No Shoes Nation showed up in numbers Thursday night at The Molson Canadian Amphitheater. It was a full house of plaid, western hats, boots and country fans who were definitely in a mood to party with Kenny Chesney!
Chesney’s Spread The Love Tour sure did spread some lovin’ on Toronto. And Toronto loved him right back. Kenny’s set started off right, in my mind, with Beer in Mexico and that set the tone for the show!
What a beautiful night to kick off the first big country act to hit the Molson Amphitheater this season. The first show of their Country MegaTicket series got underway under blues skies and a gentle lakeside breeze. Sound like the perfect setting for a country music show? Damn right! And we were treated to two of Sony Music’s finest on this night.
Kenny hit the stage at 8:45pm which brought the capacity crowd to its feet, and from that point on, seats were useless. No one used them! For the entire show , everyone was up and on their feet and sang along to every tune. It was awesome to see and hear. In fact you could hear everyone singing OVER the music at times. Amazing! He and the band had the No Shoes Nation faithful rockin’ and groovin’ all night with an amazing set list that definitely did not disappoint. It was all the favourites from start to finish. For one reason or a hundred, this was my first chance to FINALLY see Kenny Chesney. It just never worked out with my schedule on his previous visits. And man it was worth the wait. Kenny repeated to the crowd on more than one occasion how much they love coming to play in Toronto. The energy was electric and you could tell that the band felt it, and gave it right back.
The Molson Amphitheatre has absolutely amazing sight lines, and with the huge video screens you don’t miss a single thing. The sound was about as perfect a mix as you can get, and the stage set was nice and clean, Kenny and his band playing in front of a massive bank of oversized Marshall amplifiers. Yup, Chesney brought the Noise! Sweet, sweet noise that is. He is in perpetual motion, so it’s no wonder he is so fit. He never stops moving! Talk about a high energy performance.
At one point in the set, Old Dominion (who opened the show) come back out to join Kenny and the band on Save It For A Rainy Day. That had some magic to it. And a little more magic happened about two thirds into the show, when Kenny reached down to give high fives to his audience, and a girl in the front row handed him her bra. He lost his lyrics for a split second laughing, but then tossed the bra behind him onto the stage and kept right on going with a big smile. Well, I guess it really is the Spread The Love Tour right? The show just kept rolling and building from there with a great mix of songs. One of my favourites was a medley they played of Steve Miller’s The Joker mixed with Bob Marleys Three Little Birds. Again, just the right music for a June night on the shores on Lake Ontario.
Virginia natives Old Dominion, as mentioned, kicked the show off and marked just their second appearance here in Toronto. And as lead singer Matthew Ramsey quipped: “and they let us in the country no problem this time” which drew some laughs.
The band is out supporting their album Meat and Candy and punched out Snapback to start their set. Great crowd interaction from the boys, lots of high fives with the people in the general admission pit and they ensured they spoke to the folks up on the lawn seating as well.
One highlight song for me was Beer Can In A Truck Bed. That one has a great groove. Then, they even broke out a brand new song for us entitled: Not Everything’s About You which was great. But when they hit Break Up With Him, man, the crowd rose up another notch and sang it word for word. This band has a lot of fun on stage, and were a perfect start to a fantastic night of country music. I love their music and it certainly gets plenty of air play in Canada, and now after seeing their live show I can understand why Kenny Chesney invited them out on this tour.
What a show! I loved every single minute of it. Big thank you’s go out to the Kenny Chesney Team and Live Nation Ontario for hosting us.
Kenny Chesney Socials:
Old Dominion Socials:
More photos from the show:
Scott Burns / Sound Check Entertainment