The summer concert season is off to a hot start in Ohio after Dierks Bentley’s Sounds of Summer Tour stopped by Blossom Music Center. A packed house was able to experience an amazing night of music by several of country’s freshest faces.
The night kicked off with Canaan Smith, whose set was rather short. Playing only five songs, he managed to connect with the crowd fairly quickly. He covered Nick Jonas’ “Jealous” and made every girl go crazy. Smith’s performance resonates better when he sheds his guitar, giving him the freedom to truly own the stage and interact with the crowd. He traded his guitar for some drumsticks before closing his set with the well-known “Love You Like That.” Prior to exiting the stage, he left a lasting impression with the Cleveland crowd by trading his shirt for a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey.
This tour would not be complete without some girl power, and Maddie and Tae supplied just that. They are firecrackers on stage just waiting to explode. As is typical for a country concert, the crowd was dominated by females, and these two connect on a level you’d not expect for someone their age. Their cover of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” would make Parton proud. These girls worked the stage like seasoned pros, and closed their set with the anti-bro country anthem “Girl In a Country Song.” It’s refreshing to see such a dynamic female duo in country music, and they’re paving the way for a long, successful career ahead of them.
Kip Moore was the last man standing before Bentley took the stage. Moore utilizes his time wisely, and is able to deliver a 10-song set-list in the time allotted. He knows just what to do to get the best reaction from his fans. Just like Smith, Moore was supporting the hometown team with an Ohio shirt that read “home of the king.” He serenaded several fans, and even pulled some closer to him. At one point he took off running through the crowd, making it to the lawn, all the while greeting and hugging fans along the way.
He performed all the hits including; “Beer Money,” “Somethin’ Bout A Truck,” and “I’m To Blame.” A special moment occurred during his performance of “Hey Pretty Girl.” A young man in the audience held up a ring to get Kip’s attention, and Kip responded by stopping the band while the man proceeded to ask his girl to marry him. After she said yes, the audience erupted in applause. In all Moore gave a memorable performance, and was generous enough to stay after and sign autographs for every fan who wanted one.
Finally, it was time for the man we had all been waiting for. The one who was recently named “Country’s Hottest Guy” by People magazine… Dierks Bentley. He took the stage in a full on sprint, which was a perfect start to the high caliber set that was coming our way. Opening with “Sideways,” his through the roof’ energy level remained constant throughout the entire show.
Bentley managed to fit more crowd participation into his set than any artist I have seen. He chose a fan to come on stage and shotgun a beer with him; to which Bentley beat him by a longshot. After a missed cue for Kip Moore to come on stage and join Dierks for a song, Bentley turned to the crowd, pulling a girl onstage and asking her to accompany him. She sang one word and stage fright kicked in. Instead of finishing the song alone, Bentley pulled up yet another member from the crowd and the two jokingly exchanged verses.
The most powerful moments of the show occurred during “I Hold On” and “Riser.” On “Riser,” Bentley rose above the crowd on a platform and delivered the vocals with raw emotion. His high-energy set is made complete by his display of vulnerability during these songs.
A portion of the show is spent on what Bentley calls his back porch. This is where he walks through the crowd to a second stage to get up close and personal with fans further back. He performs four songs on his back porch then returns to the main stage for the duration of the show.
In the front row you always hope that you might get the chance to graze hands with the artist or that they will “Come a Little Closer” to you. Well, Bentley did just that, and in a big way. He looked down at us, asked if we were ready, and then took a plunge into the crowd. Yes, he crowd surfed. Apparently the polar plunge isn’t the only plunge he plans on taking. It was an incredible moment, and while in the crowd, he didn’t even miss a note. Bentley has said that his show is “really audience interactive” and he wasn’t kidding!
His show ends with the ever so fun “Drunk On A Plane” and some fireworks. Every aspect of this show is incredible. It’s a must see summer tour that is worth every penny. Dierks Bentley is an entertainer that I will be sure to see every chance I get.