Concert review: Dierks Bentley pals around at the Pearl

Dierks Bentley gives props to his audience.
Photo: Denise Truscello

Three stars

Dierks Bentley December 6, the Pearl.

There were still quite a few empty seats inside the Pearl when Dierks Bentley took the stage at around 10 p.m. this past Friday night, but the laid-back country singer made sure to connect with every one of the audience members who had shown up for his post-NFR concert. At times he might have been a little too focused on connecting with the audience, as his casual banter and fan interactions sometimes took precedence over singing the words to his songs.

During “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do,” he pulled a female fan onstage, handed her his guitar and sat down with a beer to watch the fun. During “Come a Little Closer,” he improved a fan’s cell-phone video by grabbing the phone and recording himself as he sang the song. About halfway through the set, he made a request for women’s white tank tops (referenced in hits “What Was I Thinkin’” and “Sideways”), and was greeted with a steady stream of female undergarments for the rest of the show, including bras and tank tops of various colors, white among them. Although it was all in the spirit of country camaraderie, the overt demand for women to shed (some of) their clothes did feel a little off-putting.

As for the music itself, it wasn’t always an afterthought: Bentley ran through all of his country-radio hits, plus a couple of new songs from his upcoming album Riser (including a solo acoustic rendition of the apparently still-in-progress “Drunk on a Plane”). He stuck mostly to the good-time bro-country that has brought him the greatest success, although he did sneak in one song from 2010 bluegrass/Americana album Up on the Ridge. It would have been nice to hear more musical variety from the talented singer-songwriter, but he seemed too busy having a good time to give it much attention, anyway.

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