Home Music Music Country Lists

Kenny Chesney Kicks Off the Big Revival Tour: See Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Grace Potter, Joe Walsh and Taylor Swift are surprise guests on the first night of the massive country trek

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney has had a picture of Thursday, March 26th in his mind for a long time now. That day marked not only his 47th birthday, but also the start of a cross-country party that will bring songs on his The Big Revival album, along with two decades of hit after chart-topping hit, to life.

"Once the album was done, I started thinking about the stage, the set list – 'cause this new music really got me inspired – and how we could make it mean even more," Chesney said a week before opening night of the Big Revival Tour in Nashville. "And you know, I can't stand being away from the fans! They fire me up."

Fired up and sold out. The Nashville show was a packed house — with tickets selling so fast that the country superstar decided to add a second night in his adopted hometown. For opening night, he surprised the audience with three special guests: his "You and Tequila" and "Wild Child" duet partner, Grace Potter, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joe Walsh and country-gone-pop megastar, Taylor Swift. The friends spent Chesney's birthday rehearsing for the show — and sharing a lot of laughs. Go behind the scenes with them in this exclusive Rolling Stone Country photo gallery shot just before the Nashville show.

Chesney's first tour in two years, which hits a mix of stadiums and arenas, sold more than a million tickets a week before it even began. See all dates and get tickets to the Big Revival Tour here.

All photos are by Allister Ann and are courtesy of Kenny Chesney. Captions provided by Chesney and his team.

Grace Potter Kenny Chesney

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

A surprise for surprise guest Grace Potter: five-inch stiletto-heeled, rhinestone-encrusted, peep-toe boots. "Just what every girl needs," jokes her frequent duet partner.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Tunnel to the Big Revival

Chesney and Potter make their way to the stage through a tunnel of memories. Each year, the songwriter from East Tennessee makes backdrops of his pictures to remember all the moments — from the White House to the World Series, bar shows, NFL stadiums and good friends — along the way. Among the guests to prior tours on the wall: U2’s Adam Clayton, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Van Halen, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, New Orleans Saint Drew Brees, Dave Matthews, Uncle Kracker, Kid Rock and Reese Witherspoon.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

First Chord of the Last Rehearsal

Alone in the middle of the stage, Chesney plugs in and listens to that first downstroke fill up Nashville's empty Bridgestone Arena. The home of the Predators Hockey team will be filled to capacity on each of the first two nights of his first tour in almost two years.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

What Do You Wanna Play?

Longtime friend Joe Walsh was among the kick off's surprise guests. The pair discuss which of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's songs to work up. "All of them?" Walsh laughed when several titles were mentioned. "That’s a lot."

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Alone in the Arena

Between run-throughs with guests, Chesney plays enough guitar to tweak the groundbreaking sound system. Imported from Australia, it was selected for its ability to project a lot of decibels without losing the quality of the sound.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

“Rocky Mountain Way”

Walsh runs through the iconic rock anthem, as Chesney takes it in. Later in the rehearsal, Chesney will trade verses on some of Walsh's best loved songs.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Schoolin’

Moments later, the pair trade licks – as Walsh does what he does best: bend, burn and melt the melody to his will.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Twin Ramps

Chesney and Walsh stand alone on the strut to gauge how everything sounds during a run through of "All Night Long," as the band plays behind them.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Playin’ Around

Chesney and Potter strike a playful note in a break during rehearsals. The hippie rocker had come down front to watch Chesney and band work up Walsh’s "Funk #49."

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

The Big Laugher

The eight-time Entertainer of the Year cracks up Potter during a "remember-how-it-goes?" run-through of their Grammy-nominated "You & Tequila."

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Genres Collide

Grace Potter talks guitar with Walsh, whose "Rocky Mountain Way" is considered a signature slide performance. Though each comes at music from a singular place, all three share common ground in how hard they play.

Grace Potter, Joe Walsh, Kenny Chesney

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Grip ‘N Grin

Some moments need to be captured — even when you're a rock icon. Joe Walsh poses with Potter and Chesney before taking his leave of the rehearsal.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Gives As Good As She Gets

Though known for her powerful B-3 playing, Potter is as adept on acoustic guitar as the man who just had his 26th Number One song. Channeling her inner Stevie Nicks, with tinted aviator glasses and cool girl style, she sweetens the sound during the final rehearsal for the Big Revival's first night.

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

Metal Country

Grace Potter flashes her classic rock horns, while getting embraced by Chesney. "She's just soooo good — as a singer, a player and a songwriter. Any time I get to sing with her, it's a good day."

Kenny Chesney tour photos

Allister Ann/Courtesy of Kenny Chesney

All That’s Left Is… the Big Revival

After three months, many days of rehearsals, video shoots and edits, lighting tweaks and sound calibrations, the last note before it all starts has faded away. The only country artist on Billboard's Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years has given it everything he's got – and now it's time to go home.

In This Article: Kenny Chesney

Show Comments