As with so many other Jersey Shore visitors, it was Wildwood’s sprawling beach that sealed the deal for Kenny Chesney.
The country star picked Wildwood over Seaside Heights as the site for a free concert on Wednesday, June 20, in part because of how much he liked the beach, says John Lynch of the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority.
The 75-minute show will take place on the Schellenger Avenue Concert Beach. Tickets were given to American Express cardholders as well as listeners of Cat Country, 107.3 WPUR-FM. No more tickets are available, and tickets are required for access to the beach.
Chesney is in the midst of the “Brothers from the Sun” tour with co-headliner Tim McGraw and openers Jake Owen and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
The megatour is being performed on weekends only through late August, allowing Chesney to make a weekday stop in Wildwood.
One of Nashville’s biggest names, Chesney is a four-time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year who has scored 20 No. 1 singles and continues to be one of its top live draws. He’s also featured in the latest “This Is SportsCenter” TV spot for ESPN.
True to his reputation as a high-energy live performer, Chesney, wearing his typical uniform of a cowboy hat and and guns-baring muscle shirt, delivered a powerhouse set earlier this month at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
“Chesney is the Ambassador of Happiness,” writes Atlanta Journal Constitution critic Melissa Ruggieri. “Rare was the moment when a grin wasn’t plastered on his face as he skittered around the stage in his sleeveless T-shirt, tight jeans and cowboy hat, a mass of frantic energy under a schizophrenic wall of strobe lights.”
His 20-song set surveyed his 15 albums, including his latest, “Welcome to the Fishbowl” (Blue Chair/Columbia), which features “Feel Like a Rock Star,” a duet with McGraw that is the album’s first single.
“Drenched in sweat a few songs into the set, Chesney bounced from ‘Summertime’ to ‘Reality’ to the full-throttle rocker ‘Live Those Songs’ with a contagious energy that ripped through the crowd,” Ruggieri writes.
Chesney’s setlist ranged from populist, feel-good anthems, such as “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” and “You and Tequila,” to the U2-like “Come Over,” the second single from his new album, which is due out on Tuesday.
“While his persona of the good-time beach bum peeked out — and it’s a persona many men in the audience seem to have adopted given the number of flip-flops spotted ... Chesney’s songs offer plenty of meat to chew on,” Ruggieri writes.