A stadium full of screaming fans helped Kenny Chesney launch his Spread the Love tour at the first Music and Miracles Superfest.
There couldn't have been "a better place, a better day, a better night" to start the tour, Chesney said.
"I want you guys to listen to me," Chesney said to the crowd of more than 50,000 people. "I want you to let me take you by the hand and I want you to let me take you where I know in my heart that I want to take all of you."
Proceeds from the show will go toward advancing the fights against cancer and food insecurity.
The concert was the brainchild of Chicken Salad Chick co-founder Kevin Brown. He came up with idea after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013.
“It was at that point that a voice spoke to me and said, ‘This is your opportunity for much greater things,’” he wrote after his diagnosis. “‘Use this in ways that will impact those around you.’”
Brown died in November.
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"If he were here, he'd be working," said Chicken Salad Chick Foundation Director Barclay Smith. "He was a hardworking, determined individual. But as soon as the music started, he would be having a party. I can just see the smile on his face."
The crowd went wild when Chesney opened the show with one of his biggest hits, "Beer in Mexico," and didn't cool down until he finished his set nearly two hours later.
Old Dominion, Sam Hunt and Miranda Lambert preceded Chesney. Lighters and cell phones filled the air as Lambert sang "The House that Built Me" — one of the concert's few solemn moments.
Chesney will perform at 16 more stadiums during his tour.
"From the sound of things and from the looks of things, we certainly hope to bottle you guys up and take you with us all the way to the last show," Chesney said.
Photos by Dakota Sumpter | Photo Editor
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