Kenny Chesney reflects on performing with Eddie Van Halen: 'It was so alive'

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For Kenny Chesney, performing with the late, great Eddie Van Halen was a dream come true.

The country music star, 52, reflected on the once-in-a-lifetime experience in a recent interview with People magazine. Chesney said he felt "so alive" in the moment. 

"It was one of those moments that every kid who dreams about rock music dreams of," he described. "It was so alive, so in the moment, and both Van Halen brothers [Eddie and Alex] played like it was their show, their fans."

Chesney said first heard Eddie Van Halen's music one day after football practice. His friend, David Farmer, was playing it in his garage

"You never forget the first time you heard it and it sets a bar for life," Chesney said.

During the Chesney concert in 2006, Eddie Van Halen and his brother Alex Van Halen, 67, performed "Jump" and "You Really Got Me."

"They just brought it and every single person on stage was losing their mind. The audience loved it and so did Eddie and [his older brother] Alex … They were so generous with their time," he added. 

Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen performing in 1984. 
(Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

Eddie Van Halen died on October 6 at 65 years old after battling throat cancer. 

Chesney recalled how the band's manager Irving Azoff told the singer Eddie Van Halen would be calling him. 

"I answered and he sounds just like you'd think but then he falls into talking to you about music, life, road life and all these things," he said. "It's like you've always been friends and he knows your life and he understands."


When Chesney learned of Eddie's death, he posted a moving tribute on social media.


"I am devastated at the news of the passing of my friend @eddievanhalen," Chesney wrote on Instagram. "He was a friend and a hero to anyone who has ever picked up a guitar and had a dream."

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