Saturday night, I caught Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney on Chesney’s Poets and Pirates Tour at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. It was the day I’d been waiting for since February, when, after seeing Urban rock Madison Square Garden, I found myself wondering how, year after year, Chesney could manage to win Entertainer of the Year. I understand it now, but I still don’t agree with it…
My sister, a longtime Chesney fan, had always raved about Kenny’s crowd control, and it’s true: the people love him. They sing every word to every song, pausing only to say that they love him (my sister) or to curse when they spill their beer or fruity beverages (the people seated behind us). Chesney works the stage so hard, in fact, that he starts sweating through his T-shirt during the opening song — which you’ve got to respect. And he clearly wants you to feel as though he’s partying with you (I’m sure the people who joined him in multiple renditions of the Eagles’ fight song believed that he was).
I sang along to “Living in Fast Forward” and “Anything But Mine” as loudly as the next person, but if you told me that I could only see one of them, Kenny or Keith, in concert again, I’d choose Keith. Not all of the songs I listen to have to mention sand and some kind of fruit wine. (Okay, only three-quarters of Kenny’s songs do that.) And I love watching Keith play the guitar. He actually picked up a gift from a fan with his teeth so that he didn’t miss a note. (You’ve got to respect that as much, or more.)
Luckily, country fans don’t have to choose between the two. But if you did, who would it be?