No Shoes, No Shirt, No Chesney [OPINION]
The king of No Shoes Nation, country megastar Kenney Chesney, is taking a break. With a record-setting 2018 stadium tour in the books, Pollstar reports that Chesney will not be touring next year.
"Next year we're not going to do stadiums. We're going to preserve that and not saturate the market - kind of give it a break," Chesney's manager, Clint Hingham, said.
Pollstar says the Trip Around The Sun Tour included 42 shows for 1,298,089 fans in 19 stadiums across the U.S. for a final gross of $114,595,118.98. At Gillette Stadium alone, 121,714 tickets were sold, grossing $11,631,679 over two nights in August to conclude the tour. Chesney has played Gillette each summer since 2005.
Chesney, whose home on St. John in the British Virgin Islands was destroyed by catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane Irma in 2017, spent much of the winter assisting the region in its recovery by delivering food, drugs and other supplies, and well as flying thousands of abandoned pets and homeless people to the United States.
Seventeen island residents rode out the storm in Cheney's laundry room. The singer tells Pollstar some of those people were brought to Gillette Stadium in August for the end of the tour.
“A lot of the people from my time on the islands lost their ability to make a living. They’re scattered all over the country. Some of them had moved on, as happens," Chesney said. "But yes, a lot of them came to Foxborough this year. They’d all been through so much, it was a chance to be together and hold on to people who understood the love, the life, the laughter that marked out time there."
Chesney refuses to rebuild until those who remain on St. John have been relocated or are in permanent housing.
Hingham says Chesney was changed by what happened on St. John and hopes the time off from touring will give him a chance to refocus. Chesney's fans are among the most loyal in the industry, and will certainly fill Gillette again when Chesney is ready to tour again, most likely in 2020.
Job well done. Enjoy the break.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.