The MetLife Stadium is the home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, but who knew on a Saturday night (August 11th) it would turn into a country music jamboree? ‘The Brothers of the Sun Tour’ landed in the northern New Jersey town this past weekend, where tour performers Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw belted out some of their old and new songs. The tunes were playing, the stadium was rocking, and for one summer night every Northerner believed that they too had a Southern drawl.
Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw’s tour, ‘Brothers of the Sun’ began on June 2nd in Tampa Florida, and for the past three months they have made appearances to almost every National Football League stadium in the United States. The star country performers graced avid fans with their presence on a hot August night, where they put on a show that no one from the audience will ever forget. The tour members also invited Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Jake Owen to perform as their opening acts for the summer tour.
In the late afternoon, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals took the stage to get the concert rolling. The first song the American rock band performed was ‘Stop The Bus’ from their 2007 album, ‘This Is Somewhere.’ To be honest I, like probably most of the audience, do not really follow Grace Potter and her band. Although they have been around since 2002, this was my first time actually listening to them, and I was more than impressed with what I heard. Grace Potter is an extremely talented musician; in addition to lead vocals, Potter plays the organ, piano, electric and acoustic guitars. Their next three songs, ‘Never Go Back,’ ‘Stars’ and ‘Parachute Heart’ were ones that a lot of people, again, did not know too well. However, once ‘Apologies’ and ‘Medicine’ came on, everyone was singing along and swaying to the music. I really did not think Grace Potter and the Nocturnals would be a good first opening act for such an upbeat, country concert. I was surely mistaken. After hearing the band, I will definitely be listening to more of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ music.
Following Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, country heartthrob singer Jake Owen came out to the stage and serenated women throughout the stadium with his smooth and exquisite voice. The 2005 American country award-winning artist opened his act with his new single, ‘The One That Got Away.’ Fans of Owen who knew the song by heart went absolutely crazy when the music began to play. He then played his first single, and hit, ‘Yee Haw’ from the 2006 album, ‘Startin’ With Me.’ Jake Owen’s song does not get any more country, while screaming ‘Yee Haw’ and ‘An’ mix it all up with some down home southern drawl.’ He then went on to perform ‘Alone With You’ and ‘ Barefoot Blue Jean Night,’ both from the 2011 album, ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night.’ I am a huge fan of these two songs so, like every other audience member, I too was belting all of the lyrics. As Jake, his band members, and the whole entire audience sang the chorus, “Never gonna grow up, Never gonna slow down, We were shinin’ like lighters in the dark in the middle of a rock show, We were doin’ it right We were comin’ alive, Yeah, caught up in a Southern summer, barefoot, blue jean night,” I was reminiscing my childhood summers when everything was so easy, and there was not a care in the world. He proceeded to sing six more songs, including, ‘Don’t Think I Can’t Love You’ and ‘Tennessee River.’ The final song of his act was a cover of the country band ‘Alabama’s’ 1983 song, ‘Dixieland Delight.’ Who knew that people from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut had all the lyrics to that song memorized? Without a doubt, Jake Owen’s performance got the crowd on their feet and helped everyone get ready for the big guns to come out and rock the MetLife stadium.
As soon as 45-year-old Louisiana native, Tim McGraw stepped out on the ‘Brothers of the Sun’ stage the members of the audience erupted into massive roars and cheers. The country star was wearing a white V-neck, white pants, black cowboy boots and, of course, his signature black cowboy hat. Without a doubt, when all the women in the stadium saw McGraw they became mesmerized by his tan and buff physique. Despite being closer to 50 years old than 30, and being the father of three daughters, Tim McGraw is definitely getting more attractive with time. As the cheers and claps subsided, he introduced himself and thanked the many fans who had purchased tickets to see him perform. His band then began to play the beginning of McGraw’s hit song, ‘Felt Good on My Lips,’ which is on his new album, ‘Emotional Traffic,’ and, without any hesitation, the crowd rose to its feet and began to sing along. McGraw literally played one or two songs from ten different albums and there was not a single person in the MetLife stadium that did not know all the words. During ‘Everywhere’ he brought two girls and a young woman up on the stage to sing with him. They all put their arms around each other and swayed to the music. It was truly a magical moment for everyone.
