Though his Sunday night set at the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio was the fourth time Kenny Chesney headlined the now 11-year-old sister festival of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the diehard fans were ready for him.
After three days of partying in the desert and enduring the heat, blowing dust, lots of beer drinking, dozens of acts and evening topping sets by Dierks Bentley and Shania Twain, the Sunday Stagecoach crowd is typically a bit more sluggish. This year, however, fans seemed to more effortlessly muster up the energy to party along to Thomas Rhett, who played second to Chesney on the Mane Stage, and head over to the Palomino Stage to see Travis Tritt.
Instead of cutting out early to beat the traffic to get to work on Monday, the majority of the fans stuck around to see Chesney. Sporting a simple baseball cap and a pair of shorts, Chesney delivered a set similar to the ones he had been touring on last summer, coming out with “Beer in Mexico,” “Reality,” “Til It’s Gone,” “Summertime” and got fans swaying along to “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems.”
He offered a few new cuts off of his latest record, “Cosmic Hallelujah,” including “Noise” and “Setting the World on Fire,” during which he didn’t bring out pop star Pink who appears on the track. Instead, her vocals were piped in and he brought up a cute little girl out of the audience to help him sing along. He skipped “Rich and Miserable,” a cut which he just dropped a new music video for on Friday.
He was the only headliner this year to not bring out any sort of special guest and just lead straight into his set, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind much since he was solid on songs like “Save It For a Rainy Day,” “Living in Fast Forward,” “American Kids,” “How Forever Feels,” “Don’t Happen Twice” and the set closer, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.”
Though he didn’t take the opportunity to do anything really special to mark the occasion, the fact that he’s headlined four Stagecoach festivals and has received so much support from the Southern California fans wasn’t lost on him.
“This is the fourth time we’ve played this place,” he said taking a deep breath. “We’re so proud and excited to be back.”
Leading up to Chesney’s turn, Tyler Farr got the crowd going with “Redneck Crazy,” “A Guy Walks into a Bar,” covers of “Your Love” by the Outfield and “Boyz in the Hood” by Eazy-E, and his latest single, “I Should Go to Church Sometime.”
Rhett was also a popular attraction with “Crash and Burn,” “South Side,” “T-Shirt” and his love song, “Die a Happy Man.” He did a cover of Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” that got fans dancing, but his delivery lacked the snappy spirit of Mars’ original.
Though Sunday’s lineup was arguably the weakest of the three-day fest, with everyone having the impossible task of following Twain’s knockout performance coupled with a lack of a legend like Jerry Lee Lewis or Willie Nelson, that didn’t stop the crowd from continuing to party hard until Chesney hit his last few notes. Needless to say, a lot of people are going to be “sick” or late to work on Monday.
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