Beach balls floated above tons of handmade signs and glowing cell-phone screens at the ready when, to the backing track of a roaring tractor and an even louder crowd, hunky country bro Luke Bryan's voice finally echoed the sultry command: "Kick the dust up." As the hit single began to play, the singer bounded onstage in his usual snug, dark jeans, fitted black T-shirt, and black backwards cap. Be still, my palpitating heart — and those of every screaming girl around me.
Saturday's concert at Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, the first of two back-to-back shows slated for the venue over the weekend, was a no-brainer stop for Bryan, whose particular brand of fun-loving pop-country fits in perfectly in a place where cut-off shorts, flip-flops, and keg parties are year-round staples.
After the lead single, the singer launched into his classic degenerate barfly anthem, "All My Friends Say," during which Bryan took the liberty of grabbing just slightly under his tush and gyrating his hips 360 degrees, feeding
"This is your song, West Palm!" Bryan yelled before launching into "Play It Again." At this point, the known family man and warmhearted guys' guy invited a young boy onstage to join in on singing duties during the a cappella portions. The kid looked utterly elated by Bryan's side.
As the show warmed up, Bryan took the opportunity to comment on the South Florida heat: "Got these country girls in here, and it gets too hot!" he said, causing the collective body temperature of the crowd to rise a couple of degrees.
During his set, Bryan also welcomed opening acts Dustin Lynch and Randy Houser, who joined the star in taking a round of Patrón shots, jamming to "Apple Bottom Jeans," and even crooning a cover of Maroon 5's "Sugar." With Bryan on piano, the others provided vocals and guitar to round out the cover track. "Randy Houser is drunk, everybody!" claimed Bryan, provoking laughs from the crowd.
Slowing it down, Bryan pulled out one of his newest songs, the sensual ballad "Strip It Down." With Bryan still at the piano, this panty-dropping moment in the show had audience members swaying and
slurring, er, singing along as they closed their eyes and most likely imagined themselves with Bryan in an elaborate music video resembling The Notebook.
After tickling the keys a bit longer on the intro to "Crash My Party," Bryan returned to roaming the stage and working the crowd with just himself and his mic. "Do you like to do a little bit of hunting in South Florida?" he asked, then proceeded to question whether South Floridians "do fishin' and lovin'." Following a lively rendition of his new country anthem "Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day," Bryan also played "Someone Else Calling You Baby" and "This Is How We Roll," sans duo Florida Georgia Line.
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Things calmed down with his first number-one hit, "Do I," and the somber "Drink a Beer," which was complete with a background of a sunset over a lake. Cracking open a Miller Lite, Bryan made a toast to anyone we've lost who we ever drank a beer with and took a sip as
Picking up the pace again, Bryan jumped into the summer-themed single "Drunk on You" and kept the energy up with "Rain Is a Good Thing," "I See You," and "Don't Want This Night to End." Nearing the end of his set, he also riffed on feel-good singles like the Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky."
Pyrotechnics and Bryan's being lowered slowly on his podium cued the beginning of the all-time bro-favorite "That's My Kinda Night." Saturday's concert concluded with "Shake It for Me," which Bryan mashed up with "Talk Dirty to Me." The singer danced and goofed around a while longer before finally, much to audience members' dismay, saying goodbye.
It's a pretty hard-and-fast rule that if you can bring in the ladies, the guys will follow. Luke Bryan, clearly a gifted entertainer with an arsenal of carefree country tunes, knows this and is not afraid to use it to his advantage. With 7 million albums and 27 million songs sold, not to mention 12 number-one hits and simultaneous double-platinum albums, there's no denying the swagger of this bro-country pioneer and no doubting that his second show on Sunday night fared just as well.