Kenny Chesney has gone to Czechoslovakia for the most cutting-edge lights… Watched his sound techs dial in the best sound for specific parts of every single stadium… Flown the East Tennessee songwriter/superstar over the crowd… With three years since he set foot on a stadium stage, Chesney and his Country Music Association SRO Award-winning live team have had plenty of time to figure out not just how to make things better, but make them smarter.
“People don’t realize how much thought goes into what we do, and the things these guys I work with actually think about,” Chesney marvels of a team who’s come together as he’s been solidified as a true stadium-sized headliner. “It’s always about what No Shoes Nation hears, sees and experiences, but then we’re looking for ways, too, that lets us tour smarter…not just bigger.”
This year’s tour will be entirely LED lights. Employing 126 LED Robe Forte fixtures overhead, Chesney continues his Czech alliance. There will also be 60 JDC1 strips on the floor for footlights, each equipped with a strobe stripe through the middle that can tilt via remote control. As longtime tour wizard Ed Wannebo says of the upgrade, “We now have the ability to balance the colors that transcends the aging of the ‘bulbs,’ but more importantly, making the switch to all LED drops our power consumption by half. What once took 25 amps to power now takes 13 – and the stage stays cool.”
That stage is 220 feet wide, with a strut extending well into the sandbar. World famous Clair Global Sound joins the tour for the first time, with Solotech handling all the LED lights. Beyond the new presentational aspects, the time spent designing the road gear and packaging has allowed the tour to go from 24 to 19 trucks crossing the nation.
“Kenny asked if we could shrink our footprint,” tour vet Wannebo says, “and I started thinking. We went to 22 trucks, then 21, then 20. In talking with our vendors, trying to be smart about how we pack things, the design of road cases and how we store this very expensive gear, they got creative. Ultimately, we got it down to 19 trucks carrying everything necessary for a stadium show across the country, which is a 20% reduction in what we were taking out.
“And beyond just the number of trucks,” Wannebo says, “it’s the amount of diesel we’re not burning. Across those five trucks, we’re talking about 18,000 gallons of diesel we didn’t burn this summer. Or for people who measure in money, that’s a half a million dollars of fuel.”
Chesney says, “With momentum, you just do what you do – and you never pause to really look at, ‘How could you do this a little cleaner? A little leaner?’ Because of how many times we started to put this tour on the road, we had plenty of time to ask those questions, to see how to make it smarter, stronger. And it turned out, with the lights especially, better.”
With April 23 at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on this horizon, Here And Now 2022, Presented by Blue Chair Bay Rum and fueled by MARATHON, makes for a full-on stadium summer, plus some intimate amphitheater shows. With reigning Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist Carly Pearce, five-time ACM and four-time CMA Group of the Year Old Dominion and four-time GRAMMY Duo/Group winners Dan + Shay, Here And Now is going to be Nashville’s most straight up and ready to rock tour of the summer.