The intimate nature of Thursday night’s Small Stage Series concert at the Key West Theater featuring singer-songwriter Kenny Chesney took on a heightened sense of personal importance for four friends in attendance.
The women, who had won tickets to the event through a promotion by SiriusXM and Pandora Radio, were without a fifth friend who had died three weeks ago from COVID-19.
Originally from Pittsburgh, the women — Pam Hughes, Heather Grantz, Lisa Roemer and Krissy Retetagos — were excited to be attending the exclusive show, but that excitement was tempered by the recent loss of their friend Linda Mock, who passed away on Sept. 9.
Throughout the concert, they talked about how Linda would have loved to be there listening to her favorite artist, and they would often remind each other that she was, indeed, there in spirit.
“She [Linda] was a huge Kenny fan,” Hughes said. “She would take her houseboat in Pittsburgh down to the North Shore before Kenny’s concerts every year.”
Chesney, an eight-time Country Music Association award winner who has been named the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year, performed songs from across his career, including many of his No. 1 hits.
One of those songs, “Knowing You,” brought the women, and those around them, to tears. Holding a memorial card in honor of their friend, the women sang along to Chesney’s lyrics:
“Holdin’ my breath ‘til the moment
When you were gonna leave me too soon
But I’d do it all over
‘Cause damn, it was good knowin’ you”
The four friends then joined hands, lovingly sharing the moment together amid the memories of their missing friend.
“Linda was with us,” Hughes said. “It was so emotional.”
The following day, Hughes reflected on the experience.
“The concert was a chance of a lifetime, to have the ability to participate in a small venue. We felt as if Kenny was singing to us at our personal show.”
The Key West show airs on No Shoes Radio, SiriusXM Channel 57. Chesney kicks off his “Here and Now” 2022 stadium tour in Tampa in April.