Kenny Chesney is coming back — to Williams-Brice Stadium.
On May 4, the country superstar will perform at the stadium, and Chesney is bringing rising stars in Zac Brown Band and Eli Young Band to open. Kacey Musgraves, a former contestant on “Nashville Star” who has toured with Lady Antebellum, will also open.
The more than 40,000 people who saw Chesney perform at the stadium in April 2008 remember how that show ended — or began, rather. As Chesney’s band played “Live Those Songs,” Chesney, who emerged from beneath the stage on a lift, squatted on the elevated platform in apparent agony. It was the first song of his set.
During a showy entrance at the kick-off concert of that year’s stadium tour, Chesney’s boot got caught between the platform and the stage, crushing his right foot.
“I thought it was very important to come back to Columbia, South Carolina, and to the University of South Carolina’s football stadium and give them a real show,” Chesney said in a recorded message released Thursday morning. “The last time I played there was the night that I broke my foot on the very first song. Everybody was out there having a blast and everybody stayed with me all night, but I felt really bad that I got hurt on the first song.”
This time around, Chesney, who finished the concert, isn’t going to have an elevator on the No Shoes Nation Tour’s stage.
“I’m going to come out and try to put on the best show I possibly can, because I think all the fans there deserve it from the last time,” Chesney said. “So that’s the reason we’re coming back to Columbia.”
The Colonial Life Arena, which is putting on the stadium show, is celebrating its 10th year of operation. It’s like Chesney, who performed at the arena six times in six years through 2008, has a second home in Columbia. He last performed at the arena in May 2011.
Lexie Boone, the arena’s general manager, said concert talks heated up about a month ago, and it wasn’t until last week that details were in place. Boone had been in contact with Chesney’s promoters, The Messina Group, about bringing Chesney back. Louis Messina, the group’s founder, thought another concert would be a good idea and would check with Chesney.
“ ‘Kenny wants to play the stadium,’ ” Boone recalled Messina telling him.
To Boone, Messina added: “ ‘I brought it up and (Chesney) said, ‘Why don’t we go back to the stadium?’ ”
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Dec. 7. The show is the same date as the Rosewood Crawfish Festival.
Chesney isn’t the only big name with a concert scheduled for Columbia. Though the arena has yet to confirm the dates publicly, Carrie Underwood has an April 17 concert at the Colonial Life Arena listed on her website’s tour calendar. And on Taylor Swift’s website, there’s a March 23 date for Columbia.
Tickets prices for Chesney’s show will be released before Dec. 7. Tickets can be purchased at the arena box office; online at www.lmctix.com; or by calling (855) 456-2849.
Reach Taylor (803) 771-8362.