Big-time concert promoter Louis Messina looked around BBVA Compass Stadium and said he liked what he sees. "This venue is going to be good for five concerts a year," he said. "It's bigger than the Arena and The Woodlands and not as big as Reliant or the baseball park across the street. It's the perfect size. It's very intimate."
"He's used to playing football stadiums. This is like a club show for him because it is so intimate," said Messina.
Messina, a legendary promoter who, with Alan Becker, built Houston-based Pace Concerts into the world's most powerful concert promotion company, was back in the Bayou City on Wednesday to announce a major concert at the downtown stadium that is home to the Houston Dynamo and Dash. Country superstar Kenny Chesney will headline The Big Revival Tour on May 22, 2015.
"He's so excited about this because he's used to playing major football stadiums. The fact that he's playing this is like a club show for him because it is so intimate," said Messina.
For concerts, the stadium will seat around 24,000, Messina said.
It is the first time Chesney will perform in Houston since a rodeo appearance in 2013. "Even though we haven't gotten to Christmas yet, I look at today as the first day of summer because Kenny is summertime. Kenny is fun. Coming to a Kenny Chesney show is coming to an event. It's not just a concert," Messina said.
Also on the bill are Jake Owen, who has become a RodeoHouston favorite, and Chase Rice, a former University of North Carolina linebacker who debuted on the Billboard Country Album chart at No. 1 with his album Ignite the Night.
Tickets start at $37.50 and will be available Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. online at www.bbvacompassstadium.com, www.axs.com or by phone at 888-929-7849. Tickets will also be available at the BBVA Compass Stadium ticket office, open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Messina, who now lives in Austin, says he doesn't get back to Houston unless he's promoting a concert. "I miss Houston so much. I can't wait to go to The Galleria after this and to see my friends after this," he said.
After Pace was sold to SFX in 1997 and was acquired by Clear Channel Communications in 2001, Messina left to start TMG (The Messina Group) and entered into a joint venture with AEG Live. (AEG owns the Dynamo and the stadium.) With his new company, Messina plans concert tours for only a handful of blue-chip singers, including Chesney, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Eric Church, Ed Sherran, who just sold out three concerts at gigantic Wembley Stadium in London, and Owen.
"Houston presently is not on the schedule, but I'm desperately trying to fit in a date. Taylor loves playing Houston."
Swift's new concert tour does not include a Houston stop and Messina shot down rumors that she might appear at RodeoHouston next spring.
"Houston presently is not on the schedule, but I'm desperately trying to fit in a date. Taylor loves playing Houston and it just didn't route and availabilities just didn't match up," Messina said.
Messina said he chose BBVA Compass stadium over Reliant for the Chesney concert because "this is a perfect size for Kenny in Houston. Unless your name starts with George and ends with Strait, it's hard to fill that stadium. I though this was perfect (because) they haven't had a major concert here. I'm partners with AEG and they are involved with the stadium, so why not do shows here?
"This is going to be the first of many concerts at this stadium because it's spectacular. Beyond a soccer stadium, it's a great outdoor venue."