One very familiar face is missing from the national concert tour scene this summer – a guy who needed a break after spending years among the annual top attractions on the road.
Kenny Chesney had churned out massive tours for years, becoming one of music’s top ticket sellers and habitually playing 10 or 12 stadiums along the way each time he put together an itinerary. He was out there onstage successfully leading a big-time party in city after city, but doing it year after year came with a price. There’s plenty of work involved in the planning of a major tour, and Kenny was regularly writing songs and recording albums in his down time. He was quite the workhorse, and he got burnt out in the process.
“I was standing onstage last year, and I felt like I wanted to be somewhere else,” he told Parade magazine for the cover story in this Sunday’s newspaper supplement. “No matter how many people were out there, it all just felt like a blank sheet of paper. You’d think I’d have been happiest in my life playing music in front of 50,000 people at Gillette Stadium. But let me tell you, it’s an odd feeling to feel alone in the spotlight.”
Alone seems to be a key word in the interview. He notes how his mother once told him it’s better to “be miserable alone than be miserable with somebody else,” touches on his brief marriage to Renee Zellweger and concedes that dating as a celebrity in a digital era is difficult.
“If I go out with a girl, there is a possibility that she’s going to get up from the dinner table and go to the bathroom and use Twitter to tell everybody what she’s doing,” he said. “The next thing you know, everybody’s got a play-by-play of what you’re having for dinner. That would make anybody uncomfortable.”
Not that any of that is keeping Kenny away from the limelight on a permanent basis. His new single, “The Boys Of Fall,” debuted in the national charts in the Top 20, and his next album, Hemingway’s Whiskey, comes out Sept. 28. And while he’s not touring full-time, Kenny does make an appearance Saturday as the headliner at We Fest in Detroit Lakes, Minn. Others on the bill for Friday and Saturday include Jason Aldean, Kid Rock, Dierks Bentley, Joe Nichols, Gretchen Wilson, Blake Shelton and Eric Church.