Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chesney, Urban, Bentley Worth All the Screaming

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chesney, Urban, Bentley Worth All the Screaming

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull, The Times-Union

Say this for Kenny Chesney: He works plenty hard onstage. Women and girls love him (OK, the men seemed to, too, but the crowd was mostly women and they certainly screamed the loudest.) And Chesney seems to appreciate the audience right back.

It was a big party Friday night at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban and Chesney sold out the place, and sold it out quickly. Those with hope but no ticket stood outside hoping for some kind of luck, but few found it. Inside, though, the place was in high energy. Certainly the star power was there. Chesney's When the Sun Goes Down is No. 1 on Billboard's country album chart. Urban's Golden Road is No. 3 and Bentley's self-titled debut album is No. 15.

Chesney was the star, of course. His boy-next-door image has morphed into country hunk, perhaps the hottest performer in country today. His tour, Guitars, Tiki Bars and a Whole Lot of Love, has sold out just about everywhere it's been. And these days, he's added an island theme to go with his more traditional pop-country ballads.

Lest there be any doubt, Jimmy Buffett played over the speakers before Chesney took the stage. And the photos on the big screens showed Chesney in tropical settings. The ones without shirt drew the loudest cheers from the crowd, but it didn't seem to know what to make of a photo of Bob Marley lighting up. It was an odd mix: music by Buffett, Marley and then AC/DC before Chesney finally came on.

He arrived on a platform hanging from the ceiling, coming out from behind the giant screens that would focus on the stage most of the night. He was in typical Chesney-wear -- cowboy boots, painted-on jeans, hat worn low over his eyes and a sleeveless orange shirt. (Has anyone ever seen a photo of the man wearing a shirt with sleeves? That could be a collector's item.)

He looks like a fairly small guy, but he's fit, as the shirtless photos would remind us through the night. …

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