McGraw took a little break between songs, but when he came back on stage the party felt like it had never stopped. He sang his new hit, ‘Better Than I Used to Be’ off the new album, ‘Emotional Traffic.’ The last three songs that he performed were, ‘Something Like That,’ ‘Southern Voice’ (which is from the classic movie ‘The Blind Side’), and ‘Live Like You Were Dying.’ However, Tim McGraw was not done, and once the stadium called for an encore he was back on the stage and ready to rock. Instead of just playing one song, McGraw played three more songs and the stadium was back on its feet. The first song he played was, ‘The Cowboy in Me’ from his 2001 album, ‘Set This Circus Down.’ Everyone in the stadium felt like a cowboy or a cowgirl when he performed this song. The second song from his encore set was, ‘I Like It, I Love It’ from the 1995 album, ‘All I Want.’ The audience and I definitely “liked it, loved it, and wanted some more of it.” The grand finale of his performance was his recent single (released on July 3, 2012), ‘Truck Yeah,’ and the crowd all agreed that Tim McGraw still had it, and this was not the end for him. The audience clapped and cheered for the country star for ten minutes until he finally left the stage, as Tim McGraw knew that the audience would see him again.
As the stage crew rushed to change the set for the other ‘brother of the sun,’ the crowd anxiously awaited for Kenny Chesney. The lights from the stadium began to dim, and we knew that it was time to rock again. Once the chords of ‘Beer In Mexico’ from the 2005 album, ‘The Road and the Radio’ began, the fans that were legal raised the cups filled with beer and sang along with Kenny. Following that song, he played ‘Keg in the Closet’ from his 2004 album, ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ – a song about teenagers hiding a keg in the closet so they do not get caught drinking. The third song, ‘Summertime,’ again from the album ‘The Road and the Radio,’ really brought the audience to their feet as a summer breeze brushed through our hair. It was the “perfect song on the radio,” or in a concert, and the audience sang “along ‘cause it’s one we knew,” and because it is “sweet summertime.” Like McGraw, Kenny Chesney sang one or two songs from about eight of his albums (Chesney has about 12 albums). Again, fans of Chesney knew most of the words, and would sing along with the country legend. He would even stop singing and just point the microphone to the crowd because he knew that we would continue the song. He brought Grace Potter back on stage as they performed their duet, ‘You and Tequila.’ It was beautifully done, as the two were the only ones on stage playing their guitars and singing. After the song, Chesney gave Potter a big kiss on the cheek and the two took a bow to the audience. The concert went on with songs like ‘Young,’ ‘On The Coast of Somewhere Beautiful,’ and ‘When The Sun Goes Down.’ Kenny Chesney ended his performance by singing ‘The Boys of Fall’ from the 2012 album, ‘Hemingway’s Whiskey,’ which is about high-school football. This was a perfect way to end, since the concert was in MetLife stadium and it is home to the New York Giants and the New York Jets. After the song finished, the band kept playing and Chesney ran to the back of the stage to bring back one New York Giants and one New York Jets helmet. As he walked toward the end of the stage, he kept lifting one of the helmets at a time. The crowd would cheer or boo when one of the helmets was in the air. He then picked two girls from the crowd and put the helmets on their heads. It was the perfect way to end a performance in a football stadium.
Instead of the encore being just Kenny Chesney up on stage, Tim McGraw came back and helped the country star get the audience on their feet to keep rocking the night away. The first song that was performed was, ‘Feel Like A Rockstar,’ which actually features Tim McGraw on Kenny Chesney’s new album, ‘Welcome To The Fishbowl.’ The crowd definitely felt like rock-stars when the duo played this song. The second song was, ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy’ from Kenny Chesney’s album ‘Everywhere We Go.’ Throughout the song, Kenny and Tim would go back and forth singing the verses, but they would both sing the chorus. Everyone in the audience also sang along with the pair. The third song was ‘Indian Outlaw’ from Tim McGraw’s ‘Not a Moment Too Soon,’ and like the previous song, Tim and Kenny would sing different verses but together would since the chorus lines. Their final song of the ‘Brothers of the Sun’ concert was American country legend Jackson Browne’s ‘Running on Empty.’ Grace Potter, Jake Owen, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney were all up on stage performing this classic hit, as the audience sang along once last time.
‘The Brothers of the Sun’ concert was one of the most exciting and upbeat concerts that I have ever attended. There is something about country music that really touches people’s lives, whether they have been in the same situation that the song is about or not. Either way, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jake Owen, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney put on a show that many from that audience will always remember.