There’s no better way to kick off the start of summer than with a beach party, but Kenny Chesney bumped it up to a much larger scale. The country superstar played a live show right on the beach in Wildwood, N.J. this week as part of 10th installment of “American Express Unstaged” series, in honor of the release of his newest album, "Welcome to the Fishbowl." Renowned director Jonathan Demme, who has worked with artists like Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, helped to bring Chesney’s intimate concert idea to life.
“I thought we were going to pick a night on the tour, maybe in Philadelphia to shoot a concert in a concert, and then I found out that Kenny’s vibe was that he really want[ed] to do this concert near the water,” Demme explained. “In fact, he want[ed] to shoot in Wildwood – there’s a nice amusement park there. I wasn’t excited to be shooting by the ocean, but when I got down here and did our rehearsal this afternoon and looking at our shots on the monitor, it’s unbelievable!”
American Express gave access to cardmembers and some of Chesney’s biggest fans to attend his coastal concert as well as download the first single from his new record. Those who were unable to snag a ticket were able to livestream the show through a partnership with VEVO and Youtube and tweeted along for the chance to unlock special enhancements to the show.
The production team of over 350 people built a fully loaded stage on the sand in the shadow of Wildwood’s famous boardwalk amusement rides that lit up the sky as Chesney took to the stage in front of thousands of his biggest fans on the beach and many more on the boardwalk that sold Chesney shirts in honor of the concert.
He got the summer soiree started with songs like “Beer in Mexico," “No, Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem,” and “Guitars and Tiki Bars,” before slowing things down with a few ballads from the new album like “Come Over,” ”You and Tequila,” and old fan favorite, “Anything But Mine.” He played well into the night even as Youtube turned off the cameras with a total of 27 songs, including covers of The Kink’s “You Really Got Me,” Steveie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy,” and Violent Femmes’ “Blister in The Sun,” making up the last verse as he went along. By the end of the night, a sea of cowboy hats headed back onto the boardwalk completely exhilarated, stopping to dump the sand from their boots and cool off with a mug of beer or an ice-cream cone.
Missed the show? Check out the full concert below: