"It's a very bittersweet moment to watch a tour come to an end," Chesney says
Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw wrapped their "Brothers of the Sun" stadium tour Saturday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., with 111,209 tickets sold for the weekend shows -- which Dan Murphy, Gillette Stadium's Vice President of External Affairs, called "a record for the biggest country music event in New England history."
Two weeks ago, Chesney (who has played Gillette Stadium nine times in the past seven years) and McGraw hosted the biggest-ticketed country show in the New York metropolitan area history at a sold-out MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
Final numbers were being tabulated at press time, but the tour grossed about $100 million at the box office and drew more than 1 million fans, according to Billboard Boxscore and the latest promoter reports, making "Brothers" Chesney's eighth consecutive tour to top the 1 million attendance mark. McGraw added serious star power to the tour, which also included Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Jake Owen on the bill for 23 stadium dates, the most stadiums played by any act in North America this year.
"This year's tour was very unique, and every stadium, city, and crowd had its own energy that was special," Chesney told Billboard as the tour came to a close. "It was inspiring, really, to see how much music means to people, and how much their favorite songs mean to them. It's why I love what I do. This years tour was all that. And more. It's a very bittersweet moment to watch a tour come to an end, but there are so many memories and great nights from this tour that will carry us to next summer and I'm happy and proud of that."
McGraw added, "It's been a killer summer at these stadiums…the crowds have been unbelievable. I feel like we're really firing on all cylinders when it comes to our show, and it's been great for the launch of [current McGraw single] 'Truck Yeah.' It's also been really cool to see the impact we've made through our HomeFront program, and meeting these veterans in each city has been a highlight of the summer."
"Not bad for a little country and western show," says tour promoter Louis Messina, tongue firmly in cheek, who has worked with Chesney since the latter was a developing artist. "One day Kenny could make a living doing this and play bigger venues."
Chesney has captured seven Top Package Awards at the Billboard Touring Conference, including last year for his "Goin' Coastal" tour, when Messina vowed to "be back next year." "Brothers" was announced the next day.
McGraw and his wife Faith Hill will begin a 40-show run of their Soul2Soul in Las Vegas on Dec. 7 at the Venetian, with the shows spread out over five months, five years after their hugely successful second Soul2Soul tour.