across the stage and saluted the crowd, who honorably welcomed them with the loudest and longest ovation of the day, as the American flag was prominently displayed on the stage screen and confetti filled the air.

Sugarland was a pleasant surprise during their impressive opening set, which more fans took in as it progressed. The Atlanta based duo of guitarist and mandolin player Kristian Bush and lead singer Jennifer Nettles along with their backing band were in fine form. They certainly raised a few eyebrows with a unique cover Beyonce’s hit “Irreplaceable” and later impressed with “Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good)” and “Who Said You Can’t Go Home?,” in which Bush filled in admirably for Jon Bon Jovi. Sugarland closed out their set with “Something More” as Nettles through on a Tom Brady Patriots jersey, much to the delight of the New England crowd.

Also on the bill were Sarah Evans and Pat Green, who both performed before solo sets before a sparse crowd in the stands while many more listened from the parking lot.

On a side note, Route 1 was in miserable deadlock all day as many spectators without tickets flocked to Foxboro for tailgating and partying. Unfortunately, it made for a busy day in the parking lots for local police and security, who have since reported a record amount of people taken into custody.&

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