San Diego takes a break from reality with Kenny Chesney


With his “no shoes, no shirt, no problems” mentality, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect way to celebrate the Summer Solstice than at an outdoor Kenny Chesney concert.

On Thursday (the longest day of the year), a packed house flooded into Mattress Firm Amphitheatre in Chula Vista to tune in to opening act Old Dominion and take a break from reality with 11-time Academy of Country Music Awards-winner Chesney, as part of the singer’s Trip Around the Sun Tour.

“I truly believe that music brings us together,” opined Chesney during the show.

Along with providing hit after hit, one of the most amusing and entertaining aspects of Chesney concerts is the personalization of the show. Never overproduced or too showy, the stage set on Thursday was simple yet engaging.

The musicians were the focus with only a large high-definition screen at centerstage that showed live video, as well as a montage of homemade-style videos ranging from people enjoying the island life (played to songs like “Beer in Mexico” and “Summertime”) to old family videos and photo collages (played during “Young”).

The only other stage adornments included a row of personalized license plates, one reading “KC LIFE” and a hard-working pole weighed down with numerous brassieres — one of which was flung on stage during the show, nearly hitting Chesney in the face.

And, continuing with the personalization of the show, there were flashes of Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay Rum seen in the videos and in the giant branded hot air balloon that lifted fans high above tailgaters ahead of the show.

But perhaps of greatest note, was when Chesney sang “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” with video playing of him helping with disaster relief resulting from 2017’s Hurricane Irma. During his aid time, Chesney rescued some 200 animals and followed up his efforts by creating the charity Love for Love City Foundation to help support relief in both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, where Chesney’s home in St. John (nicknamed “Love City”) was destroyed.

The Mattress Firm Amphitheatre show kicked off right at 7:30 p.m. with Old Dominion starting things off with “Song for Another Time” and playing straight through to their 2015-released hit “Snapback,” which was nominated for an iHeartRadio Music Award for Country Song of the Year.

Old Dominion returned to the stage to play “Save It For a Rainy Day” with Chesney, a song which band members Matthew Ramsey and Brad Tursi helped write.

The overall show was 20 songs, plus one encore song — the always cheeky “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” — which was three songs shy of his June 20 performance at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre where he packed in 23 songs and an encore, and two short of his June 16 Columbus, Ohio show where he delighted with 22 songs and an encore.

Kenny Chesney setlist for June 21 show at Mattress Firm Amphitheatre

  1. Beer in Mexico
  2. Reality
  3. Til It’s Gone
  4. Summertime
  5. Pirate Flag
  6. No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems
  7. Somewhere With You
  8. I Go Back
  9. Get Along
  10. Anything But Mine
  11. Save It for a Rainy Day (with Old Dominion)
  12. All the Pretty Girls
  13. Living in Fast Forward
  14. Young
  15. Noise
  16. American Kids
  17. Setting the World on Fire
  18. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
  19. How Forever Feels
  20. Don’t Happen Twice
  21. She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy (encore)


Editor’s Letter: Big city country