Kenny Chesney premieres his 'Summer in 3-D' movie in Las Vegas: EW is on the scene!

kenny-chesneyImage Credit: Whitney Pastorek/EW.comIt’s the eve of the Academy of Country Music Awards, and Nashville has blanketed Vegas with its twang: Gary Allan played poolside at the Mandalay Bay; Sugarland did a Dr. Pepper-sponsored show at the MGM; Miranda Lambert rocked Fremont Street. But the night’s most anticipated event was the premiere of Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3-D, the concert film shot as Kenny blew up America’s biggest football stadiums last year, opening nationwide April 21.

Celeb friends like Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, and Dierks Bentley were on hand — as well as Chesney’s fun-loving crew and touring band — and the audience packed two theaters at a local multiplex. Kenny appeared in both to personally introduce the screenings. “Everybody in these two theaters has been a part of our life,” he said. “This film documents our life, and thank you for being a part of it. I’m glad we documented something that shows the relationship with the fans, and I’m really proud of it.”

At heart, Summer in 3-D is an offering from the leader of a nation to his fans in exchange for a summer off. “It was a long, hot summer, and it couldn’t have happened without you,” says the film’s opening title card, before the screen explodes into a country-fried take on the same technology used to such eye-popping effect in 2008’s U2 3D. Summer features swooping wide shots of the giant venues intercut with closeups that allow for a guitar-pick’s-eye view of shows in Seattle, Pittsburgh, Philly, Boston, and Indianapolis, five nights swirled together into a greatest-hits set list including “Beer in Mexico,” “Anything But Mine,” “Young,” and “Out Last Night.”

In between blocks of songs come photo montages overscored with dreamy voiceovers in which Chesney talks about music, fans, and his love of the islands; we see him as everything from a kid in a football uniform to a megastar who hangs out with Springsteen. Two moments stand out as truly special: footage of an infamous show in Dallas last spring where rain is pouring down so hard it looks fake; and the closing performance of “Better as a Memory” from the final show in Indy, where Kenny’s tears are pouring down so hard he can’t sing and the crowd has to carry most of the song. Chesney told EW his favorite moment in the movie is “the very first chorus of ‘Summertime,’ when the stadium lights up and you see everybody in sync, just because I think it shows the energy and the passion of the fans. That’s my favorite part of the show every night. That gets me incredibly fired up.”

Director Joe Thomas (who’s helmed live projects for Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, and Dave Matthews) said he set out to emulate some aspects of his favorite concert film, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz. “The raw nature of how it was shot and the fact that it was shot from the band’s perspective is really what we were gunning for,” he said. “When Martin did that film, it didn’t matter if there were a few camera people in the way. It was organic, and it was exactly how it happened. There’s [camera] cranes in here. It makes it kinda cool.”

Now that he’s captured the stadium experience on film, is Chesney worried he’s made his concerts unnecessary? Nope. “There’s nothing like live music,” he told EW. “That’s the one thing that will never go out of style.” So what makes Summer in 3-D worth your entertainment dollar, especially if you saw the tour in person? “The extra D,” cracked trumpet player Steve Herman.

What do you think, Mixers? Who’s psyched for Chesney on the big screen? And — more importantly — do you plan to tailgate beforehand?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Saturday ACM Rehearsal Not-Quite-Live Blog: Kenny Chesney, Darius Rucker, Sugarland, Tim & Faith & Brooks & Dunn
Friday ACM Rehearsal Not-Quite-Live Blog: Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Reba
Lady Antebellum’s advice to ‘American Idol’ castoff Katie Stevens: ‘Keep going!’
Academy of Country Music Awards: We’re live-blogging it!
Thursday ACM Rehearsal Not-Quite-Live Blog: Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Jack Ingram, and Laura Bell Bundy
Broadway star Laura Bell Bundy kicks off her ‘crazy’ country career: A Music Mix Q&A

Comments (7 total) Add your comment
  • MissClarity

    This guy says he’s not married because it doesn’t fit into his neatly kept box. Well, I say he should come out of his box into his closet – there’s more room there.

  • Lynette

    Great review!! There is one mistake that needs to be corrected, though. Where you list song titles you put “Cleveland” and the song is actually called “Anything But Mine”

    • Whitney Pastorek

      thanks, Lynette! fixing now.

  • Blumkin_Lvr

    I’m not sure about everyone else, but I plan to tailgate before the movie. I can’t wait for parents taking their kids to see some Pixar movie having to explain to their little ones why some dude in a sleeveless t-shirt and cowboy hat is drinking beers from a funnel, blasting Chesney music from his hatchback, and the reason behind his decision to dump 2 big bags of sand he bought from Home Depot onto the asphault. Here’s to keeping a light schedule for the morning of April 22nd.

    • Jennarae1122

      blumkin- my friend and i thought we were the onlyyyy ones that were full out tailgating kenny style with our margaritas and hawaiian leis! were actually traveling to lousiana from philadelphia to see him on memorial day weekend so this is our pre-tailgate! glad to see were not alone on keeping the kenny concert tradition ! cheers!

  • Renee Ingram

    Kenny is the true entertainer of the year!! I haven’t seen “Carrie” still perform in the middle of a thunderstorm!!! Rock on Kenny !!! We Love Ya here in Arkansas !!!

  • Leslie

    should win an oscar…loved every minute and you can tell he loves what he does! The only way to see a concert…just loved it!

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