April 20, 2010
Posted: 04:53 AM ET
You are right there, rocking out with Kenny Chesney.
You are so in the thick of the action, you can reach out and touch him.
You swear you can see beads of his perspiration, yet also make out the facial expressions of people in the nose bleed section.
That's how it feels, watching "Kenney Chesney: Summer in 3D" the new concert movie.
Now in my case, and a theatre full of people attending the premiere in Vegas, we really could reach out to him because he was watching it with us! I never thought about it until then. But can you imagine the pressure the star of the movie feels at the premiere, watching with industry folks, celebs, and family? In this case you had Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jewel, Dierks Bentley and others slouched in their movie theatre seats, wearing wayfarer-styled 3D glasses. Will their reaction be what you want it to be? Will they clap in all the right places? Will they laugh if you want them too? If someone gets up and walks out, were they bored or did they just have to use the restroom?
I should preface the rest of this blurb by saying this isn't a traditional review, because Kenny is a pal who personally invited me to the event. I told him I would attend as a friend and not as a working media member.
The concert footage opens with Chesney in a whatchamacallit-chair-thingy-doodle, suspended high over the audience. (At this moment in the premiere I think of Kenny’s mother, who chatted with me on the way to my seat, and with whom I've banged pots and pans on stage for the finale of a Kenny concert. I wonder how she felt about him being perched so high at the mercy of what appears to be just a few cables holding his weight! Before the movie she tells me she has already seen the film and could "watch it every week!" So sweet.)
The spectacular-looking 3D film was shot over a number of dates in select cities on recent tour. In between musical hit after hit delivered from the concert stages, you also get Chesney's thoughts about his career climb and his personal relationship with his fans.
I know I'm supposed to go gaga over the video component. It is realistic, like moments someone’s hand goes up in front of you and you catch yourself dodging and ducking to get a better view, only to realize... 'Hey, that was up on the movie screen!' And true, you can tell this was shot with the intention of being 3D and
But I'll tell you what I told Kenny after the premiere: what blew me away was the sound! It’s like the audio was in 3D too (which I guess technically means it's surround sound). But you could hear the character in his voice. You could hear the blare of each horn (I rode to the after-party with the fellas in the horn section. They were so tickled to be in a movie, but so afraid once it started rolling what they would look like on camera. Cute). You are enveloped by what sounds like concert goers clapping from behind you and someone hooting and hollering from in front of you.
The sound was delicious. So much so I asked Kenny if that audio truly was from his concerts or if his voice had been dubbed in later. In fact he said... this was truly his voice from the concerts, albeit with slight tuning here and there. Impressive!
Maybe it’s because I've seen his videos in high rotation on the country music channels. Maybe it's because he's a pal. But besides a few vintage KC photos I hadn't seen before... there wasn't a whole lot new I learned about Kenny through this movie.
With one exception.
I don't want to ruin for you. So let's just say it ends on an emotional note showing a moment on stage that surprised even Chesney when it happened.
I know his fans who make it a tradition to attend his concert every summer are bummed he's taking this summer off. But take comfort, KC fans: this movie may serve as the nicotine patch for your Kenny concert withdrawal this year. It’s showing in limited release April 21st through May 2nd.
*find a theater near you showing "Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D" by going to kennychesneymovie.com
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