American Express Unstaged
Wildwood Beach, NJ
June 20, 2012
On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, the Jersey Shore witnessed a once in a lifetime event as Kenny Chesney performed on Wildwood Beach as a part of American Express’ Unstaged Concert Series. Chesney, who released a new album the day before entitled “Welcome to the Fishbowl”, was the star of this amazing event, directed by Jonathan Demme, which was also streamed live on various internet sites across the net.
The event planners and Chesney’s fan club had given out 20,000 tickets to fans who were able to access the enclosed portion of the beach. These ticket holders invaded Wildwood as another 30,000 plus arrived and were content in just hearing the music from the Boardwalk. All day long, the Jersey Shore town turned into Kenny Chesney Central.
Much of the show was high production with an interactive high definition screen and a spectacular light show. The stage was absolutely enormous and was amplified by the bordering ferris wheel on the left and rollar coasters on the right. The setting and ambience of the entire night was spectacular. In fact, I found Chesney to be most geniune when he stripped down to an acoustic guitar as he sang “You and Tequila” and “Old Blue Chair”. Chesney singing these songs acoustically in the ocean air really brought home what the night was about: loving music and enjoying life, especially when on a beach.
What I did find odd and a bit disappointing was that he only performed two songs off of his new album. But, the two that he did perform were incredibly well received. “Feel Like a Rockstar” had the crowd stomping and singing along, despite the absence of Tim McGraw (many false rumors were circulating that he and Grace Potter were in town and were to perform as special guests). And “Come Over”, complete with snippets of the steamy music video, was performed to perfection. It is only a matter of time until “Come Over” becomes yet another #1 song for the King of Summer.
To me, the absolute highlight of the night was Chesney’s acoustic cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” (see video below). He told the crowd it was a bit taboo if he had not performed this song while being at the Jersey Shore as Bruce was one of his big brothers in the business. Despite fumbling while trying to tune his guitar to where he wanted it to be, Chesney nailed a stripped version of the song and many fans responded with their gratitude for his version. Various shouts of “Bruuuuuuuuuceeee” were heard throughout the beachside.
Kenny and company finished the set with a cover of Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” and thanked to crowd numerous times before leaving the stage. It was an amazing two hour plus, 27 song set that was performed to perfection throughout. It is very evident to any concert goer that there is no better performer in all of country music. His energy is unparalled and his songs are the perfect choices, both lyrically and musically, for live shows. And on this night, on the beach in Wildwood, while I had my toes in the sand, I do not think I have enjoyed a show more.
American Express Set:
- Beer in Mexico
- Feel Like A Rockstar
- No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
- What I Need To Do
- Come Over
- Anything But Mine
- Guitar and Tiki Bars
- You and Tequila (Acoustic Version)
- Old Blue Chair (Acoustic Version)
- Living in Fast Forward
- Somewhere With You
- On the Coast of Somewhere Beautiful
- Everyone Wants to Go to Heaven
- When the Sun Goes Down
- Don’t Happen Twice
- Boys of Fall
- She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy
- Went Out Last Night
- Like a Blister In the Sun (featuring Mark Tamburino)
- You Really Got Me (The Kinks Cover)
- Pride and Joy (Stevie Ray Vaughn Cover)
- I Go Back
- Never Wanted Nothing More
- Hungry Heart (Bruce Springsteen Acoustic Cover)
- The Joker (Steve Miller Band Cover)