When the stage alone weighs 360,000 pounds, it takes a whole lot of muscle, brains, and technology to make Kenny Chesney’s Trip Around the Sun Tour go off without a hitch for the No Shoes Nation. On Saturday, April 21, the man The Wall Street Journal called “The King of the Road” will debut another state of the art sound system, as well as a video wall that’s three stories high.
“The idea is nobody who comes to the show should ever think about what it takes to make this happen,” Chesney says. “But we’ve been having tech rehearsals separate from band rehearsals, building video for the screens, streamlining the production in ways that create less of an environmental footprint while still having a show that rocks.”
Starting with a new GSL Box, there will be two stripes – 24 boxes – on each side of the stage, plus 24 V8s hung from the upper decks and 67 auxiliary cabinets. This configuration can produce 110 decibels to reach even the seats in the back of the stadium. Recently deployed at a New Orleans festival headlined by Bassnectar, the low end had enough intensity to set off all the car alarms in the parking lot 400-500 feet away.
“We won’t drive the system at those levels,” Chesney laughs, “but it’s nice to know it can create that kind of sonic intensity. For us, it was really about people being able to hear the words because these songs are important to them – and they deserve that.”
With a video wall that stretches 48 feet wide and almost 36 feet high, it’s the largest screen deployment of Chesney’s career. With 404 lighting fixtures – some singles and some holding 72 LED flares – his production team is working to also create the best visual experience the No Shoes Nation has ever had.
“We’ve got 19 buses, 28 trucks, and 133 people out on the road,” Chesney says. “Plus we hire 60-75 local stagehands during the week, over a 100 on load-in days, and 175 to load-out at night when we’re done. It’s a whole lot of people, but they’re so good at what they do, I am amazed every single time we do this.”
With 60,000-80,000 square feet of flooring brought in to cover the fields, that’s a whole lot of ground being covered with Chesney’s coming of age and into your life in the flyover catalog of songs. But just as importantly, it’s the foundation for a whole lot of memories to come.
“We just did our last rehearsal. We’ve got some new songs, old songs people haven’t heard – and a whole lot of the songs everybody comes for,” Chesney says. “There’s nothing like the sound of the No Shoes Nation when they’re on fire… and I can’t wait for Tampa.”
Chesney, whose tour is being presented by Blue Chair Bay Rum, will have played 156 stadium shows at the close of 2018’s Trip Around The Sun Tour.