There’s very little that Dierks Bentley hasn’t accomplished in his career. With seven Number 1 hits under his belt, he’s a bonafide superstar in the country music scene. He’s performed at countless festivals, alongside incredible artists, each time rising up the ranks to become the must-see performer. Like most artists, he spends the majority of time on the road, honing his craft with the intention of giving his fans a moment of musical escapism. While his music is perfectly well suited for radio play in a world of pop country, he infuses it with a sense of traditional country that many radio hits are lacking, throwing in the fiddle, banjo, and steel guitar at every turn. When the Arizona native stopped at the Greek Theatre as part of his nationwide Riser Tour on July 25th, 2014, it was exactly what these SoCal country fans needed. Along with opening acts Jon Pardi, Chase Rice, and Chris Young; he brought with him an electric energy that fanned out through the sold out theatre in waves.
Just as a heatwave was striking the City of Angels, the wheels of the Riser Tour buses were pulling into the parking lot at the Greek, sitting alongside the rows and rows of country music fans that had come for their own little parking lot party in celebration of a night full of great music. Bentley makes no secret of the fact that, just as he writes and picks songs based on his own personal life, he also wants his music to inspire positivity and good vibes. From the moment he stepped onto the stage in a cloud of smoke, the good time feel of the show was abundantly clear. He launched into hit single “5-1-5-0” to a raging and energetic crowd that chanted the rhythmic words of the chorus right back at him. The rest of the night followed suit, as he dived into his hit singles, showcasing a backlog of music that you almost forgot he had because Riser was just the kind of album that you couldn’t take off repeat for months. With “Free and Easy” segueing into the new party anthem of worldwide travelers everywhere, “Drunk On A Plane,” it became clear the party was going to continue until the last note. Pulling up some exceptionally dressed flight attendants, as well as two actors that were featured in the music video, the party in the crowd was reflected back on stage as they danced around with wild abandon.
Even with the plethora of party songs, Bentley allowed some of this more emotional music to speak for itself, going through tracks like “Home,” “I Hold On,” and “Bourbon in Kentucky” with a seasoned ability to pepper his emotions throughout a crowd of thousands. It was on songs like this that we got a little insight into what had inspired the track itself, Bentley telling the crowd about how he’d driven with his father to Nashville to launch his career, clinging to the same old guitar that had guided him through the beginning when speaking of “I Hold On.” It’s moments like this that make music a truly magical experience for many, seeing a behind the scenes look at what it means to the artist, and understanding at the same time what it means to you. Each time you lost yourself in a sea of hurt and confusion, he expertly brought you back to the reason you came to the show, to have a good time. Launching in to “Am I The Only One” while bringing up a man with a stuffed pony from the audience to shot gun a beer with him, once again proving to the crowd at large that he was having just as good of a time as they were.
The night continued with larger than life energy as Bentley moved through hit song after hit song, never missing a beat or losing the attention of his audience as he did “What Was I Thinking” and a cover of “Living On A Prayer” that the audience took over. His ability to initiate a connection with his audience, whether it’s through high fives or running out into their arms without a care in the world, is what takes his energy to the next level. It doesn’t stop at the fact that he can command a stage, he takes it that step further, involving himself in the experience that his fans are having on the ground level. While leaving the Greek that night all I heard were rave reviews, from the drunk to the sober, people were blown away but the ripples of intensity they felt radiating off of Dierks Bentley. I’ve seen a lot of shows, and I have to say, there are very few performers that can bring every aspect of themselves to the stage. Dierks Bentley does that. He is a present, emotional, and endearing performer that doesn’t miss a beat musically when he steps out into the spotlight.
Video of Dierks Bentley and a fan shotgunning a beer!
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