ARLINGTON -- The tour at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday night was called Brothers of the Sun, and the two headlining bros were country superstars Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, the latter of whom had the final slot.
Chesney made his stage entrance just as he did at Cowboys Stadium last year -- popping from a booth in the center of a floor and then taking a crisscrossing chairlift to the stage during the opening song, Beer in Mexico. Chesney, who doesn't have much vocal range and sings generically likable songs, seemed to lack stage charisma after McGraw's performance. But the fans loved Chesney.
You have to wonder what would happen if McGraw were the closing act. When it comes to stage presence, he laps Chesney multiple times.
McGraw's twangy vocals, more soulful than most of his country contemporaries, were in top form as he went through the catalog of hits (the man has almost as many hit compilations as original albums), including Just to See You Smile and Something Like That, to the audience favorite, Live Like You Were Dying.
Both men could use more surprise in their sets, but when you've got the string of hits that they do, why not crank 'em out for the people who made them hits?
The first opener, Jake Owen, got the early comers going at 4:30 p.m. with a hot-shot set that included his hit Barefoot Blue Jean Night and a cover of Alabama's Mountain Music.
Much better was the second act, Vermont-based rock outfit Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. She seemed a little odd in this mix, but Potter's bluesy voice was most welcome as the band did Paris (Ooh La La) and a lovely new song, Stars, and roused the crowd with some ZZ Top and Deborah Harry-esque movement. (Potter also is the female voice on Chesney's song You and Tequila.)
After the openers and McGraw's set, if anybody still had the energy to make it through Chesney's set, more power to 'em.