Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D

Escaping with Chesney in ‘3D’

By Jonathan Perry
Globe Correspondent / April 22, 2010

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The numbers — 35 million records sold; 19 number-one hits; more than one million tickets sold in each of the last eight summers — are as staggeringly impressive, as remarkable, as the man behind them is not.

But is it any wonder that country music superstar Kenny Chesney sings as many endless songs about endless summers with such great good humor? A rhyme like “tank tops and flip flops’’ — as part of a line in Chesney’s “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems’’ goes — sells, and sells big. Just ask Jimmy Buffett, who’s mined a similar, stadium-sized fantasy of escapist paradise to highly lucrative effect for more than 30 years.

As we see in “Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D,’’ the latest entry into the three-dimensional theater spectacle and essentially a souped-up concert film of the singer’s 2009 “Sun City Carnival’’ tour, that formula is alive and well.

“The whole world has problems,’’ Chesney says to a Gillette Stadium crowd in Foxborough (which, as one of six venues in the film, is generously represented by concert footage). “But lucky for us, in New England here tonight, we don’t have to solve a single one of ’em.’’

Hedonism certainly has its place, its perks, and its limitations, and Chesney has those in equal measure, too. He’s a sturdy singer-sometimes songwriter with a pleasantly burnished, yet unremarkable baritone who works the stage catwalk (and his upper arms, apparently) hard for the money, mugging, glad-handing fans, and accepting their gifts of personalized license plates. Most important, he’s got a pickup truck full of breezy bar-band sing-alongs about kicking back (“Beer in Mexico’’), the unexpected joys of parenthood (“There Goes My Life’’), and the power of dreams (“Ain’t Back Yet’’).

In occasional vignettes voiced over home movies and old photos, Chesney talks with humble conviction of reaching people in the cheap seats. The brief biographical breaks help humanize what ultimately comes across as a fairly rote, even remote concert experience, despite all of the flashy cuts, a vibrant sound mix, and plethora of camera angles designed to wow us with wonder. All of which is odd, considering how much technology was put into bringing Chesney’s fans up close and personal — in 3D, no less.

KENNY CHESNEY: Summer in 3D Directed by: Joe Thomas

Starring: Kenny Chesney

At: Fenway, Boston Common, suburbs

Running time: 99 minutes


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