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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Kenny Chesney proves as exciting as the Maytag man

Universal Ampitheatre, Universal City, Cal., Feb. 25, 2001

By Dan MacIntosh

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - On the afternoon Kenny Chesney played the "Maytag's free family concert for conservation," it felt like it rained enough to fill a billion washing machines. And like the storm outside, viewing Chesney's performance was about as consistently dull as watching rain fall, about nearly as exciting as witnessing the dim-witted Maytag Man (who was also in attendance) hard at work.

His show was a reminder of all that is wrong with much of today's modern country music. With his black hat fitted just right and his black t-shirt and jeans, Chesney came off as all style, with little in the way of substance or individuality.

It didn't matter if he was singing upbeat love songs, such as "She's Got It All," or one of his many sappy ballads, like "You Had Me From Hello," Chesney could have just as easily been one of Disney's animatronic figures for all we knew.

While Chesney lacks a distinctive voice or stage presence, he still had these dripping-wet fans splashing in their seats. They were, of course, drawn to his physical sex appeal. It's highly doubtful his tractor had anything at all to do with this kind of attraction.

Of more considerable worth was Sara Evans' short preceding set. Even though many of her songs (such as "Let's Dance" and "I Could Not Ask for More") were a little on the generic side, Evans commanding voice and easygoing stage appeal helped to sell her material. When she got to a few solid songs - especially "Saints And Angels" and the big hit "Born To Fly" - her performance became fully airborne and soared.

The same could not be said for opener Jennifer Day, though. In addition to flubbing the words to The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," the pixie-like singer's attention appeared to be somewhere other than the show at hand. With her pop-influenced songs, Day would have been much better suited at a Nickelodeon pre-teen fest, instead.