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Dierks Bentley’s Beers On Me Summer Tour

Dierks Bentley’s Beers On Me Summer Tour

featuring special guests, Travis Dennings and Ashley McBryde at iThink Financial Amphitheatre 8/19/22

By Brad Stevens | Photos Tom Craig

A palpable thirst for country music mayhem was in the air, and the crowd was buzzing with anticipation as I approached the iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre at the S. Florida Fairgrounds Friday evening. Country music was blaring from parked cars amidst the sweltering Florida Summer heat. The mixed age crowd of mostly couples and packs of country girls with daisy dukes & cowboy boots were all here to witness one of the biggest country music stars in the nation, Dierks Bentley.

Travis Denning, a native of Warner Robbins, Georgia, and a natural left-handed guitar slinger, hit the stage first, coming in hot, blazing a strong southern rock vibe to a jam-packed pit of his followers as folks were still trickling into the amphitheater. His baby face look was well contrasted by his gruff voice and his sizzling guitar tone, reminiscent of his Allman Brothers influence. Denning is no newcomer. He’s a gifted live performer, signed to UMG Nashville’s Mercury Nashville label, written songs for Jason Aldean, Justin Moore and Michael Ray and had a break-out hit of his own in 2019 with the coming-of-age story “David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs”, which he played tonight along with songs from his early career as well as newer songs like “Buy a Girl a Drink,” off his latest EP, Might As Well Be Me.

On TD’s website (www.travisdenning.com), he’s quoted as saying, “I want people to come away thinking … Who in the hell was that and where can I hear more?” Well, mission accomplished, his set was smoking from beginning to his last song, “After a Few”, his follow up hit that reached number one on the United States Country Airplay chart. This emerging artist is now ready for the spotlight and a long music career.

Full disclosure, I’m not a country music expert, so seeing a DJ in between sets caught me by surprise. Turns out his name is DJ AYDAMN and he’s DJ for Dierks Bentley and voted Nashville’s #1 DJ five times. He kept the mood and party going, playing a bouquet of eclectic song choices. His website (www.aydamn.com) says he has South Florida residencies Thursdays at Sweet Liberty in South Beach and Fridays at American Social in Brickell, Miami … so you might want to check him out.

By the time Ashley McBryde came on, the Amphitheatre was completely filled. Ashley didn’t disappoint, as all her delighted fans sang & danced and were completely engaged with her inviting smile and huge voice. McBryde was often met with cheers and applause as she joked and connected with the audience throughout, telling stories behind some of her songs and even offering heartfelt words of wisdom, motivating the inclusion of youth to be the next to step on stage and play for a living. Her eleven-song set included a fitting cover of Bryan Adams’ “Boys of Summer” that had the crowd singing along and she closed her set with a spirited cover of the magical classic “Midnight Rider” by The Allman Brothers Band.
Dierks Bentley made his way to the stage with an explosion of lights. He came out firing with an abundance of energy, starting the night out with his biggest hit and crowd pleaser from his debut album “What Was I Thinking “, followed by another hit “Burning Man.” The sound was incredible, the lighting and video show were amazing, and the fans were dancing and having the time of their lives.

Mid-set, Dierks brought Ashley back and she stole the show as her angelic voice took center stage over everyone as they did a cover of Charlie Daniel’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Travis Denning returned and the three of them sang “Bad Angel,” which created a beautiful medley of voices that was melodic to the ears. McBryde exited the stage as Denning stayed behind for a duet of “Beers On Me,” helping Bentley toss out beers to the crowd, apropos to the tour’s name, the beer was on Dierks.

Later, he gave the band a breather and pared down the band to just himself, his bassist and his touring buddy, country songwriter Charlie Worsham for acoustic three-song medley of some of his earliest hits, including “Come A Little Closer,” “Settle for a Slowdown” and “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do.”

With such a gigantic catalog of music that is more thoughtful and interesting than most of his contemporaries, the group played a 22-song set and left no album untouched, followed by a four-song encore by Dierks Bentley’s parody band, the long-haired Hot Country Knights, doing an Elvis Presley Cover, “Trouble,” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman“ by Shania Twain.

The sold-out amphitheater left happily, after dancing and singing for hours. This show was a hoot and a memorable evening! A full night of entertainment courtesy of some of the best artists Country Music has to offer.

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