For anyone who doesn’t know, country singer Kenny Chesney is coming to Sleep Train Amphitheatre on Thursday, Aug. 4. It’s otherwise known as the day that’s sure to be one of the best, most fulfilling days of my life.
From trips to the grocery store in the back of my mom’s van in the early ’00s to late nights in college prepping for exams — that’s how long I’ve loved this guy. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see him live. I’m almost brought to tears in anticipation.
I often find myself occupying my time until his arrival with musings of the potential set list. While I would like for the concert to go on forever, these particular songs are the ones I’m most desperate to hear live:
“I Go Back”
While keeping to the standard country-song themes of Chevy trucks, alcohol and chicken, this sentimental song goes a little deeper. It cleverly weaves between references to other songs that represent different snapshots from Kenny’s life, full of both joy and sorrow. It also showcases his broad vocal abilities with some prolonged power notes. An all-around great pick.
To be completely honest, I just really like singing along to the woo woo-oo-oo’s in the background.
“The Good Stuff”
Like its title suggests, this song is so. Good. Its storyline follows a man who, because of a fight with his significant other, heads to a bar to drink his troubles away. Instead, he finds a bartender who gives him a shot of hard life advice, and the lyrics proceed to flip back and forth between two definitions of “the good stuff.” I could be a little biased, but its closing line could quite possibly qualify as the double entendre of the century: “Look into those eyes so deep in love, and drink it up, ’cause that’s the good stuff.”
“No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems”
This is a great stress-relieving tune, and I’m sure a great one to sing along to at a concert. Its island-esque vibes effortlessly transport listeners to a tropical getaway with sun, sand and drinks in their hands. It’s also especially accessible to a Chula Vista crowd with its specific references to Mexico.
“Beer in Mexico”
As you may have guessed, this song also references Mexico, but even as chill island song 2.0, it is just as vital a concert choice. I find the contradiction in one line of the chorus particularly pleasing and relatable on a profoundly corporal level: “Do my best to waste another day.” Ah, Kenny, you get me.
“El Cerrito Place”
“I’ve been looking for you, baby” — I can’t decide if this song is slightly stalker-ish or just sweet, but I love it either way. Haunting vocals and instrumentals reminiscent of waves crashing on the shore combine to make a sad but high-quality tune. It will be a good one for decompressing between his other high-energy, happy-go-lucky ones.
“She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”
How does anyone not like this song? Its utter ridiculousness is what makes it so entertaining. It’s full of amusing wordplay, such as the tune’s bridge: “If it runs like a Deere, man, her eyes light up.” Who cares about his tractor when this crooner has got such a way with words?
“Anything But Mine”
Of all the songs out there telling stories of summer loves come and gone, this one is my all-time favorite. In addition to imagery vivid enough to make one feel like a third wheel, each line aches with the pangs of leaving a summer-beach town and some girl Mary behind with fall’s arrival. I will be truly upset if he doesn’t perform this.
This song was important to 8-year-old me who unjustifiably thought she was a true vocal talent. Thanks for the confidence boost, Kenny, even though it was under false pretenses: “If you work hard to get where you are, you look good in the hot spotlight.” In the end, I’m just excited to reenact all those hairbrush-bedroom performances.
“You Save Me”
Personally, this is one of Kenny’s most romantic ballads. Its first chords pull me in at every listen. I think I like it so much because it pertains to (at least my idea of) Kenny’s persona — a reckless, wandering cowboy, who in this song only has one person in his life who can save him from himself.
“You and Tequila”
As one of his most popular tracks in recent years — and possibly one of the best he’s ever recorded — I think everyone in attendance at this event will appreciate hearing this. Its slow, easy-on-the-ears beats are arguably soothing to any soul while also capable of leaving one feeling helpless in the grips of love. It won’t be the same without Grace Potter’s beautiful, airy vocals, but it is still sure to be magical. “It’s always your favorite sins that do you in.”
In conclusion, Kenny, if you’re reading this, I hope you take my list into consideration. Also, I love you.