‘Every Mile a Memory’ for fans at the Dierks Bentley show

Bentley invited a fan onstage for a beer drinking contest. Photo by Ron Short.

Bentley invited a fan onstage for a beer drinking contest. Photo by Ron Short.

Dierks Bently took First Niagara Pavilion by storm last Saturday night. All the artists were on fire and fans were treated to an evening of many lasting, fun memories.

Headliner Bentley wasn’t afraid to “Come a Little Closer” during his performance. He spent a lot of time on the walk out stage high-fiving fans and shaking hands. During one of the first few songs, he even pulled a fan on stage for a short beer drinking race. Before long, he was crowd surfing from the walk out where fans got up close and personal with Bentley before hoisting him back on to the stage. Throughout the evening, he acknowledged fans, smiled, shook hands and even commented on their handmade signs. A true entertainer, he connected with everyone in the venue.

Bentley sang many of his hit songs including “What Was I Thinkin’,” “Sideways,” “Riser,” and many more, the show quickly becoming one big sing-along with a riveted crowd who knew every word of every song. He wasn’t afraid to get out amongst the fans, either. An additional stage was set up on the second level of seating where he performed a few songs. As he walked up to the extra stage, he hugged fans and posed for a few “selfies.”

Photo by Ron Short.

Photo by Ron Short.

During his final number – “Drunk on a Plane” – Bentley pulled a young fan on stage who was waving a Terrible Towel. Whether he was in shock or he simply didn’t want the moment to end, the young fan stared at Bentley, stunned and immobile. Bentley passed around the towel to all the band members to wave before handing it back to the young fan and letting him take final bows with the band. What a great memory!

If you like wild country men who really know how to get a party started then Bentley’s opener, Kip Moore is your guy. With one album under his belt and another due out in August, Moore is making a name for himself with fans for his popular songs such as “Somethin’ Bout a Truck” and “Beer Money.” His 2012 debut album, “Up All Night” was the best-selling debut album by a male in 2012 and 2013.

Dierks Bentley. Photo by Ron Short.

Dierks Bentley. Photo by Ron Short.

A real entertainer, Moore is comfortable on stage and ready to party. A little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, he isn’t afraid to high five fans on the walk out or even jump into the crowd for a run around the room. We see so many artists afraid to get near their fansbut Moore is fearless, and even invited a young female fan onstage to dance along with the music. With a charming smile and fun-loving attitude, Moore is impossible to resist. Moore ended his set by telling fans that he’d stand up at the gate afterward with Bentley and sign autographs until the last fan leaves, and he stayed true to his word.

“It’s Saturday night and you ain’t got [expletive] to do tomorrow,” said Moore from the stage.

The only female artists on the Sounds of Summer Tour were Maddie and Tae (Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye) – a dynamic duo who’ve made waves after their hit song – “Girl in a Country Song” took aim at all the male singers that objectify women in their lyrics. The hilarious role-reversal video has more than 23,600,000 hits on YouTube and has been shared millions of times online.

Maddie and Tae are undeniably talented for their age, but their stage presence is a little lacking. Perhaps they were overshadowed by the outgoing men of the tour who literally dove into the crowd, but still they have a great act and will get better with age and experience. They have a great harmony merged with a more traditional female country sound.

Kicking off the show was Canaan Smith, a relatively new artist whose third album, “Bronco” wouldn’t hit stands until June 23, but he had an ample supply on hand for fans who wanted to be the first to own it. A perfect opener, Smith had plenty of energy and a great voice. In 2014, his breakout song “Love You Like That” peaked at number 11 on the charts.

“This song is changing my life thanks to you guys,” said Smith from the stage.

Smith is no stranger to fame as he appeared on the Amazing Race in the 15th season with his girlfriend at the time. With his looks, charm and talent, Smith could easily be the next Luke Bryan or Jason Aldean. I’d look for big things from him in the future.

The Sound of Summer tour might be over, but fans were left with many memories of the evening – especially those fans that were pulled on stage. Fans braved the crazy weather to see these artists and they weren’t disappointed. Pittsburgh looks forward to their return.
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Review by Hayley Martin for Pennsylvania Bridges. All photos by Ron Short.

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