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No Shoes Nation Captures The Conch Republic

No Shoes Nation Captures The Conch Republic

Kenny Chesney Plays Keg In The Keys Gig @ Hog’s Breath Saloon

Key West, FL: They were hanging in the trees, crouching on roofs,
standing on the far side of Duval when Kenny Chesney took over the Hog’s
Breath for a stripped down, 3 hour Keg In The Keys show this afternoon.
The 4-time Academy of Country Music and 4 time Country Music
Association Entertainer of the Year brought three players, some best
loved hits, obscure album tracks, a few well-chosen covers and special
surprise guest, songwriter Keith Gattis, who helped perform “El Cerrito
Place” and “I Am A Small Town” for the freewheeling acoustic show.

“When it gets to be about time to get back out there, I really like
to do these surprise shows,“ Chesney says. “It’s a low impact way to
ease back into the songs, to find the curve in what we do – and have a
whole lotta fun doing it.”

Low impact for the man slated to play 19 stadiums on this summer’s No
Shoes Nation Tour which kicks off March 16 at Tampa’s Raymond James
Stadium, means about 5000 people crammed onto the patio, in the streets,
belly-to-belly inside the bar and on the sidewalks around the iconic
Key West watering hole on Front Street.

After laughingly announcing, “We’re gonna play some old songs, some
new songs and a whole lotta songs,” the Luttrell, Tennessean launched
into “Welcome To the Fishbowl,” the ironic song about our obsession with
fame. With a few churchy piano rolls from Wyatt Beard and a burning
lead from guitarist Kenny Greenberg, it was obvious Chesney had come to
play. The fans, some of whom had waited outside overnight, were
thrilled.

Joking that he’d not had a beer since the first of the year, Chesney
apologized to the crowd for “needing to be a good boy, and this is the
worst place in the world to do that.” Instead he gave them an industrial
strength helping of classics including “Summertime,” “You &
Tequila” and “The Boys of Fall,” as well as obscure gems like Guy
Clark’s “Hemingway’s Whiskey” and “On The Coast of Somewhere Beautiful,”
which Chesney admitted was a true story “and she lives up in Jupiter,
Florida.”

Talking to the crowd about where they’re from and even inviting two
sisters – and their Mom! — onstage to sing with him, it was a loose
afternoon swapping songs and stories with people who felt more like
friends than fans. In keeping with the ad hoc feel, guitarist Clayton
Mitchell took lead vocals on Steve Ray Vaughan’s “Pride & Joy” and
Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man,” while No Shoes Radio’s Mark Tamburino
romped through Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun,” as well as Chesney
good-timing through George Strait’s “Ocean Front Property” and Merle
Haggard’s “Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.”

“I opened my very first real headlining show in West Palm, so
Florida’s become a part of my soul,” Chesney explains. “When we were
trying to figure where to do this year’s Keg show, nowhere in the
continental United States has the spirit of what Life On A Rock (his
upcoming April 30 release) embodies quite like Key West. Starting
another year, it seemed like the only place to do this show was the
Hog’s Breath.”

Introducing “Pirate Flag,” the insurrection anthem that marked his
8th Top 25 debut, Chesney proclaimed, “This is a song a little bit about
rebelling, about rebelling against anything that’s mundane in your
life.” Fans raised their glasses and No Shoes Nation skull and cross
bones in the crowd, and sang along like it was the declaration of their
life.

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