Concert Review: You Don't Have to Love Country to Like Dierks Bentley

Attendees in flag-bro tanks, denim cutoffs, sundresses, and boots stumbled into Coral Sky Amphitheatre, bleary-eyed and slurring from heavy tailgating Friday afternoon. Security guards reminded fans to take off their boots — a common hiding place for booze — as they made their way through the gates. Not that some of the concertgoers needed it – two were seen facedown on a table with vomit pooled at their feet.

The cause for the drunken fest wasn’t the teen-angsty Warped Tour but the Dierks Bentley concert Friday night. It was the country singer’s Sounds of Summer Tour, and he was accompanied by female duo Maddie and Tae and Georgia native Kip Moore.

We took our seats just in time to see Moore, who came onstage in a sleeveless/semi V-neck Ramones T-shirt, tight jeans, and backward red baseball cap. His red guitar was coordinated with his cap, and his bulging biceps embodied bro country. The raspy-voiced singer kicked off his set with "Wild Ones," and the ladies in the house went crazy for "Beer Money."

Surprisingly, the country singer covered Jimmy Eat World's hit "The Middle." It may not have been the best cover per se, but people were eating it up. He even did an acoustic cover of the classic "Stand by Me" before wrapping up the set.

After a bathroom break and a failed attempt to cool down in the humidity with damp paper towels, I came back in time to see Dierks Bentley come on with a bang — literally. Instrumentals to "Sideways" played, and after what sounded like a loud firework, the curtain dropped to reveal Bentley standing on a podium. The country singer looked triumphant with a locked, fisted arm in the air. Followed was the beer-chuggin'-lovin' anthem "Am I the Only One," in which an audience member was invited onstage to chug a tall one against the headliner. Bentley won, of course.

“5-1-5-0” featured a cop car backdrop with red and blue lights and mini fireworks. The energetic single had audience members belting all the lyrics in a very incoherent manner. Soon after was the classic "Every Mile a Memory." The audience yelped with the extra West Palm Beach references.

Speaking of shoutouts, Bentley gave a mini-shootout to when he first performed in 2010 with Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban at Coral Sky. The best part? He reminisced performing at Davie's Roundup. Thank you, Bentley, thank you. After his mention of driving a '94 Chevy with more than 200,000 miles on it, Bentley went into "I Hold On."

For “Feel That Fire,” Bentley crowd-surfed in the front row until he was motioned to stop by the security guard. Bentley obediently obliged, but after shooting a mischievous grin to the audience, he did it again. Luckily, Bentley hopped right back up onstage before the security guard could reprimand him once more. It was moments like these that really made Bentley fun to watch and truly a remarkable entertainer.

After a couple more songs was “Lot of Leaving Left to Do” with Moore joining him onstage, the rip in his shirt seeming a bit deeper. A selfie was taken, a self-made poster was brought onstage, and a hat was signed. Not that this was a surprise by any means; Bentley clearly has a large amount of appreciation for his fans.

The concert ended with “Drunk on a Plane” followed by a full fireworks display. Needless to say, Bentley knows how to put on a show. Sure, it was the fireworks that were shown, duets with Kip Moore, Maddie and Tae, the Jason Durulo and Tom Petty covers, the fire effects during "Up on the Ridge." But really, it was the sheer appreciation he gave as well as the humbleness that showed Bentley truly deserved to be onstage. It was the shoutout to Fourth of July and those who made this holiday possible, the way he reminisced his early days ("Everyone cheered at random times, and I thought they were cheering for me, but they were cheering for a home run or something"), and of course, his never-ending audience interaction that truly made the concert worth it.

Country music fan or not, you know you want to shotgun a beer with Bentley.
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Natalya Jones