On Dierks Bentley’s rather short “Country and Cold Cans” Tour, Athens, Georgia was the first stop. Dierks’ decision to start the tour at the glorious University of Georgia was most definitely a good one, but hey, I may be a bit biased…
The concert was on Legion Field– right in the middle of UGA’s campus– on Monday night, August 20th. For me personally, the twangy delight began in the early afternoon. I came home and plopped down on my couch only to discover this incredible nugget in my Twitter feed:
Needless to say, I showered and primped in record time (seriously, I’ve never put on three coats of mascara that fast), grabbed a few friends who were feeling spontaneous with me, and blew off my homework to hightail it to the Georgia Theatre. After waiting outside for the longest twenty minutes of my life, they let us inside, and there in all his country glory was Dierks Bentley himself.
To make a long story short, we spent the next two hours dancing to the song “Tip It On Back” and conversing with Dierks while he was onstage between takes (and yes, I was elated to be that close to him).
I didn’t get one bit of my homework done that day, but that experience is without a doubt one of the coolest things I’ve done since I’ve lived in Athens, and I don’t regret it one bit.
Anyway, fast forward to the actual concert. As I expected it would be, Legion Field was completely packed. I had a radius of approximately .23 inches in every direction in which I could shift if I pleased. Nonetheless, the cramped quarters were worth it because Dierks put on one awesome show.
The band that opened for him, Cadillac Black, was less than my favorite. Their sound was cranked exponentially louder than Dierks’, and I can’t say that I appreciated it. Every one of them had long hair and a general appearance of having just emerged from living in the woods for several months (or years). I’m not a proponent of judging a book by its cover, but in this case their appearance and sound went hand in hand. To be quite honest, I wasn’t paying very close attention to their actual music simply because I was reeling from how insanely loud it was.
While I wasn’t really a fan of the opening act’s performance, I will give the lead singer (whose name I cannot recall and do not care to look up at this particular moment) some points for his songwriting. During Dierks’ set, he called out Cadillac Black’s lead singer to accompany him on a song that he had also co-written, and the song, entitled “The Woods,” is actually one of my favorites on Dierks’ latest album. That’s about all the kudos I can personally give to Cadillac Black, but hey, if you’re the type who’s into loud hybrids of redneck sound and a slightly caveman-like appearance, they could definitely be your kind of band.
When Dierks himself finally graced the stage around 9:40 PM, the crowd of course went crazy. Dierks sang a good mix of older and new songs, and even in that cramped environment it was difficult not to dance while I belted out every word. I’m a huge fan of his, so he could’ve walked up there and sang the alphabet and I would’ve been perfectly content. He got the crowd riled up with some of his older classics, “What Was I Thinkin'” and “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do,” but he also turned it down a few notches with a story about his dad, who recently passed away. Dierks mentioned that his father would’ve wanted him to get on with his happiness and not mourn too long, but his story added a bittersweet dose of raw emotion to his acoustic performance of “My Last Name.”
At one point he confessed his undying love of bluegrass music, and I was jumping up and down in anticipation of the twang that was to come. He stepped aside while his band got down to business with an abundant amount of banjo, and I loved every twangy second! I was disappointed that he didn’t play more songs from “Up On the Ridge” than just the title track, but I suppose the bluegrass-y jam session made up for it.
As the show went on, his energy didn’t die down one bit as he played party-friendly tunes like his summer smash “5-1-5-0” and “Am I The Only One.” During “Sideways,” I was more than happy to scream out, “I can see you came to rock in your blue jeans and white tank top,” as that line had inspired my attire for the evening to a T. I don’t go halfway on these things, and neither did anyone else in the crowd; as expected, the country fans of the Bulldog Nation didn’t fail to reflect a party-ready attitude despite the fact that it was merely a Monday night.
Overall it was well worth the $10 I paid for my student ticket and more. I’ve always wanted to see Dierks Bentley live, and I hope if I ever do again that he’ll reach deeper into his bluegrass notions. Dierks mentioned several times that he loved Athens, and he’s most definitely welcome if he ever wants to come back.
Keep talkin’ twangy!
I apologize for the lack of pictures from the show, but sadly my camera is at my parents’ house, and I am not. And my phone camera doesn’t take wonderful pictures unless I’m very close to the subject, which unfortunately wasn’t possible at the concert. The few pictures that I do have are courtesy of my friends Katie and Sarah.